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Senator Reid Criticizes Bush As “Dangerously Incompetent” March 23, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Main, White House.
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LAS VEGAS (AP)–U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada called President George W. Bush “dangerously incompetent” on Wednesday and said the administration ought to be doing more to prevent increasing sectarian violence which he described as “low-grade civil war” in Iraq.

“Where is (Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice? Why isn’t she over in the Middle East, as the chief diplomat of this country should be, trying to get the political forces to form a government over there?” Reid told The Associated Press.

Rice is currently in the Bahamas to meet with 14 foreign ministers and the secretary-general of the Caribbean Community and Common Market, a regional trade bloc known as Caricom.

Reid said the U.S. was “failing three different ways in Iraq.” Military efforts have lagged, the economy is crippled by decreased oil production and frequent power outages, and attempts to form a national unity government are behind schedule, he said.

Criticism of Bush has been steadily increasing among Democrats and even fellow Republicans. With Bush’s poll numbers sliding because of the Iraq war, the much criticized effort by an Arab company to oversee operations at some U.S. ports and the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, many lawmakers are trying to distance themselves from the president as congressional elections draw closer.

While Bush has been speaking directly to Americans about the progress in Iraq through a series of recent appearances around the country, Reid lambasted that effort.

“Why isn’t he spending time with these leaders in the Middle East trying to get this government formed?” Reid said.

U.S. officials have stepped up pressure on Iraqi officials to form the new government – a process that has been largely stalled in the face of rising sectarian tensions that have left hundreds of Sunni and Shiite Muslims dead over the past few of weeks while raising the scepter of civil war in the country.

“I don’t know how you define civil war. We know they’re killing an average of 50 Iraqis a day. At least it’s a low-grade civil war, that’s for sure,” he said.

Reid also responded to comments the president made Tuesday when he said his successor in the White House would likely be responsible for deciding when U.S. troops leave Iraq.

“To me it shows how dangerously incompetent he is,” Reid said. “‘Stay the course, mission accomplished, bring ’em on,’ the American people are sick of that. We need to change course in Iraq… I think the president burying his head in the sand is not going to do the trick.”

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