The following attack ad is from Allen Weh, a Republican candidate running for U.S. Senate, against Tom Udall, in New Mexico. The ad is supposed to criticize the incumbent senator for supporting President Obama’s foreign policy in the Ukraine and the Middle East.
Much about this video is polarizing, but it’s fair to say that loads of campaign ads across the country are extremely slanderous. Obama is far from the first political figure to have an ad run where images of him vacationing are spliced in with war zone footage. Bush Jr. received them in droves after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. But there is one critical difference in this ad. That critical difference is this image.
The above image, which is featured in Weh’s video, is of the supposedly British jihadist fighter who beheaded two American journalists in captivity of the Islamic State. Here is what the full picture, which is a still from the actual execution video, looks like.
Following this instance of the video, journalist James Foley’s head is cut off. The Weh campaign also recently defended the video, and its use of execution footage.
“Out of respect for the Foley family, no picture of James Foley was used. Tom Udall’s feigned outrage over the inclusion of a now familiar image of this Jihadi terrorist, who is clearly the face of the evil that threatens our nation,” were the words of Weh’s campaign manager, who also said “Senator Udall’s comments about our diplomacy being ‘good’ reflect his naiveté and inexperience in matters of national security.”
The very familiarity of this image of a Jihadi terrorist is cause to leave it out of a campaign ad, not include it. Additionally, if Senator Udall’s outrage over the attack ad truly is feigned, it’s certainly possible that so too is Mr. Weh’s “respect” for the Foley family. Regardless of which party a person supports, media that propagates terrorism doesn’t belong in any political arena, let alone a U.S. Senate race.
Mr. Weh’s chosen depiction of “the face of evil” spreads the imagery that the very jihadists he claims to oppose use themselves. It’s footage such as this that the Islamic State and other terrorist groups want people around the world to see. By including this footage in their ad, the Weh campaign has amplified the Islamic State’s own message that the U.S. is responsible for causing the murderous acts done by militants in Iraq and Syria. Spreading such a message is not only wrong, but blatantly furthers a pro-jihad agenda.
This publication stands by the notion that when ads reach this extreme, an extreme where barbaric acts of terror at the level of the Islamic State are used by American politicians to inspire hatred of their elected opponents, then concerned citizens need to voice their criticism. We encourage readers of this article to contact their representatives, and the Weh campaign, whose Twitter page is below, to let them know your feelings about this video.
It’s our hope that you will voice more than mere outrage, but also a strong sentiment that this type of campaign tactic is unacceptable in a civilized society. The same way that we in the United States do not behead prisoners, we also do not stoop to the level of jihadist militants who are engaged in genocide. We do not claim that American leaders are responsible for their violent actions as they do. Such accusation is a level of barbarism that we are above. Let’s demonstrate that.