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By Scott Tibbs, March 7th, 2004

Should 9/11 be used in campaign ads?

President Bush's latest advertisement invoking images from September 11th is evoking some controversy with victims' families and a firefighters' union.

As David Paul Kuhn of CBSNews.com points out, such imagery is hardly new in a presidential campaign. But more to the point of this ad: is it appropriate to use images of this event in a political campaign?

I say it is. President Bush was having some struggles prior to 9-11 in getting his agenda through. The defection of Jim Jeffords put the Senate in control of the Democrats, and there was the looming possibility that the mid-term election would follow the historical trend of hurting the President's party.

But 9-11 changed everything. Bush stepped up in a statesmanlike manner, with a moral clarity that the American people were craving. He talked about "evil doers" and an "Axis of Evil", laying claim to the high moral ground.

As Dick Morris points out:

(Kerry) made a big mistake in backing the criminal-justice approach to terrorism, seeking to transform the war on terror into a series of DEA-style busts. Voters recognize that Bush is right when he says that this is a war against nation-states that sponsor terror, not a hunt for criminal bands in the mountains.
This isn't a battle against thugs, this is a war against those who would destroy America.

September 11th should be invoked to remind voters of how important national security is and how important it is to have a President who understands that we are at war.

September 11th was not the beginning of the War on Terror. This is a war that has been raging for two decades. September 11th was not even the first strike on the continental United States by Islamist radicals, as the World Trade Center had been bombed eight years earlier.