January 23, 2008

You Get What You Pay For?

There is quite the buzz being generated in the blogosphere about a web report issued by The Center for Public Integrity and its sister organization, The Fund for Independence in Journalism.

It is entitled Iraq: The War Card—Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War.

As you may imagine, bloggers on the political left (and the media) are claiming the report is evidence of the long-running meme, "Bush lied, people died."

Critics on the right have been quick to point out that The Center for Public Integrity and The Fund for Independence in Journalism draw their financing heavily, if not exclusively, from left-leaning foundations and individuals, and that the criteria established for the study seems to indicate that the data is loaded and crafted to achieve a desired result.

I've not yet had a chance to read the report and get any sense of the validity of the claims made, but it promises to be an interesting read.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 23, 2008 11:30 AM

It's claims (as such) are true.

Of course they use the present to make claims about the past. IE. they claim it was a lie to say (repeatedly) that Iraq had WoMD because none were found. While it makes the claim 'untrue' it does not make it a lie.

The whole report is on the same scale.

Posted by: Verlin Martin at January 23, 2008 11:38 AM

I see that this post has sent the moonbats over at Balloon Juice, including the head MOONBAT, John Cole, into a real hissy fit since you have reported that George Soros has funded much, if not most, of this so-called "study." Interestingly, even the New York Times recognizes that the report breaks no new ground: "There is no startling new information in the archive, because all the documents have been published previously."

Posted by: Raymond at January 23, 2008 11:54 AM

I love how they always have to qualify the ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda. According to the authors of the report, Iraq did not have a "MEANINGFUL" relationship with Al Qaeda.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at January 23, 2008 12:05 PM

The source of funds for a study can be a good reason to examine its claims under a microscope, but isn't per se a reason to assume its claims will turn out to be incorrect. To actually discredit a study, you have to actually show that its claims are wrong, not just that it's funded by XYZ Corp.

When lefties try to claim that "global warming denialists" are funded by oil companies and therefore CLEARLY in the wrong, that argument doesn't wash. Neither will it wash to say that this study was funded by Soros and therefore clearly wrong. Reason enough to be suspicious of the study, sure -- but to actually discredit it, you have to examine its claims, not its funding.

Posted by: Robin Munn at January 23, 2008 12:08 PM

... Though you can, of course, make fun of reporters whose articles make it sound like CPI is an "apolitical" organization. That's fair game. :-)

Posted by: Robin Munn at January 23, 2008 12:11 PM

Although CY has stated that he will at least look at the data, most bloggers have dismissed the study at the mention of the word Soros.

Is it so hard to fight the claims rather than shoot the messenger?

As I recall, conservatives lapped up anything that came from Richard Mellon Scaife funded groups, and few, if any, ever said, "Well, he has an acute case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, so I can safely dismiss this out of hand"?

sorry if this is a double post. I got an error the first time.

Posted by: IanY77 at January 23, 2008 02:00 PM

Since Iraq and al Qaeda had extensive contact with each other the report should be dismissed out of hand. If they are too lazy to read the 9-11 report why would you think anything else they said would be true?

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at January 23, 2008 02:24 PM

One reason many people aren't reacting much, I believe, is because there's not much that's new here, at least if the New York Times' reporting on its contents can be trusted. (Yeah, yeah, I know, but in this case, they may well be right -- certainly the "key false statements" listed in the study have all been reported on ad nauseam previously). Which means it's yet more of the "Bush lied, people died" claims that so many bloggers have already rebutted so many times. E.g.:

Bush claimed that Saddam was known to have WMD's, and (as we now know) he didn't -- clearly, Bush lied.

Rebuttal: 1) Actually, he *did* have WMD's -- he used them on the Kurds, for example. And many instances of WMD's *were* found after the invasion -- it's just that the instances found weren't the large stockpiles everyone had expected. And 2) why is that statement clearly a *lie* rather than a *mistake*? To show that a statement is a lie, you have to prove that Bush (or Cheney, or whoever made the statement) *knew* at the time he made the statement that it was false. Finding out a year later that "Oh, that wasn't the case after all" doesn't make it a lie.

Any of this sound familiar? That's why many bloggers aren't reacting -- because they've answered these same claims a dozen times before.

I haven't looked through the study's entire database, and probably won't -- I'll leave that for people with more time on their hands than I have. But reading through their list of "Key False Statements", I sure didn't get a very high opinion of the people who did the study. If you're going to call something a "carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation" in your study's subtitle, you'd better be able to back it up with evidence of actual lies. Places where there were differences of opinion, or mistakes (e.g., where the president relied on an NIE that later proved to be inaccurate) don't count. And looking at those "Key False Statements", I find lots of cases of mistakes, information relied on that was later proven to be false, that sort of thing. I don't see a single instance where an administration official made a statement that he *knew to be false*.

Which makes the study's line about "a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation" itself, well, let's just say "deliberately misleading" and leave it at that, shall we?

Posted by: Robin Munn at January 23, 2008 02:40 PM

When can Soros be declared a Goebbels and arrested? This is beyond free speech, he is at war with the US constitution and is attempting to cause the overthrow of our gov't and is giving courage to our enemies.

Posted by: smarty at January 23, 2008 02:53 PM

Hot Air also has a juicy post on this - and I'm just shocked!, shocked! to read that the report is just a tad biased.

Hot Air: AP runs Soros-funded anti-war “study” as hard news

Posted by: Justacanuck at January 23, 2008 03:50 PM

The comments here fascinate me. What is your assessment of war profiteering? Do you think it occurs? Do you think that it is possible for vested interests to lead a country to war using pushbuttons like patriotism, and democracy and still maintain "friendly" ties with a brutal absolute monarchy like Saudi Arabia? I don't think any of you are really serious anyway. Michelle is a well paid "spin doctress".

Posted by: chris lee at January 23, 2008 04:50 PM

So, if "Bush Lied" when he said that Iraq had WMD's... does it follow that Clinton, Albright, Gore, et cetera ALSO lied when they said the EXACT same things, for YEARS before Bush was elected and for three years afterwards?

*crickets chirping*

Chris, I'm sure you're jsut busting at the seams to produe the kind of evidence that yould substantiate your claim that Mrs. Malkin is a "spin doctoress".
Do you have any check stubs? Payroll lists from the VRWC, maybe? Or just a bad case of delusion?

Posted by: DaveP. at January 23, 2008 05:22 PM

While we're at it, Chris, I await paitiently your excreation of the Democratic Party's limitless admiration and affection for the brutal dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela, China ("No controlling legal authority"), and the old Soviet Union... Of course, all those nations are united with your party in antiAmericanism, so that makes those tens of millions of mass graves acceptable- right?

Posted by: DaveP. at January 23, 2008 05:34 PM

Of course some people profit from war, and thank God! With companies like General Dynamics, Raytheon, United Technologies, etc...we're able to destroy those who threaten our national security.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at January 23, 2008 06:05 PM


Is it so hard to fight the claims rather than shoot the messenger?

No, it's child's play. For instance:

“Indirect false statements. Statements were classified as “indirect” if they did not specifically link Iraq to Al Qaeda but alleged, for example, that Iraq supported or sponsored terrorism or terrorist organizations…

Such statements would be demonstrably true, not false or indirect. In fact, it would probably be fairly easy to find the cashed $25,000 checks to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, and utterly simple to find Saddam bragging about sending them.

Posted by: Pablo at January 23, 2008 06:22 PM
In fact, it would probably be fairly easy to find the cashed $25,000 checks to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers

Indeed it is. There's an image of what appears to be one--I can't read Arabic so I can't testify of my own knowledge--on this page right here.

Now watch the lefties try to discredit the author of that website--i.e. shoot the messenger--like they've been accusing CY of doing.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 23, 2008 07:50 PM

Whatever you say - The neocons/Bush administration were sooooo keen to start this war! It isn't about information that was incorrect. It is about information they didn't w a n t to see. -

Tens of thousands (if not more) of poeple have been killed meanwhile. Removing the totalitarian, but secular regime of Saddam was a bad move on the chessboard of War On Terror: chaos in Iraq, a new front and recruiting area for Al Quaida & Co, room to move for Iran, less stability in the region, more danger for Israel. And on the eve of the war the Bush-Administration had been warned of all this by friends, but met this with ignorance, arrogance and childish reactions (Remember the "freedom fries"?).

You call that a good policy? In the interets of the US?

"... accusations of knee-jerk anti-Americanism from France were made so as to avoid discussing France's stated reasons for opposing the war — namely that France did not believe there was a clear and imminent danger from Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, that it was not consistent with the War on Terrorism, and that a war would only destabilise the Middle East while not providing long-term solutions. Thanks to a long experience as a former colonial power in the region, France also warned the U.S. that such a military operation in Iraq would be regarded by the Arabic world as an invasion and could support the emergence of an opposition movement widespread in the whole Middle East. The French position is that the state of the occupation of Iraq vindicates their position. And as we can see it nowadays, it seems that France was absolutely right." (Wikipedia - Anti-French sentiment in the United States)

Posted by: he at January 24, 2008 12:46 AM

The reason this will not receive a lot of traction is because it is piling on. The majority of Americans have already been convinced, by the non-stop BS fed to them, that The Administration was less than truthfull.

Posted by: davod at January 24, 2008 05:08 AM

Actually, he, this is very much about information that is not just represented as incorrect, but as an orchestrated misinformation campaign. Nice frothy rant aside, have youiu anything to say about that?

Posted by: Pablo at January 24, 2008 08:26 AM

Has "he" even bothered to watch what's been going on in Iraq lately? It seems that far left wing fanatical nut jobs like him are stuck in 2006.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at January 24, 2008 08:27 AM

Hey, "he"... how many Iraqis would have been slaughtered by Saddam in the same time frame, had we not removed him?

Of course, you don't wanna talk about that, I am sure.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 24, 2008 09:10 AM

...and the fact that the Frtench state oil company was making megabucks on top of megabucks out of the humanitarian disaster of the Oil-for-Food program had nothing, NOTHING to do with France's opposition.
Neither does the fact that sn awful lot of that dirty, blood-stained petrochemical money was being funneled in Jacques Chiraq's pockets and those of his party.

No Blood For Oil, "He"!

Posted by: DaveP. at January 24, 2008 09:32 AM

"In March 1998, after Bin Ladin’s public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with Bin Ladin. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through Bin Ladin’s Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis. In 1998, Iraq was under intensifying U.S. pressure, which culminated in a series of large air attacks in December.

Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Ladin or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Ladin declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides’ hatred of the United States."
- 9/11 Commission Report P. 66

Of course the next sentence is the only one that leftist read...

"But to date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States."

Note the use of TWO qualifiers to describe the lack of a relationship. Not operational, not collaborative, but they did have a relationship.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at January 24, 2008 09:51 AM

DAVEP..Always the "either/or" argument. "Yeah, but the Democrats did THIS or said THAT.." Politics is a SHOW. All Politicians..except the Bushes and Rockefellers are poor boys who NEED money. They don't get it from bake sales. They do and say what their paymasters command..they do it ARTFULLY. I am only advocating a more critical and rigorous attitude amongst the electorate. Who profits? Follow the money. Who put this or that story or piece of legislation in the public realm? Why? Ask questions.

Posted by: chris lee at January 24, 2008 10:01 AM

Bin Laden has never been officially "charged" with the perpetration of 9/11. Yet his picture was EVERYWHERE. EVERYBODY KNOWS he did it SOMEHOW. The Bin Laden family ODDLY enuff is NEVER in the news.

Posted by: chris lee at January 24, 2008 10:06 AM does Michelle Malkin..on "ordinary blogger" get to go to Iraq and interview the troops? Why is she trotted out on FOX's O'Reilly show as back up? Who's funding and supporting her?

Posted by: chris lee at January 24, 2008 10:09 AM

Pablo: "Actually, he, this is very much about information that is not just represented as incorrect, but as an orchestrated misinformation campaign. Nice frothy rant aside, have youiu anything to say about that?"

A few weeks before the "Coalition of the Willing" (What is left of them?) invaded Iraq, there was an opinion-poll in the US: People were asked, where most of the 9/11-terrorists had come from. More than 60% said: Iraq -
How do you explain the answers of the US-citizens? - As you know, there was not a single Iraqi among the 9/11-terrorists. - In my opinion this poll reflects the deliberate misinformation and pro-war propaganda by the administration, Fox-News & Co. at a time when the "Freedom Fries" were invented.

And there is a lot of evidence that there was not only an orchestrated campaign to manipulate public opinion:
"Another group of British memos, including the so-called Downing Street memo written in July 2002, showed that some senior British officials had been concerned that the United States was determined to invade Iraq, and that the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" by the Bush administration to fit its desire to go to war." (

C-C-G: "Hey, "he"... how many Iraqis would have been slaughtered by Saddam in the same time frame, had we not removed him?
Of course, you don't wanna talk about that, I am sure."

So, why didn't you remove him when he gazed the Kurds? Of course Saddam was a tyrant and a murderer, but he had been this for more than 20 years. And the US didn't mind him being a tyrant when he was attacking Iran and when Rumsfeld shook hands with him. - And you won't deny that in the 70s the US supported (not removed!) Somoza, Pinochet and other military juntas in Central and South America which - under the pretext of fighting Communism - arrested, tortured and murdered tens of thousands of their own population (Now, finally we have the trials in Chile, Argentina ...). - So don't tell me, you invaded Iraq for humanitarian reasons!

Posted by: he at January 24, 2008 03:57 PM

There's more oil there than we even know. We need it. We need unfettered access. Iran and Saddam ARE/WERE threats in that sense. Every bought and paid Republocrat Congressman/Senator/Supreme Court Justice/Pundit/Think Tank Analyst knows that. Just call it what it is and not some patriotic "defensive" move.

Posted by: chris lee at January 24, 2008 04:25 PM
How do you explain the answers of the US-citizens?

there was a USA Today poll on 9/13/01 that asked who was responsible for the attacks. Saddam Hussein was the overwhelming favorite. There had been no statements implicating him from the administration.

How do you explain that?

As for your question, I'll explain it like this: If you're looking for the facts, an opinion poll is a goddamned stupid way to think you've arrived at them.

Posted by: Pablo at January 24, 2008 04:53 PM

How does someone debate with with an intellectual nitwit like chris? If we wanted cheap oil all we had to do was lift the sanctions. Are the people on the left really that stupid?

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at January 24, 2008 05:07 PM

"He," please answer my question. Then I will answer yours. That's how a polite debate goes... you don't attempt to evade a question by asking another question.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 24, 2008 08:12 PM

CAPINF- Is that what you call civil debate? "I" want cheap oil. "THEY" want oil at $100 a barrel. Saddam had the power and intention to destabilize markets. He had to go.

Posted by: chris lee at January 24, 2008 10:42 PM

Indeed, Chris, Saddam did have the ability to destabilize oil markets. And the fact that you think that's not a valid reason to go to war is part and parcel of why you will never really comprehend the world we live in.

Let me try to explain anyway.

Oil is used for much more than cars, you know. As just one of many examples, it runs the trucks and trains that bring your food to your grocery store, and the ships that bring the formerly exotic foods like bananas to your neighborhood.

Increasing the cost of oil, therefore, increases the cost of food, because the cost of transporting it goes up. Of course, good little communist that you are, you think that the shipping company should absorb that cost and not pass it on, but they can only run at a loss for so long, then they can't pay their workers, can't get parts to fix their trucks or trains or ships, and eventually go out of business. So instead of getting more expensive food, you end up with less food.

That's just a single slice of the pie, too. The same transportation infrastructure that delivers your food also delivers the medicine you probably use, the clothes you wear, the chair you're sitting in, and so on and so forth. Increase the price of oil and all of those prices go up too.

The bottom line; everything is connected. You see oil just as something you get at a gas station, you've never considered everything else that the price of oil impacts.

And that's why you're a simpleton; you've never actually thought, you've just emoted. And that makes you a perfect little lefty. Aren't you proud?

Posted by: C-C-G at January 24, 2008 10:56 PM

So, Mr. Lee. You state in an above comment to CI - ""CAPINF- Is that what you call civil debate? "I" want cheap oil. "THEY" want oil at $100 a barrel. Saddam had the power and intention to destabilize markets. He had to go."

I repeat the end of your comment for emphasis..."He had to go."

How would you propose doing that if not by war AND using whatever information available AT THE TIME to rally support for the endeavor?

I will also answer your rant about opinion polls of the American populace succinctly. Mr. Lee, if you haven't learned this by now you should this time around: People are stupid.

Note, I did not say any individual is stupid, but the plural and, in this case, meaning the general masses. Individuals are usually quite bright and offer diverse and intelligent opinion. However, when the same individuals are bombarded with supposedly confirmatory information which supports their unresearched opinions then a "group think" is formed. Also, please note: The NYT ran how many front page stories supporting the Bush Admin's assertations? Just how many of the countries who provided the US with info about Saddam and his WMD's also completely believed that info was true?

The problem with this study is not its contents, but its slant. Own up to the fact that it only focused on Republicans and not Democrats who said the exact same things. A few names for you: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore. That's just four right off the top of my head.

Furthermore, you assume in another earlier comment that only: "Every bought and paid Republocrat Congressman/ Senator/ Supreme Court Justice/ Pundit/ Think Tank Analyst knows that." (I added spaces so it wouldn't word-wrap) I wonder just how you process such absolutely corruption free Democrats...when they are shown to be as corrupt as these "bought and paid for Republocrat"(s)?

Posted by: Mark at January 24, 2008 11:44 PM

Upon further reflection, I wish to apologize for the personal comments I made in my post above. They were un-Christian, and I do regret them and ask your forgiveness.

The basic economic points, however, remain valid, and I stand behind them.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 24, 2008 11:48 PM

Mark..the term "Republocrat" implies that "Democrats" are bought and paid as well. This is the problem that I have with so many so called conservatie advocate opiners, you are so dismissive and mean sp irited. I know t hat the same can be said on the far left but at this time I am talking to you. Stick with cont ent and facts in your debate. Rely on the truthfulness of your position and the substance of your argument, not name calling. Try to educate not demonize.

Posted by: chris lee at January 25, 2008 07:47 AM

And, Chris, "Republocrat" is not name calling?

Pot, meet kettle.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 25, 2008 07:52 AM

You avoided my statement. Republicans AND Democrats are paid advocates. That's not a slander it's truth.

Posted by: chris lee at January 25, 2008 09:26 AM

Where's your evidence, Chris? You make these wild statements and expect us to believe them, but you offer no evidence of any kind.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 25, 2008 09:42 AM

Oh vey.
Ok I have no proof. Now YOU show ME proof.
1. Osama bin Laden planned and executed 9/11 attacks.
2. There were WMDs in Iraq in 2003
3. The so called Mastermind guy they have in Guantanamo is in FACT the Mastermind
4. Padillo planned to detonate a dirty bomb
5. All of the Guantanamo inmates are ACTUAL combatants
6. God created Heaven and Earth in 6 days (while we are at it)

Posted by: chris lee at January 25, 2008 10:25 AM

In general, I'll have to agree with you on that statement. Many in the judiciary are demonstrably not independent in their decisions and base them upon their personal beliefs instead of the law. Too many elected Reps/Sens of all parties are steered by ideology, vested interests, and their donations instead of representing their respective constituencies. Pundits/Think tankers are paid advocates by definition.

While this is true - in general for most elected/appointed officials - Presidents are elected either because of their ideology or because the other candidate(s) ideology is undesirable to enough voters.

We are now far a field of the original point of CY's post. Anyone can take anything said or written out of context, or 'cherry-pick', and/or use hindsight to declare it 'false'. This study was given 'legitimacy' by being widely reported as (my quotes) "the truth about the Bush Admin and the run up to Iraq". However, the study used artificial definitions to classify statements that fit the writers' and/or funders’ preconceived notions. That is spin, any way you want to spin it and a demonstrably false representation. This study is an object example of revisionist history at the it’s worst.

Posted by: Mark at January 25, 2008 10:27 AM
1. Osama bin Laden planned and executed 9/11 attacks.
2. There were WMDs in Iraq in 2003
Here. And here.

Let's start with those.

Posted by: Pablo at January 25, 2008 12:19 PM

Chris, two errors you made.

First, you didn't answer my question. Why are you evading it? Do you not have proof for your statements?

Second, and more serious, a non sequitur error. Look it up, I am typing on my smartphone and don't have time to explain it all to you.

Now, prove your own statements, or withdraw them.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 25, 2008 12:45 PM

Chris, in case you haven't noticed... there have been a half-dozen bloggers- Yon and Totten only two of them- who have done the work needed to go to Iraq and report on what's really going on outside the Green Zone. La Malkin is not alone, and in good company. Are Yon and Totten also "paid spin-meisters"? Is that the substanse of your "proof"? Scarlett Johannsen is in Iraq right now... is she a Rovian plot? How did Hillary Clinton get permission to go to Iraq? Are you really a clown? Did you quit your medication deliberately or did you just run out?
Scratch those last ... we know the answer.

If you have no proof, Chris... apologise and shut up. Or continue to babble; and in doing so confirm my thesis that you are in fact paranoid and delusional, and incapable of knowing logic if it walks up to you and slaps you with a wet fish.

Posted by: DaveP. at January 25, 2008 04:12 PM

Dave, he appears to have abandoned this field, thus admitting defeat.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 25, 2008 04:52 PM