- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 26, 2004

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy today will blame President Bush for blowing the chance to rebuild Iraq because he was too intent on introducing a market economy.

“They thought they could use Iraq as an experiment in laissez-faire economics, but the result has been far fewer jobs for Iraqis and far greater support for insurgents,” Mr. Kennedy will tell students at George Washington University, according to his prepared remarks.

The Massachusetts Democrat has become the chief campaigner for presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry in Washington, giving daily speeches on the floor of the Senate accusing Mr. Bush of failing at everything from the economy to health care to the war in Iraq. Today, he plans to take aim at Mr. Bush’s declaration that the United States is safer because Saddam Hussein is not in power.

With both Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts, declaring security the main issue in this election, the question of how the war in Iraq affected safety is critical.

Mr. Kennedy will lay out a list of 13 reasons why he believes Mr. Bush’s execution of the war has left America less safe. The reasons essentially boil down to the war’s having distracted the president from the myriad dangers posed by al Qaeda.

“The greatest danger we face in the days and weeks and months ahead is a nuclear 9/11, and we hope and pray that it is not already too late to prevent,” he says. “The war in Iraq has made the mushroom cloud more likely, not less likely.”

Today, he will cast an historical eye on the elections, comparing Mr. Bush unfavorably with Mr. Kennedy’s brother, President Kennedy.

“I thank God that President Bush was not our president at the time of the Cuban missile crisis,” Mr. Kennedy will tell the students. “Even after 9/11, it is wrong for this president or any president to shoot first and ask questions later.”

Mr. Kennedy praises American troops for their execution of the war, but, at another point in his speech, he says their errant bombs are sparking the insurgency. The speech also insinuates that Mr. Bush is keeping American troops from doing the hardest job of going after insurgents in remaining pockets, postponing it until after the Nov. 2 presidential election.

“Whole cities are considered ‘no-go’ zones for our troop — presumably to avoid even greater casualties until after the election,” he says. “We continue to use so-called ‘precision’ bombing in Iraq, even though the bombs can’t tell whether it’s terrorists or innocent families inside the buildings they hit.”

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