Friday, September 17, 2004

Ex-general criticizes Iraq war in Kerry campaign speech - "incompetence in the conduct of war."

Ex-general criticizes Iraq war in Kerry campaign speech: "Ex-general criticizes Iraq war in Kerry campaign speech

By JOSH FLORY of the Tribune’s staff
Published Friday, September 17, 2004
A former U.S. Air Force general this morning visited Columbia to criticize the Bush administration’s management of the war in Iraq and to tout John Kerry as a better alternative.

Retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, a former Air Force Chief of Staff, visited the Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center, where he told audience members radical neoconservatives are guiding a foreign policy that has caused American popularity around the world to plummet.
McPeak served 37 years in the Air Force, retiring to Oregon 10 years ago. He said that in 1996 he was Oregon chairman of Bob Dole’s presidential campaign and in 2000 was co-chairman of Veterans for Bush in that state.

American standing in the world is a factor that helped change his mind this year. McPeak said as a military officer he spent years trying to enhance American prestige and influence, and that after Sept. 11 there was a "wellspring of good will" for America around the world. Now, he said, that is evaporating. "Our approval ratings in the world now are in the low single digits," he said.

McPeak was particularly critical of the administration’s Iraq policy, saying the war was a "vanity war" and that it has hampered the war effort in Afghanistan. Later, though, he said he wasn’t against the war itself and was delighted to see Saddam Hussein in handcuffs.

Asked about those positions, McPeak said he would have supported an intervention to remove Hussein "if it had been done in the right way."

"It was the right thing to get rid of Saddam Hussein, don’t get me wrong," he said. "But it’s not enough to do the right thing; you have to do the thing right. And so these guys have shown they don’t know how to do the thing right."

That position tracks closely with the position of Kerry, who voted to authorize the war. Last month, according to the Washington Post, the Democrat said he would have voted that way even if he knew no weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq. Kerry, though, has criticized George W. Bush’s handling of the war, saying in a speech in Fulton the president must build a larger coalition to share the burden in Iraq.

McPeak argued this morning that the military force in Iraq is too small, comparing the number of troops there to the forces needed by the British to control Northern Ireland or the number of NATO troops needed to secure Bosnia. "We’re never going to get control of this situation when we’ve got about half the number of guys there needed to get it under control," he said.

About 30 people were in the audience this morning. Peter Dunn, a retired Air Force colonel, said he hates to see "incompetence in the conduct of war." In Iraq, he said, "there’s no victory in sight, nor a dignified exit."

Paul Sloca, a spokesman for the Missouri Republican Party, said the president is committed to staying in Iraq until the job is done, adding that the Iraqi people are grateful for what the United States has done.

"Under President Bush and through the hard work of our fighting men and women, oppression and tyranny have been replaced by freedom and hope," he said."


Blogger Glenn Tolle said...

Well, he has a point or two; however, if every retired four-star general lined up behind Kerry (and this is a Walt Disney-level dream out of Never Never Land), I still wouldn't vote for the man---and I've been sitting in Iraq for the last 8 months now!


5:05 AM  
Blogger JBOC said...

Thanks for the comment Major; I just said a prayer that you get back in one piece. Partially for a selfish reason in that I like your music. Where can I get the CD?

Kerry was not my first choice for the Democratic Nomination, I am more of a Pat Buchanon Democrat. I think the Bush foreign policy is deeply flawed and we need to get a new president or at least get rid of the NeoCon Chicken Hawks advisors who lied to President Bush.
Best wishes,
Barry O’Connell

5:33 AM  

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