Monday, August 30

Bush says war on terror not winnable

Bush says War NOT Winnable!

That's right. As GW Bush's next to last brain cell was rocked by a spasmic and tormented death he nonetheless managed to say the US could not win the war on terror. At least he didn't just look stupidly into the camera and sort of mutter, "frog" while picking his nose in semblance of his too recent for comfort simian ancestors. See. There's always a silver lining. Our president does not have the presence of mind to know not to say that the US cannot win the war on terrorism, but at least he's not schizophrenic...

 By Matea Gold, Times Staff Writer

NANTUCKET, Mass. — Trying to stay on the offensive during a week dominated by Republican festivities in New York, the Democrats pounced today on a comment by President Bush that the war on terror is not winnable, calling it pessimistic and defeatist.

Bush's remark came in an interview broadcast today on NBC news show.

When asked if the United States can win the war on terror, Bush replied, "I don't think you can win it, but I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."

In a statement released by the Democratic campaign — and later in a speech in Wilmington, N.C. — vice presidential candidate John Edwards scolded Bush for his attitude.

"This is no time to declare defeat," Edwards said. "It won't be easy and it won't be quick, but we have a comprehensive long-term plan to make America safer."

Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt accused Edwards and other Democrats of taking the president's comment out of context. "It's another reason why they have a growing credibility problem with the American people," Schmidt said.

"What the president meant was that this is a war unlike any others. We don't face an enemy where there will ever be a formal surrender, where the white flag is displayed," Schmidt said.

Sen. John F. Kerry stayed out of the fray today as he vacationed in Nantucket, meeting with campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill to discuss political strategy for the final two months of the race and begin preparing for debates with Bush, aides said. The Democratic presidential nominee also spent part of the afternoon windsurfing.

Kerry is expected to refrain from campaigning during the Republican convention, except for a speech to the American Legion in Nashville Wednesday.

But the candidate's surrogates did not let up criticism of Bush.

"To suggest that the war on terrorism is not winnable is absolutely, totally, thoroughly unacceptable," Sen. Joseph R. Biden (D-Del.) said in a conference call organized by the campaign.

"It's a little bit like saying that our war against communism directed out of Moscow is not winnable."

Retired NATO Gen. Wesley Clark said the U.S. can defeat terrorist organizations, adding that the country can stymie their ability to recruit new members and keep them from accessing weapons of mass destruction, among other measures.

"We are going to crush the people who are out to hurt America," Clark said.

It was the second remark by Bush in recent days that the Democrats have seized on. Last week, the Kerry campaign jumped on the president's acknowledgment in a New York Times interview that the administration miscalculated the conditions in post-war Iraq.

Since then, the campaign has made that a central theme of its criticism, accusing Bush of "miscalculating" how to deal with health care and protect steelworker jobs.

Edwards, a senator from North Carolina, hewed to that theme in his speech today, telling an audience in his home state that the administration has miscalculated the need for intelligence reforms and the growing nuclear threats in North Korea and Iran, among other issues.

He called for a "nuclear whistle-blower initiative" to protect scientists who expose illegal nuclear programs. And he reiterated a proposal Kerry made in June to provide nuclear fuel to countries like Iran for energy purposes in order to keep those nations from developing their own nuclear programs.

"We should call their bluff, and organize a group of states that will offer the nuclear fuel they need for peaceful purposes and take back the spent fuel so they can't divert it to build a weapon," Edwards said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.


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