WASHINGTON – A black shroud covers the Statue of Liberty in a new television ad that criticizes Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (search) for the Iraq prison abuse scandal and asks "Why hasn't George Bush fired this man?"
"They said we went to Iraq to bring American values: democracy, liberty. But something has gone terribly wrong," the 30-second ad by MoveOn.org (search) says. "Now it's been reported that Donald Rumsfeld initiated the plan that encouraged the physical coercion and sexual humiliation of prisoners."
The liberal interest group based the ad on a report in The New Yorker that said Rumsfeld and others in the Pentagon encouraged abuse. The Pentagon has called the story "outlandish, conspiratorial."
MoveOn will spend a modest amount — $400,000 over five days — beginning Monday to run the ad on cable TV networks in 14 major cities and to air similar radio ads in 10 cities.
Peter Schurman, the group's executive director, said, "We've got to fire Rumsfeld to show the world we take human rights and torture seriously."
Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee (search), assailed the "exploitation of this event for partisan purposes."
"Time will tell if voters are inspired or repulsed by the denigration of the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. military," he said.