Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a democrat, today defended Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s United Nations speech in which Chavez called President George Bush the devil. Harkin said the comments were “incendiary”, then went on to say, “Let me put it this way, I can understand the frustration, ah, and the anger of certain people around the world because of George Bush’s policies.” Harkin continued what has been frequent criticism of the president’s foreign policy.
Harkin says Bush came to office saying he wanted a new humility in foreign policy in reaching out to other countries, but Harkin says Bush’s actual policy has been heavy handed. Harkin says the anger against Bush is generated from the Iraq war, which Harkin says was “unnecessary.”
Harkin says, “We tend to forget that a few days after 9-1-1 thousands, thousands of Iranians marched in a candlelight procession in Teheran in support of the United States. Every Muslim country was basically on our side. Just think, in five years, President Bush has squandered all that.” Harkin says the U.S. has put billions of dollars into the Iraq war, when it could be helping poor countries with things like clean water, medical aid and education.