Kerry Rips Bush Over ‘Intolerance’ for Dissent
Sen. John F. Kerry accused the Bush administration on Saturday of stirring up a “spirit of intolerance” to suppress dissent over the war in Iraq.
The Massachusetts Democrat said the administration was targeting opponents of the war in much the same way he was attacked for protesting failed policies in Vietnam in the 1970s.
“Dismissing dissent is not only wrong but dangerous when America’s leadership is unwilling to admit mistakes, unwilling to engage in honest discussion, and unwilling to hold itself accountable for the consequences of decisions made without genuine disclosure or genuine debate,” Kerry said in a speech at Grinnell College.
“Although no one is being jailed today for speaking out against the war in Iraq, the spirit of intolerance for dissent has risen steadily, and the habit of labeling dissenters as unpatriotic has become the common currency of the politicians currently running our country,” he said.
During his Iowa visit, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee repeated his call for a deadline for U.S. troops to be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year. “The Iraqis have shown they only respond to deadlines. I think you’ve got to be tough here.”
Kerry first drew public attention 35 years ago when, as a decorated Navy veteran, he testified to Congress in opposition to the Vietnam War. Some fellow veterans criticized him then, and his opposition to that war has been a point of controversy throughout his political career.