WASHINGTON -- America has gone from being the victim to the perpetrator in the war on terror and the pictures of prison abuse prove it, billionaire political activist George Soros said Thursday.
Seeing pictures of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners was a "moment of truth" for America, Soros said during a conference sponsored by the liberal-leaning Campaign for America's Future. "I think those pictures hit us the same way as the terrorist attack itself," Soros said, adding that it's a "very tough thing to say."
"There is, I'm afraid, that connection with those two events because the way President Bush conducted the war on terror converted us from victims into perpetrators," Soros said.
The war on terror has taken more innocent victims than the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Soros said.
"I think the American public now sees they have been misled," he said.
Soros joined other political notables at the three-day "Take Back America Conference," including former presidential candidate Howard Dean, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and former California gubernatorial candidate Arianna Huffington. He was introduced by New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said Soros is just one of many Americans becoming involved in politics in the hopes of ousting Bush.
The Republican National Committee was quick to dismiss Soros' statements, responding that the soldiers involved in the abuse are being punished.
"For Democrats to say that the abuse of Iraqi fighters is the moral equivalent of the slaughter of 3,000 innocent Americans is outrageous. Their hatred of the president is fueling a blame-America-first mentality that is troubling," RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie said in a statement.
Soros, who is plugging millions of his own dollars into anti-Bush groups like Moveon.org and The Media Fund, linked Bush's policies of pre-emption and U.S. supremacy to another George -- George Orwell, author of the political satire "Animal Farm."
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others," Soros said.
Although Soros has set up foundations around the world to help newly formed democracies and create open societies, his new focus, he said, is voting Bush out of office in what he sees as a referendum on the president's policies.
Bush may have been elected with a humble foreign policy in mind, but that changed with the invasion of Iraq, Soros said, calling the Bush doctrine a "crude form of social Darwinism."
"It is, in fact, the moment of truth when we realize we have been deceived. We embarked on a policy that cannot possibly succeed," Soros said.