Kerry Hurls Essence of Report on Iraq at Bush
Citing a new classified intelligence report predicting serious troubles ahead for Iraq, John F. Kerry yesterday accused President Bush of living in a "fantasy world of spin" and refusing to speak honestly about mounting casualties, indiscriminate killings and chaos in Iraq. "Stability and security seem further and further away," Kerry said.
The White House, which had planned a vigorous election-season defense of its Iraq strategy next week, was forced into the debate yesterday. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the intelligence assessment "states the obvious," and he dismissed skeptics of the Iraq policy as "pessimists and naysayers." Bush, at a campaign stop, repeated his generally upbeat assessment of Iraq: "Freedom is on the march."
Kerry, speaking to thousands of National Guardsmen in Las Vegas two days after Bush addressed the same group, said the administration's strategy in Iraq is failing and that the White House is trying to hide that reality from the American people.
"The president stood right here where I am standing and did not even acknowledge that more than 1,000 men and women have lost their lives in Iraq," Kerry said. "He did not tell that you with each passing day, we're seeing more chaos, more violence, indiscriminate killing. He did not tell you that with each passing week, our enemies are getting bolder -- that Pentagon officials report that entire regions of Iraq are now in the hands of terrorists and extremists."
Kerry has been trying to turn Iraq into a referendum on Bush's honesty overall. Bush has "failed the fundamental test of leadership: he failed to tell you the truth," Kerry said. "The hard truth -- and it is a hard truth -- is that our president has made serious mistakes in taking us to war."
Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) joined a small, but growing, chorus of GOP voices sounding grave concerns about Iraq, comments that tend to support Kerry's view. "We've got to be honest with ourselves," Hagel said. "The worst thing we can do is hold ourselves hostage to some grand illusion we're winning. Right now, we are not winning. Things are getting worse."
Thursday, September 16
Kickass Kerry - Day Two
Whew - I thought he was going to let this day slip by, one day after declaring war on Karl Rove. Here he is - the current lead at Google News. And GOPers are joining the chorus. Wow. From tomorrow's WaPo:
Posted by Howard Hoffman at 8:21 PM