MoveOn’s Quagmire: What could have been

The problem with MoveOn.org‘s latest ad, ‘Quagmire’, is not what is shown.
The problem is what isn’t shown. The ad ends with a powerful final image of an American soldier trapped in quicksand, his hands held over his head in a position of surrender.
But that shouldn’t have been the final image. The final image should have been of that soldier being pulled to safety by the hand of John Kerry. And, though it might irk the MoveOn crowd, an even better final image would be that soldier continuing his jog towards battle, intent on completing his mission.
The ad is effective: it creates a deep desire in the viewer to see that soldier rescued. But MoveOn is too obsessed with defeat to take advantage of the psychological payoff their own ad sets up. They aren’t interested in showing rescue for that poor soldier, let alone victory. And by focusing on the soldier’s defeat, they wade into dangerous waters, where the very integrity of their position is dependent on the failure not of George Bush — but on the failure of the men and women who are on the front lines in this war.
This is a deeply unhealthy attitude. It’s not new, but never has been it expressed so clearly (ok, almost never). And it’s not a position that a U.S. Senator aspiring to the office of Commander in Chief should want anything to do with.