Iraq was just the beginning:
Founded this summer by a dozen wealthy conservatives, the nonprofit
group [Freedom's Watch] is set apart from most advocacy groups by the immense wealth of
its core group of benefactors, its intention to far outspend its rivals
and its ambition to pursue a wide-ranging agenda. Its next target: Iran
Next month, Freedom’s Watch will sponsor a private forum
of 20 experts on radical Islam that is expected to make the case that
Iran poses a direct threat to the security of the United States,
according to several benefactors of the group.
One benefactor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the
group was hoping to raise as much as $200 million by November 2008.
Raising big money “will be easy,” the benefactor said, adding that
several of the founders each wrote a check for $1 million. Mr. Blakeman
would not confirm or deny whether any donor gave $1 million, or more,
to the organization.
Since the group is organized as a
tax-exempt organization, it does not have to reveal its donors and it
can not engage in certain types of partisan activities that directly
support political candidates. It denies coordinating its activities
with the White House, although many of its donors and organizers are
well connected to the administration, including Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary.
Mr. Fleischer said: “After the president announced the surge, and even Republicans
started getting nervous, there was a palpable fear among several of us
that this fall Congress was going to cut off the funding and the Middle
East would explode and America would likely get hit. It really wasn’t
much more complicated than that.”
That may be the best description of this drumbeat so far. Read the whole story in today’s New York Times.