President George W. Bush, battling a long slide in the polls and growing public doubts about the war in Iraq, fired back at Democratic critics who say he misused prewar intelligence to justify the March 2003 invasion.
"It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how the war began," Bush told military families at an Army depot near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania today. "More than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to remove Saddam Hussein from power."
"Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war," Bush said in a Veterans Day speech.
"These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgment related to Iraq's weapons programs," he said.
Bush went on the offensive after weeks of charges by Democrats including Senators John Rockefeller of West Virginia and John Kerry of Massachusetts that the White House overstated or manipulated intelligence.
Kerry today was quick to respond to Bush. "This administration misled a nation into war by cherry-picking intelligence and stretching the truth beyond recognition," he said in a statement. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said the speech was little more than "political attacks as his own political fortunes and credibility diminish."...
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