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Senator Kerry Calls for Major Changes in US Policies in Iraq - 2004-04-18


President Bush used his weekly radio address to call for the extension of a controversial anti-terrorism law. His presumptive Democratic challenger in this year's election criticized the president's handling of Iraq.

The U.S. Patriot Act was one of the first legislative responses to the 2001 terrorist attacks. Congress removed barriers to information-sharing between law enforcement and intelligence agencies, while making it easier to conduct surveillance on suspected terrorists.

Concerns about the potential abuse of those broader policing powers have made the Patriot Act a campaign issue.

Some provisions of that law are set to expire next year, and President Bush says that would put the nation at risk.

"To abandon the Patriot Act would deprive law enforcement and intelligence officers of needed tools in the war on terror, and demonstrate willful blindness to a continuing threat," he said.

In the Democratic radio address, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry said the president's failure to internationalize efforts in Iraq has made America less safe.

While U.S. troops cannot retreat from Iraq in disarray, he said, staying the course there does not mean stubbornly holding to the wrong course.

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