The War Card
By: John Perazzo
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, February 01, 2008
The New York Times now tells us that a new study entitled “The War Card” has determined authoritatively that during the months leading up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, top officials in the Bush administration—including the president himself—made “hundreds of claims, mostly discredited since then, linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda or warning that he possessed forbidden weapons.” The Times did not report that the study had been conducted by an organization that received more than $1.62 million from George Soros in the last few years alone. Having failed to purchase the 2004 election despite spending tens of millions of his own money, Soros is now dedicating his hefty checkbook to undoing the results of that election and humiliating its victor. And the media continue to portray this process as nonpartisan.
The co-authors of the study, Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith, say they have documented “at least 935 false statements” that were made on approximately 532 occasions. Their investigation asserts, in its final analysis, that these alleged pre-war lies “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”
Remarkably, the Times did not mention that this research was sponsored jointly by two organizations whose long history of political partisanship clearly underpins its disingenuous and unsupportable conclusions.
But before we even examine who those two organizations are, we cannot help but notice that the Times report entirely ignores the very salient fact that, prior to the March, 2003, U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, there was not a single country whose intelligence agency doubted that Saddam was in the process of developing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), and/or that he already possessed them.
Likewise, the most prominent members of the Democratic Party were uniformly confident in that same assessment. Examples of their pre-war pronouncements in this regard abound. Here are just a few of the things they said during the weeks and months immediately preceding the invasion:
- John Kerry, noting that “Saddam Hussein [could] not account for all the Weapons of Mass Destruction which UNSCOM identified,” stated: “People have forgotten that for seven and a half years, we found weapons of mass destruction. We were destroying weapons of mass destruction.” “The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real,” added Kerry, “…[and] he has continued to build those weapons.”
- Hillary Clinton declared unequivocally: “In the four years since the inspectors left [Iraq], intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear…that if left unchecked, [he] will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” These claims constituted a seamless transition from the claims made by Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton, during the latter years of his presidency in 1998 and 1999.
- According to former Vice President Al Gore, “We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country…Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”
- Senator Ted Kennedy concurred: “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction…There is no doubt that [his] regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed.”
- In John Edwards’ estimation, “Saddam Hussein’s regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies…We know that he has chemical and biological weapons…We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal.”
- Senator Robert Byrd professed, “We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons....”
- Senator Jay Rockefeller was among the most passionate of all believers: “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years…Saddam’s government has contact with many international terrorist organizations that likely have cells here in the United States ... Saddam’s existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now…And he could make those weapons available to many terrorist groups which … could…unleash a devastating attack against our citizens. I fear that greatly…I am forced to conclude, on all the evidence, that Saddam poses a significant risk…September 11 changed America. It made us realize we must deal differently with the very real threat of terrorism…There has been some debate over how ‘imminent’ a threat Iraq poses. I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated…To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? We cannot! The President has rightly called Saddam Hussein’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction a grave and gathering threat to Americans. The global community has tried but failed to address that threat over the past decade. I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the threat posed to America by Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction is so serious that despite the risks…we must authorize the President to take the necessary steps to deal with that threat.”
The Conductors of the Current Research
The newly published “War Card” study that accuses the Bush administration of having “lied” about its pre-war intelligence on hundreds of occasions, was sponsored jointly by the Center for Public Integrity, which the New York Times identifies as “a research group that focuses on ethics in government and public policy,” and the Fund for Independence in Journalism, which professes “to protect, defend and foster independent, high quality investigative journalism.”
It may strike you as strange that two organizations purportedly committed to “integrity” and “quality” would neglect, in such a highly publicized report, to point out that the Bush administration’s pre-war intelligence squared perfectly with the beliefs not only of the aforementioned Democrats, but also of virtually every other major Democratic figure in the United States. Yet the present study contains not a single word referencing any Democrat’s pre-invasion warnings about the threat posed by Saddam.
To understand why the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism would so selectively reserve their accusations for the Bush White House (while giving the Democrats a free pass for whatever errors they may have made in assessing Saddam’s threat), we need only to follow the money.
Consider the Center for Public Integrity, which is headed by Bill Buzenberg, who formerly worked as an editor for Minnesota Public Radio and National Public Radio. Buzenberg is also the author of the forthcoming book (slated for release in August 2008, three months before the next presidential election), The Buying of the President: How—and Why—the Race for the Nation’s Highest Office Has Moved from the Voting Booth to the Auction Block. According to Buzenberg, his Center for Public Integrity is both “incredibly nonpartisan” and “incredibly independent.”
Casting doubt on that claim is the fact that one of his organization’s largest financial backers is none other than George Soros’s Open Society Institute. According to the Foundation Center, in 2002 and 2003 alone, the institute gave more than $1.62 million to the Center for Public Integrity.
Each year, the Open Society Institute donates millions of dollars to a host of leftist organizations that share George Soros’s major social and political agendas. These agendas can be summarized as follows:
- promoting the view that America is institutionally an oppressive nation
- promoting the election of leftist political candidates throughout the United States
- opposing virtually all post-9/11 national security measures enacted by U.S. government, particularly the Patriot Act
- depicting American military actions as unjust, unwarranted, and immoral
- promoting open borders, mass immigration, and a watering down of current immigration laws
- promoting a dramatic expansion of social welfare programs funded by ever-escalating taxes
- promoting social welfare benefits and amnesty for illegal aliens
- defending suspected anti-American terrorists and their abetters
- financing the recruitment and training of future activist leaders of the political Left
- advocating America’s unilateral disarmament and/or a steep reduction in its military spending
- opposing the death penalty in all circumstances
- promoting socialized medicine in the United States
- promoting the tenets of radical environmentalism, whose ultimate goal, as writer Michael Berliner has explained, is “not clean air and clean water, [but] rather ... the demolition of technological/industrial civilization”
- bringing American foreign policy under the control of the United Nations
- promoting racial and ethnic preferences in academia and the business world alike
Soros in 2004 spent some $26 million of his own money trying, unsuccessfully, to derail President Bush’s reelection bid, a task Soros called “the central focus of my life” and “a matter of life and death.” He has likened Republicans generally, and the Bush administration in particular, to “the Nazi and communist regimes” in the sense that they are “all engaged in the politics of fear.” “Indeed,” he wrote in 2006, “the Bush administration has been able to improve on the techniques used by the Nazi and Communist propaganda machines by drawing on the innovations of the advertising and marketing industries.” Soros elaborated on this theme at the January 2007 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he told reporters: “America needs to . . . go through a certain de-Nazification process.”
In one of his most significant and effective efforts to reshape the American political landscape, Soros was the prime mover in the creation of the so-called “Shadow Democratic Party,” or “Shadow Party,” in 2003. This term refers to a nationwide network of unions, activist groups, and think tanks engaged in campaigning for Democrats. The network’s modus operandi includes such activities as fundraising, get-out-the-vote drives, political advertising, opposition research, and media manipulation. The Shadow Party was conceived and organized principally by George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Harold Ickes—all identified with the Democratic Party’s left wing. Other key players included several members of the Bill Clinton White House.
Soros is a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton, who, in turn, has long admired Soros and shares many of his agendas. Committed to ousting what he considers the Nazi-like Republicans from the White House, Soros will support Hillary if she wins the Democratic nomination for the presidency. But the multi-billionaire isn’t putting all his eggs in any single candidate’s basket. In January 2007 the New York Daily News reported that Soros planned initially to throw his financial weight behind Barack Obama. While many interpreted Soros’s decision as a repudiation of Clinton, Soros pledged that he absolutely would support the New York Senator were she to beat Obama in the Democratic primaries.
Because its bread is buttered, in large measure, by cash infusions from the Open Society Institute, the Center for Public Integrity can be considered neither nonpartisan nor independent. Rather, it has an immense financial incentive to produce studies exactly like “The War Card,” whose findings support the Open Society Institute’s views and political agendas—most notably the depiction of American military actions as unnecessary and immoral, and the promotion of leftist political candidates at every level of government.
Not only is the Open Society Institute strongly pro-Democrat, but it is also a key constituent of the Peace and Security Funders Group (PSFG), an association of individual philanthropists and foundations that give money to leftist anti-war causes. PSFG’s members direct their funding toward organizations that seek to address the “root causes” of war and violence—causes which PSFG identifies as: competition for natural resources, ethnic and religious differences, poverty, and social injustices.
Much of PSFG’s support is also earmarked for groups that oppose the Patriot Act and the general “overreach of intelligence agencies,” and groups that oppose America’s development of a missile defense system. These priorities—which are consistent with Soros’s view that “the war on terror emphasizes military action while most territorial conflicts require political solutions”—make it clear that opposition to the war is a prerequisite for any organization hoping to receive Open Society Institute funding. On this count, the Center for Public Integrity clearly has been compliant.
Additional Leftwing Funders of the Center for Public Integrity
- The Ford Foundation: Another key funder of the Center for Public Integrity is the Ford Foundation, which is, like the Open Society Institute, a key constituent of the Peace and Security Funders Group. Between 2002 and 2006 Ford gave the Center some $3.25 million in grants. The Foundation’s major objectives and perspectives include: the weakening of America’s homeland security and anti-terrorism measures on the theory that they constitute unacceptable assaults on civil liberties; the dissolution of American borders, coupled with the promotion of mass, unchecked immigration to the United States; the large-scale redistribution of wealth; the blaming of America for virtually every conceivable international dispute; the weakening of American military capabilities; a devotion to the principle of preferences based on race, ethnicity, gender, and a host of other demographic attributes; the condemnation of the U.S. as a racist, sexist nation that discriminates against minorities and women; the characterization of America as an unrepentant polluter whose industrial pursuits cause immense harm to the natural environment; the portrayal of the U.S. as a violator of human rights both at home and abroad; the depiction of America as an aggressively militaristic nation; and support for taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand as an inalienable right for all women.
- The Carnegie Corporation of New York: Between 2002 and 2007, this foundation gave some $1.59 million to the Center for Public Integrity. Carnegie condemns American national security measures such as the Patriot Act, which it says has “provoked fear and confusion in immigrant communities … disproportionately affecting those who are Muslim, Sikh and/or of Middle Eastern descent, including those who are U.S. citizens.”
- The Nathan Cummings Foundation: In 2002-2003, this foundation made $55,000 in grants to the Center for Public Integrity. Viewing the United States as a nation rife with inequities against minorities, Cummings aims “to build a socially and economically just society” characterized by the redistribution of wealth, and promotes “humane health care” for all—meaning socialized medicine.
- The JEHT Foundation: In 2005 this Foundation gave the Center for Public Integrity $316,000 in grant money. JEHT’s “International Justice Program” (IJP) calls on America to subject itself and its citizens to the rulings of the International Criminal Court, rather than to prosecute its own war criminals. IJP also opposed America’s withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that was signed with the now-nonexistent Soviet Union. In JEHT’s view, unilateral military action by the U.S. is invariably unjustified.
- The Joyce Foundation: Between 2002 and 2004, this foundation funneled $350,000 in grants to the Center for Public Integrity. A notable recent member of the Joyce Foundation’s Board of Directors was Barack Obama.
- The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation: In 2003 alone, the MacArthur Foundation gave the Center for Public Integrity fully $3.6 million in grant money. A member organization of the Peace and Security Funders Group, MacArthur ranks as one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in the United States and supports hundreds of leftist organizations, particularly environmentalist groups. The MacArthur Foundation favors redistributive economic policies that can avert “costly conflicts between haves and have-nots.” Such policies are typically at odds with military spending, which is viewed as a drain on supposedly vital social welfare programs.
- The Pew Charitable Trusts: In 2003-2004, Pew gave the Center for Public Integrity $1 million in grants. Pew supports myriad organizations that are passionately anti-corporate and anti-capitalist, while it simultaneously holds enormous investments in major corporations. For instance, while Pew invests in Exxon-Mobil, it gives money to Greenpeace, the Ruckus Society, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Public Citizen, Global Exchange, the EarthJustice Legal Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, the World Resources Institute, the World Wildlife Fund, the Wilderness Society, the Environmental Defense Fund, Trust for Public Land, the Environmental Working Group, the Rainforest Alliance, the Izaak Walton League of America, the Rainforest Action Network, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Nature Conservancy, and a host of other environmentalist groups that view Exxon-Mobil as an ecological menace.
- The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF):A member organization of the Peace and Security Funders Group, from 2004-2006 this Foundation gave the Center for Public Integrity $150,000 in grants. RBF’s “Peace and Security Program” seeks to foster “greater understanding between Muslim and Western Societies.” Placing responsibility for the current inter-cultural disharmony largely on the United States, RBF says that America must increase its “efforts to ensure that [its] policies and behaviors reflect an understanding of the complexity and diversity of Muslim societies and contribute to mutually respectful, productive relations with those societies.” No mention is made of Muslim nations’ responsibility to reciprocate in kind; nor is there any reference to the radical Islamic movements that have declared open war against the West.
- The Schumann Center for Media and Democracy: In 2005 the Schumann Center, whose stated purpose is “to renew the democratic process through cooperative acts of citizenship,” gave $500,000 to the Center for Public Integrity. Schumann’s grant-making is directed heavily toward organizations whose values are anti-corporate, anti-free market, and anti-capitalist. The Schumann Center is headed by PBS icon Bill Moyers, whose son John is the Executive Director of the Florence Fund, which is funded by donors of the Schumann Foundation. The Florence Fund has close ties to anti-war groups like the Win Without War coalition.
Like the Center for Public Integrity, the Fund for Independence in Journalism (FIJ) has received financial support from the aforementioned Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy. Other notable donors to FIJ’s cause include the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Streisand Foundation.
- The Town Creek Foundation: In 2004 the Town Creek Foundation gave $40,000 to the Center for Public Integrity. A member organization of the Peace and Security Funders Group, Town Creek supports initiatives that “challenge and critique the military budget”; “encourage greater public debate and deliberation about national budget priorities”; and “promote the elimination of nuclear weapons and testing, strengthen arms control programs, or seek responsible weapons disposal programs.” Perhaps the most notable beneficiary of Town Creek’s philanthropy is the massive anti-war coalition United For Peace and Justice, led by Leslie Cagan, a longtime committed socialist who proudly aligns her politics with those of Fidel Castro’s Communist Cuba.
The foundations named in this article as funders of the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism, are among the world’s most prolific financiers of leftwing causes. They support many hundreds of far-left organizations, including: the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, the NAACP, the American Friends Service Committee, the National Council of La Raza, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, Fenton Communications, ACORN, Global Exchange, Human Rights Watch, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the William J. Brennan Center for Justice, Veterans for Peace, Media Matters for America, The Nation Institute, the Ruckus Society, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Institute for Public Accuracy, Sojourners, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Mother Jones, and the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee.
These funders and their beneficiaries perceive the United States as a nation whose allegedly aggressive and militaristic nature—manifested in premature, ill-advised, unjustified rushes to war—is the chief source of Western conflict with the Muslim world today. They aim to mend these alleged flaws by means of a radical societal transformation, beginning with the election of more far-left Democrats to positions of political influence.
Collectively, the foundations named in this article are the reason why “The War Card” reached the utterly unfounded conclusion that the Bush administration lied about the Iraqi threat. Quite simply, they paid for it.
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