Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Republican Congressman: Bush's war a costly mess

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A top Republican congressman has broken from his party in the final days of his House career, saying he believes the U.S. military assault on Iraq was unjustified and the situation there has deteriorated into ``a dangerous, costly mess.'

``I've reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that the inadequate intelligence and faulty conclusions are being revealed, that all things being considered, it was a mistake to launch that military action,' Rep. Doug Bereuter wrote in a letter to his constituents.

``Left unresolved for now is whether intelligence was intentionally misconstrued to justify military action,' he said.

Bereuter is a senior member of the House International Relations Committee and vice chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He is stepping down after 13 terms to become the president of the Asia Foundation effective Sept. 1.

``From the beginning of the conflict, it was doubtful that we for long would be seen as liberators, but instead increasingly as an occupying force,' he said. ``Now we are immersed in a dangerous, costly mess, and there is no easy and quick way to end our responsibilities in Iraq without creating bigger future problems in the region and, in general, in the Muslim world.'

Bereuter said as a result of the war, ``our country's reputation around the world has never been lower and our alliances are weakened.'

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