13 March 2004

Fire Fighters for Kerry - On the Campaign Trail

The IAFF approved a resolution March 4 calling on the Bush campaign to withdraw its re-election television ads featuring images of fire fighters from the September 11 terrorism attacks on the World Trade Center.

In a letter to Ken Mehlman, campaign manager for the Bush/Cheney re-election, IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger demanded that Bush 'remove the ads from the airwaves immediately, apologize to the families of the victims of 9-11 and never attempt to use this event or images of it for partisan purposes again.'

In his message to Mehlman, Schaitberger maintains that by using these images, the president and his campaign are trying to take a horrible tragedy and use it for political purposes by trading on the heroism of the 343 FDNY brothers who fell in the terrorist attacks, not to mention the 3,000 people who lost their lives at Ground Zero. According the The Washington Post, the commercials use actors to portray fire fighters. 'Bush is calling on the biggest disaster in our country's history, and indeed in the history of the fire service, to win sympathy for his campaign,' said Schaitberger after Bush unveiled the new ads. 'But for two and a half years he has shortchanged fire fighters and the safety of our homeland by not providing fire fighters the resources needed to do the job that America deserves.

His lack of attention to the fire service has resulted in the closing of fire stations across the country. In addition, two-thirds of America's fire departments remain understaffed because he will not support the funding of the SAFER Act, which would put thousands of new fire fighters on the job.

In short, President Bush has made sure that our first responders do not have access to the resources they need to protect this country. Our fire fighters are forced to stand guard over their communities without the proper equipment, fire houses, adequate staffing and training. Americans need and deserve better.

Andjam comments below that no-one outside the blogosphere knows that Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters has endorsed Kerry ofr US president. I was surprised by this claim as their main website links directly to Firefighters for Kerry. I find it hard to imagine no-one could suspect that Firefighters for Kerry endorses John Kerry.

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