Monday, November 21, 2005

Kerry Accuses Bush and Cheney of Misleading

I’m sure regular readers here could point out a few errors in the author’s comments, but I still thought you’d be interested in seeing this report:

Kerry accuses Bush, Cheney of `misleading’ in Iraqi war run-up

AP Political Writer

Sen. John Kerry said Monday Vice President Dick Cheney is “misleading” the American people when he asserts Congress saw the same prewar intelligence as he and President Bush did before approving the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

“That is just plain, flat, not true,” said the Massachusetts Democrat, who was his party’s 2004 presidential nominee.

And in a pointed rebuttal to a speech delivered by Cheney only hours earlier, Kerry accused Bush and Cheney of concealing critical dissenting information before Congress voted in October 2002 to support military action in Iraq. Kerry was among those who voted yes.

The senator said:

-Bush said Iraq had a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical and biological weapons, but the U.S. Air Force disagreed “and the Air Force’s dissent was kept secret, even as the president publicly made the opposite case before the vote.

“Congress wasn’t told that,” Kerry told reporters at his Boston office, a line he would repeat after outlining each charge.

-Bush and Cheney told Congress asserted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could launch a chemical or biological attack in under one hour, but they did not clear it with the CIA, “which mistrusted the source so much they refused to include it in the National Intelligence Estimate.”

-The administration said Saddam was attempting to acquire nuclear fuel for weapons, even though the CIA told it three times in writing and verbally that was not true.

-Bush said Iraq had trained al Qaeda members in bombmaking and the use of poison and deadly gases, but the Defense Intelligence Agency had previously concluded that the source was a fabricator.

“The fact is that they’re now trying to rewrite the rationale for the administration going into Iraq,” Kerry said. “Instead they really ought to be trying to fix the problems that they’ve created with their incompetence over the last few years.”

Speaking in Washington, Cheney toned down criticism last week of Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a former Marine, Vietnam veteran and Iraqi war supporter who nonetheless called for the U.S. to begin an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Cheney called Murtha “a patriot,” but he trained his criticism on “a few politicians suggesting these brave Americans were sent into battle for a deliberate falsehood.”

The vice president asserted: “This is revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety. It has no place anywhere in American politics, much less in the United States Senate.”

Kerry has laid out a plan for the withdrawal of American troops, tied to the achievement of benchmarks by the Iraqi government. His vice presidential running mate, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, declared last week “I was wrong” to vote in favor of the war, but Kerry has resisted making a similar statement.

Despite his remarks, Kerry also refused to say Bush and Cheney lied to the American people.

“Never used that word; don’t like the word,” he said. “It’s a question of intent and other kinds of things. They’ve misled America and they’re still misleading Americans. You can fight about the words.”


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