Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kerry: Allawi's Take on Iraq Unrealistic

Ok, so a nothing Senator from one of the smallest states in the Nation now knows more about the state of another country than its Leader. John Kerry's arrogance is only over shadowed by his narcissism.

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) said Thursday that Iraq (news - web sites)'s Ayad Allawi was sent before Congress to put the "best face" on Bush administration policy.

Shortly after Allawi, the interim government's prime minister, gave a rosy portrayal of progress toward peace in Iraq, Kerry said the assessment contradicted reality on the ground.

"The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA (news - web sites) estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story," Kerry said.

Allawi told a joint meeting of Congress that democratic elections will take place in Iraq in January as scheduled, but Kerry said that was unrealistic.

"The United States and the Iraqis have retreated from whole areas of Iraq," Kerry told reporters outside a Columbus firehouse. "There are no-go zones in Iraq today. You can't hold an election in a no-go zone."

Kerry's remarks come one day after he told The Associated Press that President Bush (news - web sites)'s statement that a "handful" of people are willing to kill to stop progress in Iraq was a blunder that showed he was avoiding reality.

"George Bush (news - web sites) let Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) escape at Tora Bora," Kerry said in a brief interview Wednesday. "George Bush retreated from Fallujah and other communities in Iraq which are now overrun with terrorists and threaten our troops. And George Bush said on the record we can't win the war on terror.

"And even today, he blundered again saying there are only a handful of terrorists in Iraq," Kerry said. "I think he's living in a make believe world."

Bush, campaigning in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, said: "It's hard to help a country go from tyranny to elections to peace when there are a handful of people who are willing to kill in order to stop the process. And that's what you're seeing on the TV screens. You know, these people cannot beat us militarily."

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Thursday, "It only took 19 people to take down the World Trade Center towers and kill 3,000 people." He said that in Iraq, "you've seen how a small number of suicide bombers can have a dramatic effect."

Bush said Wednesday the insurgents "use the only tool at their disposal, which is beheadings and death, to try to shake our will. They understand the nature of America. ... We weep when we think about the families affected by those who have been brutalized by these terrorists."

Kerry's voice was scratchy and breaking from a cold on Wednesday. He canceled most public events for Thursday in Columbus and in Iowa to rest his voice, though his words were clear at the firehouse. The campaign said running mate John Edwards (news - web sites) would take Kerry's place in Iowa.

Kerry spoke to the AP in West Palm Beach, Fla., shortly before boarding a flight to Columbus and after Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) delivered a scathing attack on the Democrat. Speaking to reporters after meeting with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, Cheney argued that Kerry has a penchant for wavering that makes him a weak alternative to a "steadfast leader, which is exactly what we have in President George W. Bush (news - web sites)."

"John Kerry gives every indication that his repeated efforts to cast and recast and redefine the war on terror and our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites), of someone who lacks the resolve, the determination and the conviction to prevail in this conflict," Cheney said. "He has demonstrated throughout the course of this campaign that he lacks the clarity of vision and purpose necessary to lead our country during extraordinary times."

Kerry said he has laid out "steps to win the war, not to change, not to retreat, steps to win. George Bush is trying to fight a phantom here because he won't tell the American people the truth, so he sets up something that's not a real issue and attacks it."

Bush "missed a huge opportunity" at the United Nations (news - web sites) this week to try to persuade leaders of other nations to join the United States in Iraq and the broader anti-terror war, Kerry said.

"I don't think he's providing the leadership we need," Kerry said. "I will do a better job of dealing with Iraq and winning the war and fighting the war on terror, period."

In a day filled with rhetorical charges and countercharges at campaign stops and in advertising all four candidates found fault. Responding to Cheney, Edwards said in a statement that Bush and Cheney "are the last two people we need a lecture from about how to keep the American people safe."

"It is the height of absurdity for Dick Cheney, a chief architect of the Iraq quagmire, to talk about the leadership needed to fix the mess in Iraq that he created," said Edwards, reviving a word "quagmire" often used to describe the Vietnam War.

Clink here to see the source. Kerry: Allawi's Take on Iraq Unrealistic

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