Biden: Bush's Policies are Meant to Delay Chaos in Iraq Until He Leaves Office

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Democrat Joe Biden charged Tuesday that President Bush's policies in Iraq are designed to confuse voters and ensure that a chaotic end to the war is delayed until after he leaves office.

Biden pointed to the turmoil that accompanied the end of the Vietnam War, with Americans plucked from the roof of the U.S. Embassy as enemy troops poured into Saigon. He said Bush wants to avoid such a stain on the end of his presidency.

"They would not be the ones who would have to deal with the reality of picking people up off the roofs of the embassy," said Biden, a Delaware senator and presidential candidate.

Biden, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Congress will launch hearings on the Iraq war the first week it's back in session. He rejected Bush's assertion that an increase in the number of troops has improved the situation in Iraq.

Speaking at a news conference, Biden called for a diplomatic offensive that would reach out to major industrial nations as well as Iraq's neighbors.

"It's long past the time we make Iraq the world's problem, not our own," he said.

Earlier in the day, Bush defended his war strategy in a speech to veterans and warned that a withdrawal of troops would threaten the United States. But Biden said Democrats and Republicans have concluded that the president's Iraq policy is doomed - he compared it to the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

"The president continues to suffer from what I refer to as the Katrina complex," he said. "The Katrina complex is, ignore all the warnings, bad things happen, continue to follow the same bad, failed policy and things get worse and worse. That's exactly what this policy is doing to us."

Biden said a series of reports have refuted the claim that Iraq was somehow related to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"That should put to rest once and for all the false refrain that President Bush keeps repeating and repeated today," he said.