Tuesday, 20 March 2007

My Apologies to Senator Byrd

In a post on March 7, I lambasted the Senate for its silence back in February and March of 2003, when it had become apparent that Bush was determined to invade Iraq in spite of unfinished inspections by the UN, widespread global disapproval, and wealth of evidence that it was an awful idea. I cited Russell Feingold of Wisconsin as the sole voice of reason. Well after making essentially the same post yesterday at Watchblog, reader Phillipe called my attention to this speech by Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, which concludes:
... to turn one's frustration and anger into the kind of extremely destabilizing and dangerous foreign policy debacle that the world is currently witnessing is inexcusable from any Administration charged with the awesome power and responsibility of guiding the destiny of the greatest superpower on the planet. Frankly many of the pronouncements made by this Administration are outrageous. There is no other word.

Yet this chamber is hauntingly silent. On what is possibly the eve of horrific infliction of death and destruction on the population of the nation of Iraq -- a population, I might add, of which over 50% is under age 15 -- this chamber is silent. On what is possibly only days before we send thousands of our own citizens to face unimagined horrors of chemical and biological warfare -- this chamber is silent. On the eve of what could possibly be a vicious terrorist attack in retaliation for our attack on Iraq, it is business as usual in the United States Senate.

We are truly "sleepwalking through history." In my heart of hearts I pray that this great nation and its good and trusting citizens are not in for a rudest of awakenings.

To engage in war is always to pick a wild card. And war must always be a last resort, not a first choice. I truly must question the judgment of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked military attack on a nation which is over 50% children is "in the highest moral traditions of our country". This war is not necessary at this time. Pressure appears to be having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake was to put ourselves in a corner so quickly. Our challenge is to now find a graceful way out of a box of our own making. Perhaps there is still a way if we allow more time.

The whole speech is worth a read. Byrd was not some brilliant prognosticator -- he was merely stating the obvious. There are quite a few other Senators who should be hanging their heads in shame.

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