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Kerry Criticizes Bush For Not Seeking More Allies In Fight For Iraq's Future - 2004-05-29

President Bush says he has a strategy for restoring security and transferring political power in Iraq. His presumptive Democratic challenger, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, says the president has alienated long-time allies by acting on his own in Iraq.

President Bush says the plan to transfer sovereignty to a new Iraqi government next month will help establish lasting freedom in a country where he says the stakes are high and clear.

?The enemy seeks to establish a new haven for terror and violence at the heart of the Middle East, Mr. Bush said. ?They seek to force free nations to retreat into isolation and fear, yet we will persevere, and defeat this enemy, and hold this hard-won ground for the realm of liberty.?

In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush said America is safer, because U.S. troops are fighting terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

In the Democratic radio address, Senator Kerry criticized the president for not seeking more allies in the fight for Iraq's future.

?We must rebuild alliances that have been shredded, because an America respected in the world will be an America stronger in the world, and safer here at home, Mr. Kerry said.

Because of the gravity of the terrorist threat, Senator Kerry says, the United States must be more willing to work with other nations to establish a comprehensive approach to the political transition in Iraq, and the broader fight against international terrorism.

?We are facing an enemy that will stop at nothing,? Senator Kerry said. ?It is time to put away pride and stubbornness. It's time to answer the call to greatness, and lead the world. It's time to let America be America again.?

President Bush says he is working with other nations on a new U.N. resolution that will hand power to a sovereign government, establish security, rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, encourage more international support and move toward national elections.

The president says he only used force against Saddam Hussein after the Iraqi dictator had refused to comply with years of U.N. resolutions demanding that he give up weapons of mass destruction.

?Through our history, America has gone to war reluctantly, because we have known the costs of war,? Mr. Bush said. ?And in every generation, it is the best among us who are called to pay that price. Those who have paid those costs have given us every moment we live in freedom, and every living American is in their debt.?

After their radio addresses, both President Bush and Senator Kerry took part in ceremonies dedicating a memorial to the veterans of the Second World War. The new memorial, built with private funds, stands at the center of the nation's capital between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.