Nader Slams `Messianic Militarist' Bush: In Speech to Council on Foreign Relations

Says Bush Should Be Impeached

Wednesday, May 26, 2004, Page 7

Reported in Taipei Times

Ralph Nader, the independent candidate for president, condemned US President George W. Bush on Monday as a "messianic militarist" who should be impeached for pushing the nation into a war in Iraq "based on false pretenses."

Bush's actions "rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors," Nader said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan. He said Bush had exceeded his authority in the face of widespread opposition at home and abroad.

"The founding fathers did not want the declaration of war put in the hands of one man," he said, contending that US foreign policy goals were being hindered because the president tended to "talk like an out-of-control West Texas sheriff."

Nader said the White House should set a specific date before the end of this year to withdraw US troops. At the same time, he said he would advocate supervised polls in Iraq.

When pressed by the audience, Nader declined to provide more detail on what immediate steps could be taken to assure stability in the region if the US withdraws by the end of the year. But he criticized a resolution introduced by the US and Britain on Monday in the UN Security Council which would support a sovereign interim Iraqi government to take office by June 30. The White House had little credibility in making the proposal, he said, because the administration plans to build military bases in Iraq.

"We are the sovereigns," he said, adding that the bases will assure a permanent or long-term occupation.

People in Iraq need "a light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Nader, who in recent days has made conciliatory gestures toward the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry, made no direct reference to Kerry's position on Iraq, but made clear that he held a different view. Kerry is sharply critical of the Bush administration's handling of the war, but has said the US must retain and even increase its forces in Iraq while reaching out for more help from allies.

Nader also accused Bush of exaggerating the threat to the US of terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.

"To say that President Bush has exaggerated the threat of al-Qaeda is to trip into a political hornets' nest," he said. But he said it was time to ask whether the threat had been "exaggerated for a purpose."