The video from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) shows U.S. flag-draped coffins loaded on an airplane, and a standing rifle supporting the helmet of a fallen GI, in a montage of "things that are wrong with America."
The attempt to capitalize on the deaths of American soldiers has generated outrage among politicians, veterans, military families, and conservative bloggers.
"The families of the fallen heroes of the War on Terror deserve our utmost respect and compassion," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas. "They do not deserve to see the deaths of loved ones exploited by [DCCC Chairman Rahm] Emanuel and the DCCC.
"As former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, I have seen the Democrats employ a lot of low-brow political tactics over the years, but Rep. Emanuel has sunk to a new low with this video. Using images of flag-draped coffins of American heroes in this sort of video is shameless and disgusting, and I ask that Rep. Emanuel apologize to military families for any pain that he has caused."
Another Texas Republican, Rep. Mike Conaway, is also calling for an apology:
"I am extremely disappointed that the DCCC would exploit our young men and women in uniform who have sacrificed everything for the good of this country.
"The insensitivity of the Democrats to the families of the fallen troops is disrespectful, and the fact that they are using this as a way to somehow raise money is more than disturbing," Conaway said. "A huge apology to the troops and their families is owed by everyone involved in this travesty."
Vets for Freedom, America's largest nonpartisan organization representing the veterans of the global war on terror, denounced the fund-raising ad on the DCCC Web site.
"The fact that a political party is using the images of fallen Americans to raise money and score political points is reprehensible and absolutely shameful," Executive Director Wade Zirkle said in a statement.
"The sacrifices of our American heroes should never be used to fill the coffers of a political entity. Vets for Freedom calls on senators and congressmen from both sides of the aisle to demand the immediate cancellation of this advertisement, and a prompt apology from DCCC chair, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, to all American service members, veterans, and family members of the fallen."
The National Review's Mediablog column took the Democrats to task for suggesting that the "men and women of the U.S. armed forces are helpless victims of the Bush administration, as opposed to incredible warriors who are committed to winning in Iraq, making America safer and ensuring that the fallen have not died in vain."
As the Redstate.com blog notes, when President Bush showed images of September 11 in a 2004 campaign commercial, Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Tony Welch said it "was simply wrong for the president to use images of the 9/11 tragedy for political purposes."
The International Association of Fire Fighters passed a resolution criticizing the ad � and the Democrats used it in the John Kerry campaign.
Redstate asks: "Where are these people now? Where are they now that the Democrats are using dead soldiers for fund-raising purposes? Silent."