Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Spanking Ted Kennedy

Over at Real Clear Politics they have posted this speech given on the Senate floor by Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona).

"The Senator from Massachusetts has made a pretty vicious attack, I would say, on the President of the United States, contending that he hasn't leveled with the American people. The Senator began by reciting why, in his view, the outlook is so 'bleak', that we're 'losing the war.' I see in these remarks and others that I've heard recently a steely determination to keep hopelessness alive. That, I don't think, should be the policy of the United States.

The President has a vision about how to bring the war against militant Islam to a conclusion; but there were no constructive alternatives from the Senator from Massachusetts, no ideas about how we could do better, just an attack on the President, and an assertion that we're losing the war, the implications of which were left hanging.

The Senator accused the President of painting a rosy picture. I think he forgets two things: First of all, President Bush has said repeatedly from the very beginning that this would be a very long and very difficult conflict. In fact, he's tried to inspire the American people to continue to persevere. You don't inspire people by wringing your hands and talking about how we're losing the war. Think about what kind of a message that sends to our troops and to the families who are sacrificing. What kind of a message does it send to our allies, who some people say they could convince to come into this conflict? That's not exactly going to persuade them. And finally, what kind of a message does it send to the enemy to suggest that they're winning and we're losing?

I think Senator Kennedy has confused violence in Iraq with his claim of less security at home. One of the reasons we are all more secure and we haven't been attacked for more than three years at home is because we've taken the fight to the enemy.

Secondly, the Senator from Massachusetts alleges that there was no relationship, no connection between the terrorists and the Saddam Hussein Regime. I want to try to debunk this myth right now. Let me quote from the CIA: 'We have solid reporting of senior-level contacts between Iraq and Al-Qaeda going back a decade.' No relationship? 'Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al-Aaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression. Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al-Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad.' Again quote: 'We have credible evidence that Al-Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq that could help them acquire weapons of mass destruction. Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda leaders in the making of conventional bombs.' And finally, 'Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians, coupled with a growing relationship with Al-Qaeda, suggests that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase even absent U.S. military action.'

No relationship? No contact? No connection?

How about the 9/11 Commission? What did it say? Here's a quotation from Chairman Thomas Kean: "There was no question in our minds that there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda." The commission's report said: "With the Sudanese regime acting as an intermediary, Bin Laden himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in late 1995. Bin Laden is said to have asked for space to establish training camps as well as assistance in procuring weapons. The ensuing years saw additional efforts to establish connections... In July 1998 an [Iraqi] delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with Bin Laden... According to reports, Iraqi officials offered Bin Laden safe haven in Iraq. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate common themes on both sides, particularly a hatred of the United States."

"To date, we have seen no evidence that these or other contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship," the report also says. That's a critical distinction. The president never alleged an operational link, or that Saddam Hussein helped plan the 9/11 attack. But there is plenty of evidence of connections between Al-Qaida and Saddam Husein. According to a CIA report called Iraqi Support for Terrorism, 'the general pattern that emerges is one of Al-Qaeda's enduring interest in acquiring chemical, biological, and nuclear expertise from Iraq.' This is exactly what the president has talked about: concern that this relationship would someday - if we didn't act against Iraq - blossom into full-blown support from Iraq to Al-Qaeda.

Finally, as to the suggestion that Iraq is a diversion from succeeding in Afghanistan, that we haven't finished the job there - we were very successful in defeating the Taliban and killing a lot of Al-Qaeda and in establishing a regime there which is going to be holding elections. Prime Minister Karzai made it very clear when he came to this country; he expressed his appreciation just as Prime Minister Allawi of Iraq has to the American and allied forces. I think there's a misconception here that the only Al-Qaeda are in the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and because we haven't captured every single one of them, including Osama Bin Laden, therefore, somehow or other, our activities in Iraq are responsible. There's been no evidence of that. As a matter of fact, our military commanders make the point that it isn't true.

I conclude with this point: to those who convey a sense of panic, that everything is going badly. Those of us who support the President's policy are not saying everything is rosy. I don't know anyone who has. But as contrasted with those who create this sense of panic, the President has a vision. His commanders have a strategy. When I saw General Abizaid on television last Sunday, he didn't paint a rosy picture. It was a very realistic assessment. But he also showed a calm confidence that if we can persevere, we can prevail. And that's what he asked of the American people: To allow their military commanders as well as the Commander-in-Chief to carry out the vision here to defeat militant Islamic terrorists, wherever they are. This war has many fronts. We've fought simultaneously to try to gain support from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Libyan regime, from Syria, in Yemen and the Sudan and so on. There are still some places to go. But the bottom line here is you can't just isolate one little place in the world and say we have to do that first and win every possible goal before we can do anything else anywhere else.

So let's consider that the military commanders might know what they're talking about. It does no good to wring our hands and paint a picture of panic. Realistic assessments? Absolutely. Truth to the American people? Absolutely. But leadership that presents a vision and a strategy for winning the wider war on terrorism, that's what the President has provided; and that's why I'm very proud to support his efforts.

These points need to be made over and over. What Kennedy, Kerry, Edwards and all of their talking pundits do when they say we are losing is embolden the enemy. This will cause the enemy to fight harder and kill more soldiers and Iraqis. These people have blood on their hands. Plain and simple.

God Bless the USA.