Democratic presidential contender John Kerry urged President Bush Thursday to ask other nations to share in the responsibility of rebuilding Iraq as one response to the upsurge in violence there. During a campaign appearance in Wisconsin, Senator Kerry continued his criticism of the president's handling of the situation in Iraq.
In his latest comments, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said Mr. Bush should reach out to allies for help on Iraq as a way of maximizing the chances for success there and as a way of minimizing the cost both in lives and money. "Why is the United States of America almost alone in carrying this burden and the risks, which the world has a stake in?" he asked. "There is no Arab country that is advanced by a failed Iraq. No European country is made safer by a failed Iraq. Yet those countries are distinctly absent from the risk bearing of this effort. Why?"
But that view was challenged later on at a U.S. Senate hearing where Secretary of State Colin Powell defended the administration's efforts to reach out not only to allies, but to the United Nations and NATO as well. "We are not resisting the United Nations," he said. "The president has said clearly, he has been saying it for quite a while, that we want the U.N. to play a quote, vital role, unquote. So we want the international community to be involved. We are working on it."
In an unexpected twist, the situation in Iraq also crept into another major Washington event on Thursday, the testimony of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice before the independent commission investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Commission member Bob Kerrey, a former Democratic Senator from Nebraska who is no relation to presidential contender John Kerry, decided to raise the Iraq situation with Ms. Rice. "I don't think we understand how the Muslim world views this and I am terribly worried that the military tactics in Iraq are going to do a number of things and they are all bad (applause)," he said. "No, please do not do that. Do not applaud. And I think we are going to end up with civil war if we continue down the military operation strategy that we have in place. I say that sincerely as someone who supported the war in the first place."
Ms. Rice did not respond to the comments from Mr. Kerrey and the hearing quickly shifted back to the September 11 attacks. But the incident is the latest example of how concern over the situation in Iraq has come front and center in Washington in recent days, dominating the attention of administration policy-makers and members of Congress.