Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A President in Denial

Did you hear John Kerry on Monday? It was one of his better moments. The text of his speech at New York University is now available here. A couple of my favorite quotes;

This President was in denial. He hitched his wagon to the ideologues who surround him, filtering out those who disagreed, including leaders of his own party and the uniformed military. The result is a long litany of misjudgments with terrible consequences.

The administration told us we'd be greeted as liberators. They were wrong.

They told us not to worry about looting or the sorry state of Iraq's infrastructure. They were wrong.

They told us we had enough troops to provide security and stability, defeat the insurgents, guard the borders and secure the arms depots. They were wrong.

They told us we could rely on exiles like Ahmed Chalabi to build political legitimacy. They were wrong.

They told us we would quickly restore an Iraqi civil service to run the country and a police force and army to secure it. They were wrong...

...The president misled, miscalculated, and mismanaged every aspect of this undertaking and he has made the achievement of our objective - a stable Iraq, secure within its borders, with a representative government, harder to achieve.

In Iraq, this administration's record is filled with bad predictions, inaccurate cost estimates, deceptive statements and errors of judgment of historic proportions.

At every critical juncture in Iraq, and in the war on terrorism, the President has made the wrong choice. I have a plan to make America stronger.
Let's make sure we understand this plan, so we can repeat it when necessary;

1. First, the President has to get the promised international support so our men and women in uniform don't have to go it alone. Why can Kerry do this better? Because he hasn't burned the international bridges through unilateral actions.

2. Second, the President must get serious about training Iraqi security forces. Without security, no elections can be held. Without security, more troops and civilians will continue to die. Without security, no one in their right mind is going to go in there and help us.

3. Third, the President must carry out a reconstruction plan that finally brings tangible benefits to the Iraqi people. Troops handing out crayons and coloring books is not a reconstruction plan. The Iraqis need help rebuilding their country and meeting their basic daily needs. Electricity blackouts lasting up to 14 hours a day? Raw sewage filling the streets? Children wading through garbage on their way to school? Unemployment over 50 percent? We can do better than this.

4. Fourth, the President must take immediate, urgent, essential steps to guarantee the promised elections can be held next year. Without help from our allies, without effective security, without the basic daily needs of the people addressed, even if an election is possible, the results will be a sham.

Kerry stated that if these steps are taken, he predicts that we can start bringing American troops home this Summer, with full withdrawal within four years.

Let's hope that things do not explode in Iraq in the next 6 weeks. And let's work to get a new Commander-in-Chief at the helm, so we can end this bloody venture.


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