Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Bush's Iraqi policy cost US $200 bilion

President Bush's "go-it-alone policy in Iraq" cost America $200 billion that would have been better spent here at home, Sen. John Kerry said in Cincinnati Wednesday.

In a speech that aimed to forge his foreign and domestic platforms into a single message, Kerry said Bush's "wrong choices have led America in the wrong direction in Iraq, and they left America without the resources we need here at home."

About 600 invited Democrats, union members and veterans listened to the half-hour speech at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. "He doesn't believe America can be strong in the world while we also make progress here at home," Kerry said.

"He believes we have to choose one or the other. And that's a false choice - and I reject it", informs The Enquire.

Addressing Republican supporters in Iowa, Mr Cheney said: "If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating."

He added that if Mr Kerry became President, the country risked falling back into a pre-9/11 mindset where attacks were viewed as criminal acts and "that we’re not really at war".

Mr Kerry did not directly address Mr Cheney’s attack in yesterday’s speech, although his running mate, John Edwards, said the Vice-President had crossed the line in a way that was "un-American", reports Times On Line.

According to Indystar in that speech, Bush also suggested that Iraq might have nuclear weapons, as well as biological and chemical warfare capabilities - the "smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud," he said - and asserted that there had been "high-level contacts" between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein's regime.

Since then, those assertions have been discredited for lack of evidence.

Kerry said Wednesday that Iraq was now threatened by "rising instability, spreading violence (and) growing extremism."

But while Bush's rationales for war leave him open to challenge, it's Kerry's credibility on Iraq that's been at issue in recent months. Bush has been hammering Kerry for inconsistency on Iraq, keyed particularly to his two Senate votes.