Dems talk back
Democrats are criticizing President Bush for raising the Sept. 11 attacks while he defends his plan to keep U.S. troops in Iraq as long as it takes to ensure peace in the country.
The president, urging patience on an American public showing doubts about his Iraq policy, mentioned the deadly 2001 terrorist attacks five times during a 28-minute address Tuesday night at Fort Bragg, N.C.
..."The president's frequent references to the terrorist attacks of September 11 show the weakness of his arguments," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said. "He is willing to exploit the sacred ground of 9/11, knowing that there is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq."
..."The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001," Bush told a national television audience and 750 soldiers and airmen in dress uniform who mostly listened quietly as they had been asked to do.
...Democrats criticized Bush for not offering more specifics about how to achieve success in Iraq along with his frequent mention of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"The president's numerous references to September 11 did not provide a way forward in Iraq," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said. "They only served to remind the American people that our most dangerous enemy, namely Osama bin Laden, is still on the loose and al-Qaida remains capable of doing this nation great harm nearly four years after it attacked America."
Bush urged Americans to remember the lessons of Sept. 11 and protect "the future of the Middle East" from men like bin Laden. He repeatedly referred to the insurgents in Iraq as terrorists and said they were killing innocent people to try to "shake our will in Iraq, just as they tried to shake our will on September the 11th, 2001."
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said it's because of the lessons of the Sept. 11 attacks that he opposes Bush's approach to keeping the troops in Iraq without any timetable for withdrawal.
"The U.S. military presence in Iraq has become a powerful recruiting tool for terrorists, and Iraq is now the premier training ground and networking venue for the next generation of jihadists," Feingold said.