Kerry Says Bush Living in 'Make Believe World' on Iraq

Susan Jones | Morning Editor | Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kerry Says Bush Living in 'Make Believe World' on Iraq

( - Ayad Allawi, the prime minister of Iraq's interim government, will address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on Thursday, and he'll also appear in the White House Rose Garden with President Bush.

Allawi is expected to back up President Bush's claims that despite the ongoing violence, Iraq is moving toward a brighter future.

In New York earlier this week for the opening session of the United Nations, Allawi said, "It's very important for the people of the world really to know that we are winning, we are making progress in Iraq."

He said it's unfortunate that the news media is not covering the "significant gains."

Before Allawi has a chance to reinforce President Bush's optimistic view of Iraq before Congress, Sen. John F. Kerry and his running mate Sen. John Edwards each issued statements on Wednesday, blasting Bush administration policies.

Kerry said President Bush is "living in a make-believe world" when it comes to Iraq - "unwilling to tell the truth or understand the situation in Iraq."

Kerry said he has laid out specific steps to win the war - "not to retreat," he emphasized, but "steps to win."

In his statement, Kerry said "George Bush has failed to be forthcoming with the American people about what is happening in Iraq and has failed to provide the leadership we need. I will do a better job of dealing with Iraq and winning the war and fighting the war on terror, period."

Kerry accused Bush of fighting a "phantom" by setting up "something that's not a real issue" and then attacking it.

Sen. John Edwards also released a statement Wednesday, saying, "George Bush and Dick 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."

Edwards said Cheney is the guy who "sent our troops into Iraq without a real coalition, without a plan for the peace and without the proper equipment. This is the same guy who learned that the CIA had concluded that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in February 2001 but failed to take any action to retaliate. This is the same guy who continues to blur the lines between 9/11 and Iraq despite the fact that the 9/11 Commission has shown that no such link exists."

Edwards said Cheney's "record of failure" is eclipsed only by President Bush's.

He said both Republicans should be held accountable "for their miscalculations and their inaction in the face of terrorist threats."