Dean Cites Terror Alert As Vindication
NASHUA, N.H. – Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean on Friday cited the higher terror alert and the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq in arguing that he was right to say Saddam Hussein’s capture didn’t make America safer.
“They got all excited, but here we are,” Dean told a town-hall meeting. “We’ve lost 10 more troops and F-16s are escorting foreign passenger jets into our air space because we’re now more worried than we were before.”
Last month, Dean’s rivals assailed the front-runner when he said within a day of the Iraqi leader’s capture that his apprehension had not made the United States safer, a direct contradiction of President Bush.
Since then, the national terrorism alert has been raised to orange and U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq.
“I can assure you it’s not Saddam who’s threatening to bomb airplanes,” Dean said. “It’s al-Qaida. We’ve not paid attention to al-Qaida. We’ve spent $160 billion, lost over 400 servicemen, and wounded and permanently maimed over 2,000 people because we picked the wrong target.”
Dean said even though he opposed the Iraq war, his greatest fear now is that “this administration will pull out of Iraq too early for political reasons,” Dean said.
If that happens, al-Qaida will move into Iraq and become more powerful than ever.
“My fear is that the (Karl) Rove polls will tell him (Bush), ‘You’ve gotta get out, you’ve gotta get out,’ and he’ll start doing that,” Dean said, referring to Bush’s chief political adviser.