[Homestead] Straight Arrow McCain describes Crooked Arrow Bush in Iraq

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Mon Sep 20 01:24:36 EDT 2004

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Sunday, September 19

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Senators Ask for Bush Rethink of Iraq Policies as Elections Loom

*By William C. Mann* Associated Press Writer
Published: Sep 19, 2004


WASHINGTON (AP) - Senators from both parties urged the Bush 
administration on Sunday to make a realistic assessment of the situation 
in Iraq and adjust its policies aimed at pacifying the country.

But Bush readied a firm defense of his Iraq policy - and a sharp new 
attack on rival John Kerry's stance - for a speech Monday morning.

"The fact is a crisp, sharp analysis of our policies is required. We 
didn't do that in Vietnam, and we saw 11 years of casualties mount to 
the point where we finally lost," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam War 
veteran who is co-chairman of President Bush's re-election committee in 

"We can't lose this. It is too important," Hagel, R-Neb., said on CBS' 
"Face the Nation."

A major problem, said leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 
was incompetence by the administration in reconstructing the country's 
shattered infrastructure.

The chairman, Sen. Richard Lugar, noted that Congress appropriated $18.4 
billion a year ago this week for reconstruction. No more than $1 billion 
has been spent. "This is the incompetence in the administration," Lugar, 
R-Ind., said on ABC's "This Week."

"Exactly right," interjected Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, the committee's 
top Democrat. He said later: "This has been incompetence so far. Five 
percent of the $18.4 billion that George Bush keeps ... beating the 
other candidate up and about the head for how he voted and didn't vote, 
and he's released 5 percent."

Sen. John McCain, who has campaigned often with the president, said 
mistakes in Iraq generally can be attributed to inadequate manpower. 
McCain, R-Ariz., said problems began arising shortly after the dash 
through the desert to take Baghdad, the capital, in April 2003.

"We made serious mistakes right after the initial successes by not 
having enough troops on the ground, by allowing the looting, by not 
securing the borders," McCain said.

"Airstrikes don't do it; artillery doesn't do it. Boots on the ground do 
it," McCain told "Fox News Sunday."

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said Bush had pointed out from the beginning that 
the risks of combat in Iraq.

"I find it shocking that some people are surprised by the fact that it 
is a long and difficult conflict," Kyl said.

"What's important is that you have a leader who recognizes that there 
are difficulties, but who is committed to prevailing; who has a firm 
idea of what he wants to accomplish, confidence in his commanders in the 
field, and who doesn't send mixed messages to the troops or to our 
allies, or most importantly, to our enemies," Kyl said.

Bush planned to use that line of attack against Kerry on Monday, seeking 
to counter increasingly hard-hitting language the Massachusetts senator 
has been using on Bush's Iraq policy.

In a speech in New Hampshire, Bush "will step up his critique of John 
Kerry's policy on Iraq or retreat and defeat," said Bush campaign 
spokesman Scott Stanzel. "Our troops deserve better than to hear Kerry's 
campaign pushing pessimism and lack of faith in the mission."

Bush's campaign also was airing a new TV commercial promoting his 
broader anti-terror efforts.

"President Bush and our leaders in Congress have a plan," an announcer 
says. Among the items listed on the ad are beefing up border and port 
security, reorganizing the intelligence services, renewing the Patriot 
Act, and giving the military "all it needs."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., acknowledged that the situation may 
deteriorate further before it gets better as antidemocratic forces try 
to prevent democracy from taking hold.

"So this is not a civil war. This is a part of the war on terror, where 
the terrorists have gone to Iraq, and we need to fight back or we'll 
lose the region," Graham told CNN's "Late Edition."

McCain was asked about a report in Sunday's New York Times that U.S. 
commanders were planning a drive in November or December to retake areas 
where insurgents have won control. Such a timetable would place the 
operations after the Nov. 2 election for the White House.

McCain said Bush was not being "as straight as we would want him to be" 
about the situation. "The longer we delay with these sanctuaries, the 
more difficult the challenge is going to be and the more casualties we 
will incur and the Iraqi people will suffer because they will be able to 
operate out of these sanctuaries obviously now with somewhat of 
impunity," McCain said.

AP-ES-09-19-04 2101EDT




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