View Full Version : Bush: Iraq War Critics Send Mixed Signals to Troops, Enemy

11-14-2005, 07:07 PM


ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — President Bush, heading to Asia with hopes of improving his image on the world stage, hurled a parting shot at Iraq war critics on Monday, accusing some Democrats of "sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy."

"That is irresponsible," Bush said in prepared remarks he planned to deliver to U.S. forces during a refueling stop in Alaska. Excerpts from the remarks were released by the White House as Bush flew to Elemendorf Air Force Base on the initial leg of an eight-day journey to Japan, South Korea, China and Mongolia.

"Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war, but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people," Bush said in his prepared remarks.

"Only one person manipulated evidence and misled the world — and that person was Saddam Hussein," Bush added.

The president sought to defend himself against Democrats' criticism that he manipulated intelligence and misled the American people about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction as he sought grounds to go to war against Saddam Hussein in 2003.

His Alaska remarks were similar to those made in a Veterans Day speech on Friday.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters aboard the presidential aircraft that two agenda items on Bush's Asia trip were the huge Chinese trade surplus with the United States and a dispute between the United States and Japan over U.S. beef imports.
Neither dispute was expected to be resolved on the president's trip, Hadley said.

"I don't think you're going to see headline-breakers" from the president's trip, Hadley said.

Iraq and other problems, from the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina to the indictment of a senior White House official in the CIA leak investigation, have taken a heavy toll on the president. Nearing the end of his fifth year in office, Bush has the lowest approval rating of his presidency and a majority of Americans say Bush is not honest and they disapprove of his handling of foreign policy and the war on terrorism.

In his prepared Alaska remarks, Bush noted that some elected Democrats in Congress "have opposed this war all along.

"I disagree with him, but I respect their willingness to take a consistent stand," he said. "Yet some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past. They are playing politics with this issue and sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy."

In the Senate, 29 Democrats voted with 48 Republicans for the war authorization measure in late 2002, including 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, and his running mate, John Edwards of North Carolina. Both have recently been harshly critical of Bush's conduct of the war and its aftermath.

On Capitol Hill, top Democrats stood their ground in claiming Bush misled Congress and the country. "The war in Iraq was and remains one of the great acts of misleading and deception in American history," Kerry told a news conference.

Democrats offered a proposal urging the president to outline an estimate for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Senate was expected to vote on it on Tuesday, as well as on a rival GOP Iraq policy proposal that does not include a withdrawal provision.

Bush is expected to get a warmer welcome in Asia than he did earlier this month in Argentina at the Summit of the Americas, where Venezuelan President Hugo Chaves led a protest against U.S. policies and Bush failed to gain support from the 34 nations attending for a hemisphere-wide free trade zone.

Japan, the first stop on Bush's trip, and Mongolia, the last, are likely to give him the most enthusiastic response, while China and South Korea probably will be cooler but respectful.

In South Korea, Bush also will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference summit in Busan, where 21 member states are expected to agree to support global free-trade talks. The summit also is expected to agree to put early warning and information-sharing systems in place in case of bird flu outbreaks.

"It is good for the president to show up in Asia and say, `We care about Asia,' because that is in doubt in the region," said Ed Lincoln, senior fellow in Asia and economic studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

At his first stop, in Kyoto, Japan, the president will deliver what aides bill as the speech of the trip on the power of democracy — not only to better individual lives but contribute to the long-term prosperity of nations.

The remarks — aimed at China — will hold up such nations as Japan, Australia and South Korea as models because of their strong democratic traditions and willingness to help establish democracy in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

"There's going to be a lot of change in Chinese society and these are things that will help the Chinese move forward," Mike Green, the National Security Council's senior director for Asia, said in describing the message.

Bush also is expected to press China to revalue its currency, reduce its vast trade surplus with the United States and curb the piracy of American movies, software and other copyright material.

China's leadership in six-party talks with North Korea aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions also will be a key topic when Bush meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing.

Since Japan and South Korea are also U.S. partners in those negotiations, Bush will also be working the issue when he sits down with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Kyoto and spends a day with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun ahead of the APEC meetings.

11-14-2005, 07:26 PM
Didn't Bush try this bullshit line before, about sending "mixed signals" to the troops? I don't believe it worked then either.