Sunday, October 22, 2006
AP: Arabic-speaking US diplomat calls Bush Iraq policy stupid & arrogant
By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 36 minutes ago
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Alberto Fernandez, right, a senior U.S. diplomat said the United States had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" inbut was now ready to talk with any group except Al-Qaida in Iraq to facilitate national reconciliation.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera television aired late Saturday, Fernandez, who is director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department, offered an unusually candid assessment of America's war in Iraq.
"We tried to do our best but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," he said.
"We are open to dialogue because we all know that, at the end of the day, the solution to the hell and the killings in Iraq is linked to an effective Iraqi national reconciliation," he said, speaking in Arabic from Washington. "The Iraqi government is convinced of this."
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, in Moscow with Secretary of State, later said that Fernandez disputes the description of his comments.
"What he says is, that is not an accurate reflection of what he said," McCormack said. Asked whether the Bush administration believes that history will show a record of arrogance or stupidity in Iraq, McCormack replied "No."
A senior Bush administration official questioned whether the remarks had been translated correctly. "Those comments obviously don't reflect our position," said the official, who asked not to be identified because a transcript had not been available for review.
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