Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bush 'deliberately confusing' Americans on Iraq


Democrats have accused President George W Bush of painting a "rosy picture" of Iraq and of confusing Americans by linking the war there to the September 11 attacks in 2001.

The claims came hours after Mr Bush said in a speech that victory in Iraq was the only way to beat Al Qaeda, and to safeguard US security.

Political rhetoric mounted as members of Congress prepared to return to Washington next week for a showdown over the president's troop surge strategy.

Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, told reporters that Mr Bush's logic on the Iraq war was flawed, but a key House of Representatives Republican leader backed the president.

"It's been (Bush's) misguided policy and his mismanaged war that have actually fueled extremism and extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond," Senator Biden said.

"The president, in my view, likes to confuse the American people by conflating Iraq, Al Qaeda in Iraq, with the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11."

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid accused Mr Bush of pursuing a bankrupt strategy in Iraq as "Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda grow stronger."

"Most Americans, and a bipartisan majority in Congress, believe this strategy is not in our national interest and the time for a major change in strategy is now."

Senate Democrats also put out a statement accusing the White House of manipulating events in Iraq to create a "rosy picture" of the war effort.

Mr Bush had earlier given the latest in a set of speeches apparently designed to bolster political support for the war, ahead of several crucial weeks in the Democratic-led Congress.

"The most important and immediate way to counter the ambitions of Al Qaeda and Iran and other forces of instability and terror is to win the fight in Iraq," he said in Nevada.

He warned that allowing Iran to acquire atomic weapons risked putting the Middle East "under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust."

Republican House Minority leader John Boehner said the president's foes were ignoring "overwhelming progress" in Iraq.

"Will they support a path that continues success, or they will maintain a platform of failure?" he asked.

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