Kennedy Says Bush Waging 'Wrong War'; Criticizes Foreign, Civil Rights Policies
Byline: James G. Lakely, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
President Bush has turned most of the world against the United States, is poised to wage "the wrong war at the wrong time" and will endanger civil rights through his court appointments, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy told reporters in a wide-ranging luncheon speech yesterday.
At the National Press Club, the Massachusetts Democrat complained that Mr. Bush has reduced "our standing among the peoples of Europe and in other lands abroad to or near the lowest point in half a century."
The president's desire for an "immediate, unilateral war with Iraq," and his "chip-on-the-shoulder foreign policy" are responsible for that lack of respect, Mr. Kennedy said.
"The threat from Iraq is not imminent," said Mr. Kennedy, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee. "It will distract America from the two more immediate threats to our security - the clear and present danger of terrorism and the crisis with North Korea."
Mr. Kennedy cited the discovery last week of empty chemical warheads in Iraq as a sign that further inspections, not war, are the wisest course of action.
"It's an indication that inspections work," Mr. Kennedy said. "And it's a reason to give the inspectors more time. If our goal is disarmament, we are likely to accomplish more by inspections than by war."
War with Iraq will only provoke Saddam Hussein to use any weapons of mass destruction he may possess because he will feel "personally threatened," Mr. Kennedy said.
"With the presence of inspectors, Saddam will find it difficult and probably impossible to pursue weapons of mass destruction," he said.