Bush touts Afghanistan as model for Iraq

  1. Last Update: Wednesday, June 16, 2004. 5:55am (AEST)

    Bush touts Afghanistan as model for Iraq

    United States President George W Bush has lauded Afghanistan as a model for Iraq as he tried to paint the US involvement there as a success.

    With Afghan President Hamid Karzai at his side, Mr Bush listed strides in children's health care, women's rights and education as signs Afghanistan has been lifted up "from the ashes of two decades of war and oppression".

    "Out of, kind of, the desperate straits that the Afghan people found themselves is now a welcoming society beginning to grow," Mr Bush told a joint news conference with Mr Karzai in the White House Rose Garden.

    "And the same thing's going to happen in Iraq. These aren't easy tasks," he said.

    Mr Bush, seen as vulnerable on Iraq in the run-up to the November 2 US presidential election in which foreign policy could be a decisive issue, is eager to paint Afghanistan as a success despite escalating violence there.

    Mr Karzai is favoured to win a September election but concerns have mounted about worsening provincial violence and threats from the Taliban and allied Islamic militants.

    US Democrats have accused Bush of diverting needed attention and resources from Afghanistan with last year's war in Iraq.

    A US-led military campaign ousted Afghanistan's militant Islamist Taliban rulers from power in late 2001.

    An international peacekeeping force provides security for Mr Karzai's fragile government in Kabul but government control outside the capital is limited, with parts of the country in the grip of regional warlords and militant fighters.

    But Mr Karzai was in lockstep with Mr Bush in his portrayal of Afghanistan as a success story.

    He touted economic growth in the country of more than 25 per cent last year and projections this year of growth of 20 per cent.

    "This could not have been possible without your help, without America's assistance," Mr Karzai told President Bush.

    Although he did not specifically speak of a request for more US aid at the news conference, Mr Karzai told politicians earlier that democracy would require "sustaining and accelerating the reconstruction of Afghanistan through long-term commitment, and providing incentives to the private sector for investing in Afghanistan".

    The United States so far has committed about $US2.2 billion to rebuild Afghanistan, an amount some politicians have criticised as too low and a result of the Bush administration's emphasis on Iraq, where $US18.6 billion has been committed for reconstruction.

    "To succeed, we ask for your continued investment. Afghanistan is open for business and American companies are most welcome," said Mr Karzai, who cited the country's potential to produce hydro-electricity and reserves of minerals, oil, natural gas and coal.

    Without pledging anything specific, Mr Bush promised American support for the country's "journey to democracy and peace".

    At both the White House and on Capitol Hill, Mr Karzai lavished praise on the United States for toppling the Taliban.

    He said atrocities against the Afghan people under the Taliban "continued for many years and the world remained unengaged" until the September 11, 2001, attacks.

    "You came to Afghanistan to defeat terrorism and we Afghans welcomed and embraced you for the liberation of our country," Mr Karzai said on Capitol Hill.

    The Afghan leader received several ovations at a joint meeting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    -- Reuters
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems...6/s1132629.htm
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   elkpark
    Boy, Shrub must be feeling pretty desperate these days, huh? :chuckle
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Oh Good Grief!
  5. by   Mkue
    I saw the speech at the joint meeting. The Afghan leader was very uplifting and optimistic, an excellent speech.
  6. by   mattsmom81
    The President of Afghanistan made a point after the recent G8 Summit to go some specific military bases so he could thank the soldiers that helped liberate his country. He specifically asked Homeland Security to arrange this visit, as he personally wished to do this. There wasn't pomp and circumstance nor was Bush involved...just a nice gesture I thought.

    Hopefully we have more stability in the area as a result of our efforts in Afghanistan. I'd like to think this will eventually happen in Iraq too; I feel stability in the middle east is important to our future.
  7. by   Mkue
    Quote from mattsmom81
    The President of Afghanistan made a point after the recent G8 Summit to go some specific military bases so he could thank the soldiers that helped liberate his country. He specifically asked Homeland Security to arrange this visit, as he personally wished to do this. There wasn't pomp and circumstance nor was Bush involved...just a nice gesture I thought.

    Hopefully we have more stability in the area as a result of our efforts in Afghanistan. I'd like to think this will eventually happen in Iraq too; I feel stability in the middle east is important to our future.
    I didn't know that the Afghan President visited specific military bases to thank soldiers, it was a nice gesture.
  8. by   fergus51
    I am hopeful Afghanistan can BECOME an example. I don't think it is one yet. It has made a lot of progress, but we all know if foreign troops pulled out tomorrow, Hamid Karzai wouldn't last 30 seconds.
  9. by   roxannekkb
    I certainly hope that Afghanistan is NOT the future of Iraq. Karzai's power extends to about the borders of Kabul. Most of the country is back under the control of warlords, and the Taliban are getting back in business. Women's right are better, in Kabul, but in much of the country, it hasn't changed for them.

    We had a great opportunity to help Afghanistan get back on its feet, and make progress, and really work towards controlling terrorism, but instead, Dubya moved on to bigger and better conquests. Afghanistan has no oil, so what's the point?

    Perhaps maybe Dubya should consider the history of Afghanistan. Things really fell apart there when they were invaded by a foreign army, the Russians. There was relentless stiff resistance to the Russian occupation, and they finally got out of there. That invasion led to complete turmoil in the aftermath, with the rise of the Taliban. And up until 9/11, the Bush administration was complimenting the Taliban for getting rid of the poppy crop!

    Now let's look at Iraq. They too, were invaded by a foreign army, and now there is strong resistance to the invaders and occupiers. A breakdown of law and order, ethnic squabbles, and so on. Do we see a repeat of history going on here?

    I really feel sorry for Bush because he is just so stupid and pathetic, but then again, this situation is so dire--and all because of one man's arrogance and ignorance.
  10. by   elkpark
    I certainly hope that Afghanistan is NOT the future of Iraq. Karzai's power extends to about the borders of Kabul. Most of the country is back under the control of warlords, and the Taliban are getting back in business. Women's right are better, in Kabul, but in much of the country, it hasn't changed for them.

    We had a great opportunity to help Afghanistan get back on its feet, and make progress, and really work towards controlling terrorism, but instead, Dubya moved on to bigger and better conquests. Afghanistan has no oil, so what's the point?

    Perhaps maybe Dubya should consider the history of Afghanistan. Things really fell apart there when they were invaded by a foreign army, the Russians. There was relentless stiff resistance to the Russian occupation, and they finally got out of there. That invasion led to complete turmoil in the aftermath, with the rise of the Taliban. And up until 9/11, the Bush administration was complimenting the Taliban for getting rid of the poppy crop!

    Now let's look at Iraq. They too, were invaded by a foreign army, and now there is strong resistance to the invaders and occupiers. A breakdown of law and order, ethnic squabbles, and so on. Do we see a repeat of history going on here?

    I really feel sorry for Bush because he is just so stupid and pathetic, but then again, this situation is so dire--and all because of one man's arrogance and ignorance.
    I have heard the same reported repeatedly -- that Karzai is really more the "mayor of Kabul" than president of Afghanistan. He doesn't control anything beyond the city borders, and he wouldn't even be doing that -- he'd be DEAD -- if it weren't for US security around him at all times. And that things in the rest of the country are not really any different than they were before we bombed them back into the stone age, including that the Taliban is reorganizing and regaining power.

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