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Soros Underwrites Osama’s Talking Points By: Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, January 15, 2008


THE MEDIA REVEALED THIS WEEK THAT THE LEFT IS literally “invested” in Osama bin Laden’s message.

On Sunday, news outlets reported that far-Left billionaire George SorosOpen Society Institute provided roughly half the funding of a study that accused the United States and its allies of killing 650,000 Iraqis over the last three years. When the report first surfaced shortly before the 2006 midterm elections, tens of thousands of news organizations – including CNN, NPR, The London Telegraph, and Al-Jazeera – accorded it front page coverage. It also provided a welcome undergirding for Osama bin Laden’s anti-American propaganda.

Osama’s increasingly leftist rhetoric came to its apex in a speech released on September 7, 2007, in which he praised Noam Chomsky as “among the most capable of those from your own side.” (Memo to Osama: Chomsky is not on our side.) In turn, DailyKos and CounterPunch.org bloggers hailed Osama’s video, saying it “made sense” and revealed the Saudi mass murderer as “fundamentally a political revolutionary with a strong sense of suffered injustice.” In railing against the “unjust war against Iraq,” Osama criticized:


[T]he failure of your democratic system, despite it raising of the slogans of justice, liberty, equality and humanitarianism. It has not only failed to achieve these things, it has actually destroyed these and other concepts with its weapons –  especially in Iraq and Afghanistan – in a brazen fashion, to replace them with fear, destruction, killing, hunger, illness, displacement and more than a million orphans in Baghdad alone, not to mention hundreds of thousands of widows. Americans statistics speak of the killing of more than 650,000 of the people of Iraq as a result of the war and its repercussions. (Emphasis added.)

We now know George Soros’ desire to end the war in Iraq directly resulted in Osama bin Laden gaining sympathy (and perhaps a new audience on the blogosphere). Yet the media have not reported the whole story: George Soros was not the only antiwar leftist behind the study.

Les Roberts provided the statistical basis for bin Laden’s video. FoxNews described Roberts as “an associate professor and epidemiologist at Columbia University.” The academic also ran for Congress as a – wait for it! – antiwar Democratic “Progressive” demanding immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

Roberts’ first foray into inflating Iraqi casualties (and hence American evil) came four years ago. Just days before the 2004 presidential election, Roberts published “Mortality After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq: A Cross-Sectional Cluster Sample Survey” in The Lancet, wherein he claimed to have personally visited Iraq, interviewing families besieged in their own country. Roberts said they told him more than 100,000 civilians had been killed as the result of “collateral damage” in the war, more than 10 times the generally accepted figure. This claim was helpful in deflecting attention from the 300,000 innocent civilians that Saddam had murdered and buried in mass graves during his tenure. Ironically, the inflated claims of civilian deaths caused by the American military was deflated by an antiwar group, The Iraq Body Count Project, which issued a report in the summer of 2005. According to the report, only 24,865 civilians had been killed since the start of the war, including those killed by terrorists. Of these, the United States was responsible for 9,574 casualties, far fewer by accident than Saddam slaughtered by design in a comparable period of time.

Comparisons meant nothing to Roberts – nor, he seemed to indicate, did accuracy. In an interview with Socialist Worker Online, he declared:


Most of the people killed by the coalition were women and children, which implies the use of a lot of force, and perhaps too much. As far as I’m concerned the exact number of dead is not so important.” (Emphasis added.)

In 2006, Roberts dropped all semblance of neutrality, running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Congress from New York’s 24th District. His platform called for an American withdrawal from Iraq “on a short timetable,” and he accused President Bush of engaging in “manipulation efforts.”

He dropped out that May, to release another politically explosive – and politically timed – study, financed by George Soros. “The Human Cost of the War in Iraq” appeared in The Lancet in October 2006, just before the midterm elections. Roberts again stated he personally interviewed suffering Iraqis, and civilian death tolls now exceeded 650,000, or more than 450 civilians every day of the war. And again, antiwar leftists and academics discredited his report. The Iraq Body Count soon issued a series of “Reality Checks” dismissing Roberts’s conclusions as “extreme and improbable.” Professor Michael Spagat, an economist at the University of London, stated:


The authors ignore contrary evidence, cherry-pick and manipulate supporting evidence and evade inconvenient questions. They published a sampling methodology that can overestimate deaths by a wide margin but respond to criticism by claiming that they did not actually follow the procedures that they stated.  

Other responsible experts have questioned whether the team interviewed as many Iraqis as it claimed.

In the year following his study, civilian deaths have yet to approach Roberts’ estimate. FoxNews notes, “New research published by The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 151,000 people – less than a quarter of The Lancet estimate – have died since the invasion in 2003.” (Roberts called the NEJM “a very prestigious journal” in his Socialist Worker interview.) The Iraq Body Count estimates the toll at roughly one-eighth of Roberts’ figures, or 80,585-88,004 as of this writing.

Never has the Left’s unholy alliance with Islamist terrorists been more plain. Two antiwar extremists (three, actually; one of Roberts’ co-authors, Dr. Richard Horton, also opposed the war) combined capital and intellect to provide talking points for Osama bin Laden. Now the leftist modus operandi becomes clear:

Whether by coincidence or, in the case of DailyKos and CounterPunch, by design, radical leftists and America-hating terrorists find themselves united by common aims, outlooks, and undertakings – because they have long been united by a common enemy.


Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry's Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving (2004).


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