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Rebuilding Iraq


Kennedy speech to deride Bush's postwar vision

By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff, 03/04/2003

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's assertion that a war against Iraq would bring peace to the troubled Middle East is "simplistic," Senator Edward M. Kennedy says in a speech he is expected to deliver today to a conference of religious leaders.

The Massachusetts Democrat, a persistent Senate critic of the administration's plans for Iraq, said "such a war will make the world even more dangerous for Americans -- not less dangerous," and alienate allies the United States needs to fight terrorism.

"In his speech, President Bush painted a simplistic picture of the brightest possible future with democracy flourishing in Iraq, peace emerging among all nations in the Middle East, and the terrorists with no place of support there," Kennedy says, referring to the vision Bush outlined last week. "We've all heard of rosy scenarios, but that was ridiculous. This administration's record in postwar Afghanistan is not exactly the best precedent for building democracy in Iraq."

By pressuring reluctant allies to back the use of military force against Iraq, Bush has "squandered too much of the good will of the world community," Kennedy is scheduled to tell more than 300 leaders of the United Methodist Church gathered in the nation's capital.

"Surely, we can have effective relationships with other nations without adopting a chip-on-the-shoulder, a my-way-or-the-highway policy that makes all our other goals in the world more difficult to achieve. We cannot be a bully in the schoolyard and expect cooperation from the rest of the world," Kennedy says.

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