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Sunday, September 19, 2004

With steadfast, resolute victories like these...

Thank God a few Republican senators are willing to break with the official Bush administration fantasy that we're making tremendous progress on bringing democracy to Iraq. Among them:

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.): "No, I don't think we're winning. We're in trouble, we're in deep trouble in Iraq." (CBS "Face the Nation")

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), on why only $1 billion of $18 billion appropriated last year for Iraqi reconstruction had been spent: "Well, this is the incompetence in the administration." (ABC "This Week")

The two members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also scolded the Bush administration sharply last week:

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard testimony from State Department officials seeking to divert almost 20 percent of the $18.4 billion in US reconstruction funds to security operations instead of public works projects and economic development.

But the hearing quickly became a forum for attacking what the Republican committee chairman, Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, referred to as the "dancing-in-the-street crowd" that wrongly predicted that Iraqis would be celebrating after the fall of Saddam Hussein a year and a half ago. He said the same White House officials have repeatedly failed to make necessary course changes.

"Now, the nonsense of all [the predictions] is apparent; the lack of planning is apparent," he said.

Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, addressing two of the State Department's point men on Iraq, said the pace of reconstruction has been "beyond pitiful. It's embarrassing. It is now in the zone of dangerous."

"You don't win the hearts and minds of the people at the end of a barrel of a gun," Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, said. "You do that through the process that we started here in the Congress appropriating $18.4 billion."

As for the original architects of the Iraq war, he added: "Maybe we ought to have a hearing with the inventors of this, have them come back up, all these smart guys that got us in there and said, 'Don't worry.' "

("GOP senators voice rising concerns on Iraq," Brian Knowlton [International Herald Tribune], New York Times 9.19.04, reg req'd; "Two GOP leaders attack Iraq policy," Brian Bender, Boston Globe 9.16.04)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 19 September 2004 at 11:12 PM

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