Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Another vicious assault?

From Liberal Oasis we learn of a speech by Kennedy, and the subsequent counter-attack by Sen. Mitch McConnell. McConnell says: (excerpts, emphasis added)
Today, the senior Senator from Massachusetts, Senator Kennedy, delivered an incendiary speech here in Washington that deserves a strong rebuttal.

... today the Senator has mounted another vicious assault on the President by leveling the claims so outrageous that I won’t repeat them here on the Senate floor although they are being carried on TV across the world, presumably even in Baghdad where those who are fighting Americans in the streets can view them.

... we need to focus on rooting out global terrorism by fighting the terrorists and not each other.

... while the debate over the election proceeds, I’m hopeful that the tone set by the Senator From Massachusetts will not become the standard.
Although McConnell doesn't say so explicitly, he appears to be reacting to Kennedy's statements about Bush and the Iraq adventure. (The only things McConnell mentions, besides chastising Kennedy, are terrorists, al Qaeda, and the Iraq war.)

What was that wild speech by Kennedy? We went over to the Brookings Institute, read their summary of the speech, and then looked at the whole thing (pdf). Here is the breakdown of what Kennedy said:

Total words: 5044

36Opening remarks
96Importance of honesty and trust in government
90Bush administration has huge credibility gap
345Bush mislead America about Iraq, war on terrorism now harder
395Bush devious, right-wing policies dominate White House
105Misguided war in Iraq distracts from the real issues
931Economy, jobless, overtime regulations
1766Medicare bill - hiding cost estimates, strong-arming legislators, fake ads
1202Education - NCLB, funding
78This is the pattern and record of the Bush Admin

Actually, the bulk of the speech was on domestic issues - and the Bush administration's failure to be honest with the Congress or the public. But back to the "vicious assault" on Bush regarding the Iraq War. Here, in its entirety, is what Kennedy said on that subject:
In recent months, it has become increasingly clear that the Bush Administration misled the American people about the threat to the nation posed by the Iraqi regime. A year after the war began, Americans are questioning why the Administration went to war in Iraq, when Iraq was not an imminent threat, when it had no nuclear weapons, no persuasive links to Al Qaeda, no connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, and no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons.

Tragically, in making the decision to go to war, the Bush Administration allowed its own stubborn ideology to trump the cold hard evidence that Iraq posed no immediate threat. They misled Congress and the American people because the Administration knew that it could not obtain the consent of Congress for the war if all the facts were known.

By going to war in Iraq on false pretenses and neglecting the real war on terrorism, President Bush gave al Qaeda two years— two whole years—to regroup and recover in the border regions of Afghanistan. As the terrorist bombings in Madrid and other reports now indicate, al Qaeda has used that time to plant terrorist cells in countries
throughout the world, and establish ties with terrorist groups in many different lands.

By going to war in Iraq, we have strained our ties with long-standing allies around the world—allies whose help we clearly and urgently need on intelligence, on law enforcement, and militarily. We have made America more hated in the world, and made the war on terrorism harder to win.

The result is a massive and very dangerous crisis in our foreign policy. We have lost the respect of other nations in the world. Where do we go to get our respect back? How do we re-establish the working relationships we need with other countries to win the war on terrorism and advance the ideals we share? How can we possibly expect President Bush to do that? He's the problem, not the solution. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam, and this country needs a new President.

Much of the debate in recent weeks has been about the President's deceptions on Iraq and the war on terror. Richard Clarke has revealed the truth about the Administration's inattention to the grave and gathering threat of terrorism before 9/11—and the President's preoccupation with Iraq. The misguided war in Iraq has distracted us from the real war we must win, and made that war harder to win, because, even as we combat terror, it has left America more and more isolated in the world. Iraq has also diverted attention from the Administration's deceptions here at home— especially on the economy, health care, and education.
And Kennedy-bashing isn't just for senators. Cartoonist Bill DeOre tries his hand:
UPDATE: Laura Ingraham and Sen. George Allen (R - Virginia) agree: Teddy's a menace.
Allen in the radio interview: Kennedy's remarks "were worse than those made by Jane Fonda during the Vietnam War."

Allen's website: Senator Kennedy's blustering, blatantly political remarks are irresponsible and harmful when he calls our noble mission to bring freedom to repressed people in Iraq 'Bush's Vietnam.'


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