Unintended Consequences?

I don't want to let this weekend go by with just fireworks, parades, and band music. We need to thank the Lord for those in our military. Our men and women in Iraq are not taking freedom for granted. They are, in my opinion, nothing less than heroes as they work to bring the kind of liberty to the Iraqi people that we Americans celebrated this weekend. That's why I found myself deeply offended by the full-page advertisement run in the front section of the New York Times, last Tuesday, June 29, the day after Americans handed over sovereignty to an Iraqi interim government. It was run at a cost of nearly $140,000 by a group called, the private organization created by billionaire George Soros which -- though not subject to campaign finance laws -- is spending a fortune to influence the election. The ad had to be placed in the Times on Monday soon after the announcement from Iraq broke on the morning news and before anyone had any idea whether the handover would be successful or not. And yet the ad informs us that we "should not be deceived" that last Monday's ceremony was "not a handoff" at all; it was "a fumble." The text is an anti-American screed. Running this ad raises profound questions: Does and billionaire George Soros want the handoff to succeed? Do they want freedom for the Iraqis? Do they have any respect for American troops who have been committed to combat -- many of whom have given their lives? Why in heaven's name -- apart from the obvious partisan reasons -- would somebody run this ad before the ink was even dry on the documents giving sovereignty to the Iraqis? And by the way, this situation does seem in this last week to be improving. This ad impugns the good motives of our officials and our troops. It can only encourage the insurgents and terrorists who are trying to sow discord in Iraq, kill Iraqi citizens, and terrorize the world by beheading Americans and others. Second, with a picture of the president, and the words "Today you still own Iraq" superimposed over the ad, it is transparently political. I, of all people -- the former Nixon hatchet man -- recognize politics as a contact sport. The stakes are big; the game is played rough. But there are times when people can and must make moral judgments about what is irresponsible in any campaign. This is one of those times. has gone over the top with a cynical political ad, which it publishes at the expense of those who are risking their lives in the noble pursuit of bringing liberty and justice to people in Iraq. I raise this issue not for partisan purposes. I've long believed that Christian leaders should never endorse candidates. But you will hear me speak from time to time, criticizing partisanship on both sides of the aisle when, as here, it crosses the line. I say this fourth of July God bless the troops and spare us from people who would seek their own partisan gain at the expense of men and women in harm's way. For further reading and information: "U.S. returns sovereignty to Iraq," CNN, 28 June 2004. BreakPoint Commentary No. 030526, "Willie and Joe: Quintessential American Soldiers." William Bennett, Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism (Doubleday, 2002).


Chuck Colson



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