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投稿者 木村愛二 日時 2004 年 7 月 29 日 21:46:17:CjMHiEP28ibKM








July 28, 2004

Kerry Says Work of the 9/11 Panel Should Continue

NORFOLK, Va., July 27 - _Senator John Kerry called Tuesday for an 18-month extension of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, sharpening his critique of President Bush's response to the panel's recent report by declaring, "backpedaling and going slow is something that America can't afford."

Escalating the political tussle over national security, Mr. Kerry, at a campaign rally in this Navy town, said the commission should stay in existence past its scheduled Aug. 26 expiration to monitor progress on its many recommendations and issue status reports.

"You can't treat the commission report as something you hope will go away," he said. "Leadership requires that we act now, not talk, not vague promises, not excuses."

At a base on the West Coast, Vice President Dick Cheney also showed how the book-length report had been thrust to the center of the campaign by invoking it to bolster the administration's case that the invasion of Iraq was an essential part of the fight against terrorists.

"This is an enemy, as the 9/11 commission reported last week, whose purpose 'is to rid the world of religious and political pluralism,' " Mr. Cheney told 2,500 marines and sailors at Camp Pendleton in California, many of them recently returned from Iraq, others on their way Tuesday morning. "This is not a foe we can reason with, or negotiate with, or appease. This is, to put it simply, an enemy that we must vanquish. And we will vanquish this enemy."

The back-and-forth came on the second day of the Democratic National Convention. It also came a day after President Bush convened a high-profile video conference on the report at his Texas ranch, as the commission and its report increasingly frame the debate over the campaign's most critical issue, national security.

Mr. Bush, whose case for re-election centers on his post-Sept. 11 leadership, originally opposed the commission's formation and participated only reluctantly in its deliberations.

Mr. Kerry embraced the commission from the beginning, and now argues that many of the ideas it endorsed, particularly the creation of an intelligence czar, would have been adopted long ago if he were in office.

Mr. Kerry's campaign seized on the White House's conflicting impulses toward the commission to turn a favorite Republican refrain accusing Mr. Kerry of flip-flopping, back on the opposition. The "Bush administration was against the proposed reforms before they were for them," said a memo sent out by the Kerry campaign.

The White House did not respond directly to Mr. Kerry's proposed extension of the commission, as President Bush continued consulting with top aides, including Condoleezza Rice, his national security adviser, and Andrew H. Card Jr., his chief of staff, on whether and how to adopt the recommendations.

Administration officials said a task force studying the panel's proposals, headed by Mr. Card, was focused on the immediate question of which recommendations could be enacted by executive order, and said drafting and other details might delay any announcement of such actions until next week. They said Mr. Bush would probably not make a final decision soon on the biggest issues on the table: whether to create a national intelligence director and whether to create a national counterterrorism center within the White House.

Those are two steps Mr. Kerry has long been advocating, and he said Tuesday that he would have taken them before the commission even finished its work.

"We understand the threat, we have a blueprint for action, we have the strength as a nation to do what has to be done," Mr. Kerry told hundreds of flag-waving Navy families in the shadow of a retired battleship outside a museum here. "The only thing we don't have is time. We need to do it now."

Since the release of the report warning that without a historic restructuring of the nation's intelligence agencies the United States would leave itself open to catastrophic attack, Mr. Kerry has seized on it at every opportunity. He embraced it at a news conference a day after it was released and waved it as he conducted interviews over the weekend on the eve of the convention. He sent a letter to commissioners supporting it and on Tuesday made it the centerpiece of his rally.

The call for an 18-month extension echoes calls by several commission members who want to continue their work. Al Felzenberg, a spokesman for the Republican chairman, Thomas H. Kean, said Mr. Kean "hoped there would be some way to continue to speak out and take our case to Congress and the American public."

Mr. Kerry said Tuesday that the commission should evolve from investigator to watchdog, issuing public status reports every six months starting in December on critical questions like, "Are we doing everything we can be to make America as safe as it can be?"

"This isn't about partisanship, it's about patriotism," Mr. Kerry said. "It's not about what was done or wasn't done, it's not about pointing fingers, but it is about winning a war upon which our future depends."

Mr. Cheney, too, has been carrying a copy of the commission's report with him this week on a West Coast campaign swing, and told supporters he had read about half of it.

"I think that you will find the report engrossing," he said in a rare question-and-answer session Monday night in Kennewick, Wash. "I don't agree with absolutely everything that is in it, but I think it is very well done." He added, "I think they deserve a lot of credit for having taken on a tough assignment, and they deserve our thanks."

Counterpunching against Mr. Kerry's contention that he would have acted faster than the administration, Mr. Cheney said the White House had already adopted some of the suggestions, like improving coordination between the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. by having representatives of both agencies brief the president together each morning.

But while the report is highly critical of the federal government's effectiveness in reacting to the attacks, Mr. Cheney frequently praises the emergency response that morning. And while Democrats seek to capitalize on the report's conclusions that there was little collaboration between Iraq and Al Qaeda to discredit the rationale for invading Iraq, Mr. Cheney continues to assert that the attacks made the war a necessity.

"President Bush is determined to remove threats before they arrive, instead of simply waiting for another attack on our country," he said at Camp Pendleton. "So America acted to end the regime of Saddam Hussein."

Congratulating the marines on Tuesday on what he described as a meaningful victory, Mr. Cheney said: "Sixteen months ago, Iraq was a gathering threat to the United States and the civilized world. Now it is a rising democracy, an ally in the war on terror, and the American people are safer for it.

"Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength," he added. "They are invited by the perception of weakness."

Monday night in Portland, Mr. Cheney described "a crucial difference" between the administration's approach to security questions and Mr. Kerry's, saying it was better to have American soldiers and sailors deployed overseas "taking on the terrorists in Afghanistan or Iraq" than to confront terrorists "here on the streets of our own cities with our firefighters and policemen and medical personnel."

But Mr. Kerry would not cede an inch on the issue, telling a crowd in Philadelphia Tuesday evening, "I will and I can fight a more effective war on terror than President Bush is." When he lands in Boston Wednesday, Mr. Kerry will be greeted by crewmates he commanded during the Vietnam War, riding a water taxi across Boston Harbor to a rally at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Here at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum on Tuesday, Mr. Kerry described himself as a "citizen soldier," and told the crowd, "you may take the uniform off but you never take it out of your heart or your gut."

The entire event overflowed with military flourishes: the Navy anthem, "Anchors Aweigh," welcomed Mr. Kerry to the microphone, rather than the usual rock music. Supporters waved small star-spangled banners instead of Kerry-Edwards signs. He was introduced, by a fellow Swift boat captain, Skip Barker, not as the next president of the United States but "our next commander in chief."

"When you end up putting your buddy in a stretcher to be helicoptered out, you inevitably have a question, 'Was it worth his life?' " Mr. Barker said as he recounted Mr. Kerry's time in combat. "John Kerry knows that question, it's part of his soul, and he will get that answer right before he sends my grandchildren and your grandchildren to war."

Jodi Wilgoren reported from Norfolk for this article and David D. Kirkpatrick from Camp Pendleton, Calif.


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電網速報『亜空間通信』(2001.09.01.創刊 2004.07.29.現在、839号発行済)

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