In an interview broadcast April 7 on NPR, Kerry defended Shiite imam Moqtada al-Sadr as a “legitimate voice” in Iraq, despite that fact that he is leading the current uprising that has thrown Iraq into chaos and killed several American troops. Kerry said that American attempts to arrest al-Sadr are unwise. Of al-Sadr’s newspaper, which was shut down by coalition forces last week after it urged violence against U.S. troops, Kerry said, “They shut a newspaper that belongs to a legitimate voice in Iraq.” Kerry then backtracked on the term “legitimate,” noting that al-Sadr has publicly aligned himself with terrorist groups Hamas and Hizbollah.
Kerry also stated that the June 30 transfer deadline “almost clearly has been affected by the election schedule in the United States of America.” He accused Bush of being asleep at the switch prior to 9-11: “I think there is such a clear disparity between the evidence as put forward so far by various witnesses, and all the public accounts of the President’s 30-day vacation in Crawford prior to September 11, and the lack of meetings and the lack of energy and urgency.”
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