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Friday, 20 October 2006 06:02

DNC: The Real Stakes: RNC Ad Shows Desperate GOP

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NEWS RELEASE

The Real Stakes: RNC Ad Shows Desperate GOP

Washington, DC - Democrats denounced the RNC's latest fear and smear attack ad, as a desperate ploy to once again try to scare voters and distract from their failures on everything from the economy to the war in Iraq, their inability to handle a natural disaster, to the war on terror. Instead of offering voters any kind of positive vision for America, the RNC, realizing they have only repeated failures to run on, released a shameful ad invoking the image of despicable terrorists to scare the American people.

"Once again we see that the GOP will truly do and say anything regardless of whether or not it's true, they are so desperate to hold onto power. There is indeed a lot at stake in this election," said Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney. "The truth is that under the incompetent GOP leadership, led by President Bush who moved our special forces out of Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden is still on the loose and the Taliban is resurging in Afghanistan. And, under the GOP watch, our troops are pinned down in the middle of a civil war in Iraq, North Korea is testing nuclear weapons, and our troops still lack adequate body armor. Clearly Republicans are so afraid of their abysmal record they can't offer one example of what they've done to keep America safe. Democrats offer Americans a real plan to keep us safe at home and around the world that starts with tracking down the terrorists, not just more fear and smear attack ads."

THESE ARE THE REAL STAKES:

Osama bin Laden On The Loose

Bush Let Bin Laden Escape At Tora Bora. "The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge. ... After-action reviews, conducted privately inside and outside the military chain of command, describe the episode as a significant defeat for the United States." [Washington Post, 4/17/02]

Bush Pulled Out Special Operations Troops Hunting For Bin Laden To Prepare for Iraq War. In March 2002, "Bush decided to pull out most of the special operations troops and their CIA counterparts in the paramilitary division that were leading the hunt for bin Laden in Afghanistan to prepare for war in Iraq, said Flynt L. Leverett, then an expert on the Middle East at the National Security Council." [Washington Post, 9/10/06]

Bush Administration Closed CIA Unit Focused On Capture of bin Laden. The Central Intelligence Agency closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants. The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded in late 2005 and its analysts were reassigned. Michael Scheuer, a former senior CIA official who was the first head of the unit, said the move reflected a mistaken view within the agency that bin Laden was no longer the threat he once was. "This will clearly denigrate our operations against Al Qaeda," he said. "These days at the agency, bin Laden and Al Qaeda appear to be treated merely as first among equals." [New York Times, 7/4/06]

Troops Dying In Iraq

Eleven US Troops Killed. "Eleven more U.S. troops were slain in combat, the military said yesterday, putting October on track to be the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the siege of Fallujah nearly two years ago. In addition, Iraqi civilians are dying at a rate of 43 a day." [AP, 9/19/06]

Despite Bush Administration's Past Rhetoric, Coalition Death Toll Has Now Topped 3,000. "Early in the Iraq conflict, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed insurgents as 'dead-enders.' In 2004, President Bush said the battle against these fighters was 'turning a corner.' In 2005, he described a 'turning point,' and Vice President Dick Cheney said the insurgency was in its 'last throes.' Now, those descriptions lie buried beneath thousands of bodies -- U.S. troops, Iraqi police, and everyday citizens tortured and killed simply because of their religious sect. The U.S. death toll is well above 2,700, and the coalition death toll just passed 3,000. Last month 776 U.S. troops were wounded -- the highest number in nearly two years. There is no sign the insurgency is waning, and no evidence to suggest it will any time soon." [www.cnn.com, 10/17/06]

Iraq War Is Hindering The War On Terror

NIE Said Iraq Made Overall Terrorism Problem Worse. The National Intelligence Estimate "says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse." [New York Times, 9/24/06]

NIE: Iraq War Spread Jihad Ideology. An opening section of the report, "Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement," cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology. The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document. [New York Times, 9/24/06]

North Korea Testing Nuclear Weapons

North Korea Now Has Nuclear Weapons. In October 2006, North Korea tested a nuclear weapon. A report by the National Security Advisory Group issued in July of 2005 states that "North Korea's runaway nuclear program could be a direct path to nuclear terror...North Korea sells missiles and other dangerous technology worldwide, with no apparent limits or compunction...[the country's] leaders and elite engage in smuggling, counterfeiting, and other illicit activities. These same people might traffic in nuclear materials the way A.Q. Khan trafficked in Pakistan's nuclear technology." [Washington Post, 10/19/06; Worst Weapons in Worst Hands, The National Security Advisory Group, July 2005]

Experts Say Bush Administration Strategy Has Claimed Credit For Diplomatic Process But Failed to Take Any Responsibility for a Lack of Results. A report by the National Security Advisory Group issued in July of 2005 states that "Since 9/11, in the face of North Korea's runaway nuclear program, U.S. policymakers: did nothing as North Korea crossed redline after redline; claimed credit for diplomatic process (the Six-Party Talks) but have taken no responsibility for total lack of results; attempted to outsource the issue to China and then blame the failure on China; [and] tried to blame the Clinton administration, the administration that actually stopped plutonium production in North Korea." The report continues by saying that during the Clinton Administration, North Korea had no plutonium, but during the Bush Administration, North Korea has at least four to six nuclear weapons worth of plutonium. [Worst Weapons in Worst Hands, The National Security Advisory Group, July 2005]

Iran And Nuclear Weapons

Iran Pursuing Nuclear Arms Program. Iran hid its nuclear program for more than a dozen years from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear monitoring arm of the United Nations, and now the United States and Europe contend that Iran is pursuing an arms program. In January of 2006, Iran restarted its effort to make atomic fuel after negotiations with Britain, France and Germany over the fate of its atomic program broke down. [New York Times, 4/28/06; New York Times, 8/7/06]

Experts Say Bush Administration Strategy Emboldened Iranian Nuclear Program. The Bush Administration refused to negotiate with Iran for years, when the country was willing to make real concessions on its nuclear program. Just after the U.S. takeover of Baghdad in 2003, Iran proposed a dialogue with the United States. According to former senior director of the National Security Council, Flynt Leverett, the offer was "a serious effort." The Bush Administration's refusal to enter into talks, according to Middle East expert Trita Parsi, "strengthened the hands of those in Iran who believe that the only way to compel the United States to talk is not by sending peace offers, but by being a nuisance." [Washington Post, 6/18/06; American Prospect, June 2006]

Taliban Resurgence In Afghanistan

Violence On The Rise Over The Past Year In Afghanistan. "Hewing closely to a strategy used by Iraqi insurgents, Taliban militants are increasingly targeting top government officials in Afghanistan, which has seen a spike in assassinations and attempted killings the last six weeks. ... Violence has spiked alarmingly in Afghanistan this year, and insurgents have adopted tactics used in Iraq , such as roadside bombings and suicide attacks." [AP, 10/19/06]

NATO Commander: US Didn't Follow Through In Afghanistan. "The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan failed to follow through as it should have after ousting the Taliban government in 2001, setting the stage for this year's deadly resurgence, the NATO commander in the country said Tuesday. The mistake consisted of adopting 'a peacetime approach' too early, British Gen. David Richards told Pentagon reporters. He said the international community has six months to correct the problem before losing Afghan support, reiterating a warning he issued last week. 'The Taliban were defeated. . And it looked all pretty hunky-dory,' Richard said of the environment at the end of 2001. 'We thought it was all done . and didn't treat it as aggressively as . with the benefit of hindsight, we should have done.'" [AP, 10/17/06]

Our Troops Aren't Equipped

Pentagon Study Found That 80 Percent Of Marines Killed By Wounds To Upper Body Could Have Been Saved If They Had the Right Kind of Armor. A Pentagon study has found that as many as 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra body armor. Such armor has been available since 2003, but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials. [New York Times, 1/7/06]

Americans Still Aren't Safe At Home

Under Bush Republican Leadership, the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Have Not Been Properly Implemented. The 9/11 Commission gave the Bush Administration 5 F's and 12 D's on the implementation of the Commission's recommendations for homeland security. [Final Report on 9/11 Commission Recommendations, 12/05]

FIRST RESPONDERS: Emergency Preparedness Still Inadequate. The President's budget for 2007 proposed to cut $612 million from first responder grants and training programs. The budget cuts funding levels for programs designed to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by more than $1 billion compared to FY 2006, the Firefighters Grant Program was cut by 50 percent, and the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which trains first responders, was cut by 66 percent. In addition, the President's 2007 budget requested no funding to enhance interoperable communications. ["The State of Homeland Security, 2006" prepared by the Democratic Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security; 2/06]

NEWS RELEASE

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