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John Kerry Responds to ‘Campaigner in Chief’s’ Attacks on Kerry Iraq Plan

by Pamela Leavey

Today, Bush proved to America once again that his sense of reality when it comes to Iraq, is well… you know… he’s in a ‘State of Denial.’ In his news conference today at the White House Rose Garden, in which he called for “strong action by the U.N. Security Council to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, Bush also echoed his tired old memes on Iraq.

The American public gets that Iraq is in a civil war, yet Bush chooses to pretend otherwise, push the ‘stay the course’ plan and attack John Kerry’s Iraq plan to boot. Bush said today, “I would cite my opponent in the 2004 campaign, when he said there needs to be a date certain from which to withdraw from Iraq. I characterize that as cut and run, because I believe it is cut and run.”

Senator John Kerry hit back Bush’s empty rhetoric and campaign slogans with the following sharp statement in response to Bush:

“Today we heard more hollow attacks from a president acting like campaigner in chief rather than being commander in chief.

President Bush continues to be profoundly wrong about Iraq. He wraps my strategy in slogans because he’s afraid to take responsibility for his Katrina foreign policy that kills and maims our soldiers and weakens America in the fight against terror. Every day we continue the President’s failed stay-the-course strategy is another day we play into the hands of the terrorists.

We must change course in Iraq. This is why I have proposed a deadline for Iraq and a comprehensive plan to end the civil war. We must refocus our military efforts from the failed occupation of Iraq to what we should have been doing all along: tracking down and killing members of al Qaeda.

This is the opposite of President Bush’s stand-still-and-lose strategy. It’s a clear alternative from a broken policy of “more of the same.” Every time President Bush tells the Iraqis we will “stay as long as it takes,” he is giving squabbling politicians there an excuse to take as long as they want.

At each step along the way, the Iraqi leaders have responded only to deadlines. So we must set another deadline to extricate our troops and get Iraq up on its own two feet — a clear deadline of July, 2007 to redeploy our combat troops.

We also desperately need something else this president disdains: diplomacy. Real diplomacy — a Dayton-like summit of Iraq and the countries bordering it, the Arab League, NATO, and the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council. This too will only happen with a deadline to push and prod Iraqis and their neighbors to the bargaining table.

Today of all days, on the four year anniversary of the vote on the use of force in Iraq, we should be having this debate, openly, honestly, and in a way that honors America’s troops and our best traditions.”

Think Progress has a video clip of the Bush press conference today in which Bush claims that Iraq “is a society which so wants to be free that they’re willing to — you know, that there’s a level of violence that they tolerate.” This was in response to question from Suzanne Malveaux of CNN, about the report that 650,000 Iraqi’s have died since the Iraq war.

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere, Glenn Greenwald has a go0d post on “Counting Iraqi deaths.”

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  • One Response to “John Kerry Responds to ‘Campaigner in Chief’s’ Attacks on Kerry Iraq Plan”

    1. Oh, THAT Iraq society, not the one where 80-90% want the US to leave. I keep forgetting there are really two Iraqs. The one Bush talks about and the one in the Middle East that we invaded 3 years ago and have occupied since. That one is too messy for W to wrap his brain around.