Edward Kennedy: Iraq has become President Bush's own Vietnam

From a speech by the US Senator from Massachusetts to the Brookings Institution, in Washington DC
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The Independent Online

The most important principle in any representative democracy is for the people to trust their government. If our leaders violate that trust, then all our words of hope and opportunity and progress and justice ring false in the ears of our people and the wider world, and our goals will never be achieved.

The most important principle in any representative democracy is for the people to trust their government. If our leaders violate that trust, then all our words of hope and opportunity and progress and justice ring false in the ears of our people and the wider world, and our goals will never be achieved.

Sadly this administration has failed to live up to basic standards of open and candid debate. They repeatedly invent "facts" to support their preconceived agenda - facts which administration officials knew or should have known were not true. This pattern has prevailed since President Bush's earliest days in office. As a result, this President has now created the largest credibility gap since Richard Nixon.

Tragically, in making the decision to go to war, the Bush Administration allowed its own stubborn ideology to trump the cold hard evidence that Iraq posed no immediate threat. They misled Congress and the American people because the administration knew that it could not obtain the consent of Congress for the war if all the facts were known.

The result is a massive and very dangerous crisis in our foreign policy. We have lost the respect of other nations in the world. Where do we go to get our respect back? How do we re-establish the working relationships we need with other countries to win the war on terrorism and advance the ideals we share? How can we possibly expect President Bush to do that? He's the problem, not the solution. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam.

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