- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 10, 2004

After Paul Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, was reported to have said that President Bush did not send enough troops there last year, John Kerry immediately sought to take full political advantage of the situation.

Mr. Kerry warned darkly that Mr. Bush “may be constitutionally unable to level with” the American public, and cited the Bremer comments as evidence that the president’s “stubbornness” prevented him from seeing the best ways to prevail in Iraq.

Mr. Bremer does not deny that, during his 13 months as administrator of the CPA in Iraq, he had tactical disagreements with other U.S. officials, including military commanders on the ground. But, as Mr. Bremer subsequently made clear, whatever the tactical differences, Mr. Bush was correct on the most important decision of all: going to war to liberate the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein. This is in stark contrast with Mr. Kerry, who appears to have decided that the president’s decision to go to war was a mistake, but he was nonetheless right to have voted for it (at least until the next focus group results can be carefully analyzed.)

In a New York Times Op-Ed which ran Friday, Mr. Bremer: refuted Mr. Kerry and endorsed Mr. Bush’s view that Iraq is a central front in the war against terrorism, and that America’s enemies are not confined to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden; agreed with Mr. Bush that Saddam Hussein “was a menace who needed to be removed from power”; endorsed Mr. Bush’s view that we will win the war against global terror only by staying on the offensive and confronting terrorists and state sponsors of terror; stated that the president “made a correct and courageous decision to liberate Iraq”; and said that America and the allied coalition today “are making steady progress toward” making the president’s vision of a new Iraq a reality.

As for those in the media who have joined Mr. Kerry in suggesting that Mr. Bremer’s comments on troop strength indicate a repudiation of Mr. Bush’s overall handling of the fight against Islamist terror, the former CPA chief didn’t mince words: “The press has been curiously reluctant to report my constant public support for the president’s strategy in Iraq and his policies to fight terrorism.” Mr. Bremer added that in his view, “no world leader has better understood the stakes in this global war than President Bush.” By contrast, Mr. Bremer noted that Mr. Kerry was part of a small minority in Congress who voted last year to deny critically necessary funding for the allied war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Kerry’s position on Iraq is simply untenable, and he knows it. That’s why he is so determined to exaggerate every small nuance he can find into a substantive critique of the president’s overall policies.

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