- The Washington Times - Monday, September 27, 2004

Insurgents in Iraq are escalating the violence there, in an effort to interrupt the upcoming elections, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday.

“It’s getting worse,” Mr. Powell said. “And the reason it’s getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the election.”

“They do not want the Iraqi people to vote for their own leaders in a free, democratic election. And because it’s getting worse, we will have to increase our efforts to defeat it, not walk away and pray and hope for something else to happen,” Mr. Powell said.

Resentment toward Americans is growing, but views will shift once the elections are held, Mr. Powell said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“We have seen an increase in anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. We’ll not deny this,” Mr. Powell said.

Meanwhile, Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Americans need to “brace themselves” for a long war because “the battle is being waged out here between extremists and moderates.”

“This ideological movement, it is just starting to gain strength. People in the region do not like it; they don’t want it to be successful. They need our help to win the fight on their own, and that’s what we need to do,” Gen. Abizaid said.

“It will be a long process. It will be a difficult process. But it will be one that can be successfully fought if we come together, not only at home, but in the international community and with the people of the region, to set the standards for good government and the standards for a moderate lifestyle,” Gen. Abizaid said.

The war ultimately will not require a large number of American forces, the general said. However, Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that additional troops should be sent.

“We are making progress, but we need to adjust. I think we need more troops. We need to make Fallujah less of a sanctuary by January. There are things that we can do as a nation to make it more secure in Iraq, but we need to adjust,” Mr. Graham said.

Asked whether he thought the administration has been aggressive enough in going after terrorist strongholds, Mr. Graham said, “No, but they’re beginning to adjust. We are making progress.”

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, called the Iraq war a “quagmire.”

“We have seen blunder after blunder after blunder,” Mr. Kennedy said on CBS. “As a result, we are less secure at the present time.”

Mr. Kennedy defended remarks made by Sen. John Kerry last week, in which the Democratic presidential nominee attacked the credibility of Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s speech to a joint session of Congress.

“It was Thomas Jefferson who said that dissent is the essential aspect of patriotism. I mean, this is what democracy is all about,” Mr. Kennedy said.

“We’ve had an administration that have misled the American people, have distorted intelligence, have used intelligence in a highly selective way. They haven’t been on the level with regards to the American people consistently,” Mr. Kennedy said.

Asked whether Mr. Kerry’s statement “emboldens” the enemy, Mr. Graham said, “Anytime that we diminish the effort and we take away from the effort … it hurts.”

“Criticizing and adjusting is OK, but saying that we’re going in the wrong direction is not OK,” Mr. Graham said.

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