Monday, July 19, 2004

Senator Max Cleland: Bush 'flat-out lied' on Iraq - Bush Lied, Cheney Lied and Rumsfeld Lied

Yahoo! News - Kerry aide: Bush 'flat-out lied' on Iraq: "Kerry aide: Bush 'flat-out lied' on Iraq

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Democrats stepped up attacks on George W. Bush's anti-terror policies when an official of White House candidate John Kerry (news - web sites)'s campaign said the president "flat-out lied" over the Iraq (news - web sites) war.

Former senator Max Cleland made his remarks in a conference call to reporters with Democratic chairman Terry McAuliffe as part of a party offensive ahead of this week's release of a major report sure to fuel criticism of Bush's war on terror. Cleland, a national co-chairman of Kerry's campaign, described the Bush administration's arguments that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda terrorists, as a "pack of lies." The former lawmaker from the southern state of Georgia defended the vote that he, Kerry and others cast in the Senate to authorize military intervention in Iraq, saying the Congress was "flat-out lied to."

Asked whether they were lied to by the intelligence services or the White House, he said emphatically: "By the president, by the vice president and by the secretary of defense." Cleland said that Bush went to war "because he concluded that his daddy was a failed president and one of the ways he failed was that he did not take out Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)" in the 1991 Gulf war. "So he (Bush junior) is Mr. Macho Man." He added that Kerry, from Massachusetts, agreed with the assessment of Bush's credibility. "About a year ago John Kerry said,'The president lied, he lied to me personally,'" said Cleland, a badly wounded Vietnam war veteran.

Cleland, who has led the cadre of Kerry's Vietnam comrades supporting the candidate, went further than the draft Democratic platform to be adopted next week by the party's convention for its drive to unseat Bush in November. The draft says, "People of good will disagree about whether America should have gone to war in Iraq, but this much is clear: This Administration badly exaggerated its case."

But McAuliffe did not back away from Cleland's allegation of outright lying. He said only that the platform committee "did an excellent job of representing where this party stands as it relates to issues on national security." "The platform does not get into specifics on all the different issues. ... It is a document that all Democrats can run on." Spokesmen for the Kerry campaign did not immediately return phone calls asking whether Cleland's remarks reflected the candidate's position.

The Bush campaign issued a statement denouncing Cleland's "rage-filled rant" and accusing Kerry of playing politics with national security, while White House spokesman Scott McClellan shrugged off the Democrats' attacks. "I would remind you that the president's opponent looked at that same intelligence and made the same decision to support the use the force to remove that regime from power," McClellan said. "I know he's all over the map since that time."

The Democrats' conference call was one of a series of broadsides at Bush, orchestrated by the Kerry campaign ahead of the release Thursday of the final report of a national panel investigating the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The document, following 17 staff reports already made public, was expected to be highly critical of the Bush administration for intelligence failures and other lapses surrounding the attacks.

Cleland, who served briefly on the national panel, said the move to invade Iraq without widespread world support was "one of the great strategic errors" of US military history and actually left the country more vulnerable to terrorism. "This country is less safe and less secure because of George Bush's decision to go to war alone and alienate the Arab and Islamic world and generate more recruits for al-Qaeda," he said. "

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