No gold for George

By Tim Grieve
Published August 26, 2004 3:12PM (EDT)

The Republicans have arranged their convention to take maximum political advantage of Sept. 11. They'd best hope it works better than their plan to capitalize on the Olympics did.

Just before the games began, the Bush-Cheney campaign released an advertisement -- "Victory" -- trumpeting the participation of the newly "free nations" Iraq and Afghanistan in the Olympics as just one more benefit of the Bush administration's global war on terror. Matt Drudgereported that Bush was even contemplating a surprise trip to Athens to watch his Iraqi team in action.

The Iraqi athletes weren't pleased, and they made it clear that they don't view Bush as their liberator. "Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," Iraqi soccer player Salih Sadir told . "He can find another way to advertise himself." Another player, Ahmed Manajid, said of Bush: "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He has committed so many crimes."

Now Bush is getting the brushback treatment at home, too. Reuters is reporting that the U.S. Olympic Committee has asked the Bush-Cheney campaign to pull the "Victory" ad because it "hijacks" the Olympic brand. An official with the International Olympic Committeesaid:"The arrogance is unbelievable. To use the Olympic name like this, without permission . . . it's just incredible."

If this is the response Bush gets from the Olympics movement, we can only imagine what he's going to hear next week from the 9/11 families.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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