Iraq policy could cost Bush election

What others say

Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2004

Disastrous Iraq policy is proving President George W. Bush's Achilles heel. It may eventually cost him his job at the Nov. 2 election.

Haunted by the mounting failings in Iraq and their repercussions on his re-election fortunes, Bush is desperate for a U-turn in Iraq which will convince skeptical Americans he did the right thing by invading and occupying the country. With his presidential race with Democratic challenger John Kerry snarled up in a dead heat, Bush is raising the stakes that Iraq will emerge as an epitome of widely hyped democracy in the Middle East. For this, he pins big hopes on elections due to be held in Iraq in January.

Unfortunately, the fate of the vote, the first since the ouster of Saddam Hussein, is hanging by a thread. American officials are split over whether the election will be partially or wholly staged in Iraq. The Bush administration seems at pains to pitch its policy to the Iraqis themselves in the hope of winning their hearts and minds. In doing this, Bush thinks, his Iraq mission will be accomplished. Iraqis, who have felt the brunt of the American occupation, are enticed by the prospect of political and economic liberalization. This prospect is, however, far from succeeding. Anti-American insurgency is mounting. It is expected to peak as the election schedule nears.

Egyptian Gazette, Cairo

Oct. 19

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