Soros Newspaper Ads Challenge Bush's Case For War
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Billionaire philanthropist George Soros is running full-page ads in major U.S. newspapers challenging the honesty of the Bush administration's case for waging war in Iraq.
The ads in The New York Times, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the Houston Chronicle, are titled, "When the nation goes to war, the people deserve the truth."
A dozen statements made by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld making the case for war are reprinted and described as either exaggerated or false.
The statements centre on claims about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and large quantities of poison gasses.
The Hungarian-born Soros, 72, emigrated to the United States from Britain in 1956 and built a fortune as a financier. He is founder of a network of philanthropic organisations active in more than 50 countries that focus on education, public health, human rights and economic reform.
The ads, estimated to cost about 5,000 (114,000 pounds), were co-sponsored by U.S. philanthropists Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman.
"Both George Soros and Lewis Cullman have been deeply concerned about the deception used to justify the war in Iraq," said Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros.
"They believe their fellow citizens should also be concerned and took out these ads to move them to action."
Bush has defended the case for war, saying he is confident that weapons of mass destruction will eventually be found in Iraq and that criticism of intelligence about Iraq's military capabilities amounts to quibbling.
Public opinion on the issue is closely divided, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released this week. It showed U.S. voters believed the administration did not intentionally exaggerate evidence that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons by 50 to 44 percent with a 3 percent margin of error.