A television ad that contends American troops are being asked to die for a Middle East ruler's oil is too sensational and controversial to air, Cable News Network and three local TV stations say.

The broadcast outlets rejected the 30-second ad, financed by the Military Families Support Network, which says the emir of Kuwait "is waiting for Americans to . . . shed our blood for his oil.""Don't send our husbands, wives and our children to their deaths," the ad begs President Bush.

"We scrabbled together the money for this ad" and now "we're having trouble getting it aired," Alex Molnar, whose Marine son was sent to Saudi Arabia last August, complained at a news conference Thursday.

The ad made "claims we didn't feel they could substantiate," said Bob Casazza, vice president of audience development for ABC affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington.

"They were claiming that the only reason" for sending troops to the Persian Gulf region was "to put the emir back in power and to protect oil," said Casazza. "Bush has stated a multitude of reasons."

A memo from a WJLA ad account executive called the ad "inflammatory" and said it contained "sensationalized video content."

The ad, which was produced for $10,000 by Washington-based Evans Communications, shows flag-draped caskets being carried off transport planes at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

The ad will be aired on local cable channels in the Washington area, but was turned down by all three network affiliates in the capital and CNN nationally.