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Monday, September 27, 2004 > Kennedy says Bush makes U.S. more vulnerable to nuclear attack

By Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press, 9/26/2004 22:46
WASHINGTON (AP) The Bush administration's failure to shut down al-Qaida and rebuild Iraq have fueled the insurgency and made the United States more vulnerable to a nuclear attack by terrorists, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said Sunday.
In a speech prepared for delivery at George Washington University on Monday, Kennedy said that by shifting attention from Osama bin Laden to Iraq, Bush has increased the danger of a ''nuclear 9/11.''
''The war in Iraq has made the mushroom cloud more likely, not less likely,'' he said in the remarks released late Sunday.
Expanding on earlier suggestions that Iraq is Bush's Vietnam, Kennedy said U.S. soldiers are bogged down in a quagmire with no end in sight.
He said it was a good thing Bush was not in charge during the Cuban missile crisis, one of the darker periods of his late brother's John Kennedy's time as president.
On the economic front, he said the administration's failures to distribute billions of dollars in reconstruction funds and create enough local Iraqi jobs may have been the biggest factors leading to the rise of the insurgency there.
Kennedy has been pummeling the Bush administration in daily speeches in the Senate, serving as one of the most aggressive flame-throwers for Democrat John Kerry's presidential campaign. Bush, meanwhile, has charged Kerry with flip-flopping on Iraq.
In defense of Bush's policies, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., appearing Sunday on CBS' ''Face the Nation'' along with Kennedy, said the United States must stay the course in Iraq until the fight is done, and that criticism of the war like that coming from Kennedy will hurt the cause in the Middle East.
Kennedy's Monday speech details 13 reasons why Bush's policies have not made the United States safer from terrorism. Among other things, he said the war in Iraq created a new breeding ground for terrorists, distracted from efforts to eliminate al-Qaida, alienated America's allies and allowed North Korea and Iran to pursue nuclear weapons.

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