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Senator Robert Byrd -- "we Stand Passively Mute"

Should we have removed Saddam in 1991? (Explain your answer)  

36 members have voted

  1. 1. Should we have removed Saddam in 1991? (Explain your answer)

    • No, because that fell outside the U.N. madates and the international coalition goal to simply remove him from Kuwait.
      6
    • No, because that would have confirmed Arab/Muslim fears about U.S. imperialism.
      2
    • No, because we then lacked the national will to fight longer and nation-build.
      3
    • No, because Saddam would have likely used WMD's to survive.
      1
    • No, because it was reasonable to believe at the time that Saddam's capacity for aggression had been destroyed.
      1
    • Yes, because our forces were already there and we knew we'd have to remove him at some point.
      11
    • Yes, because the respect of the Arab/Muslim world was not a valid consideration in our actions.
      5
    • Yes, because we should have known that simply removing Iraq from Kuwait and destroying their military was inadequate to contain Iraq.
      5
    • Yes, because Saddam would never have used WMD's against us, no matter what.
      1
    • Yes, because two military deployments are simply too expensive when one would do.
      2


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by US Senator Robert Byrd

Senate Floor Speech

We Stand Passively Mute

Wednesday 12 February 2003

"To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human

experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink

of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors

of war. Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously,

dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for

the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.

We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our

own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on

the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war.

And this is no small conflagration we contemplate. This is no simple

attempt to defang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it materializes,

represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in

the recent history of the world.

This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary

doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The

doctrine of preemption -- the idea that the United States or any other

nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently

threatening but may be threatening in the future -- is a radical new twist on thetraditional idea of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of

international law and the UN Charter. And it is being tested at a time

of world-wide terrorism, making many countries around the globe wonder if they will soon be on our -- or some other nation's -- hit list. High level

Administration figures recently refused to take nuclear weapons off of

the table when discussing a possible attack against Iraq. What could be

more destabilizing and unwise than this type of uncertainty, particularly

in a world where globalism has tied the vital economic and security

interests of many nations so closely together? There are huge cracks emerging in our time-honored alliances, and U.S. intentions are suddenly subject to damaging worldwide speculation. Anti-Americanism based on mistrust, misinformation, suspicion, and alarming rhetoric from U.S. leaders is fracturing the once solid alliance against global terrorism which existed after September 11.

Here at home, people are warned of imminent terrorist attacks with little

guidance as to when or where such attacks might occur. Family members

arebeing called to active military duty, with no idea of the duration of

their stay or what horrors they may face. Communities are being left with

less than adequate police and fire protection. Other essential services are

also short-staffed. The mood of the nation is grim. The economy is

stumbling. Fuel prices are rising and may soon spike higher. This Administration, now in power for a little over two years, must be

judged on its record. I believe that that record is dismal. In that scant two years, this Administration has squandered a large projected surplus of some $5.6 trillion over the next decade and taken us to projected deficits as far as the eye can see. This Administration's domestic policy has put many of our states in dire financial condition, under funding scores of essential programs for our people. This Administration has fostered policies which have slowed economic growth. This Administration has ignored urgent matters such as the crisis in health care for our elderly. This Administration has been slow to provide adequate funding for homeland security. This Administration has been reluctant to better protect our long and porous borders.

In foreign policy, this Administration has failed to find Osama bin

Laden. In fact, just yesterday we heard from him again marshaling his forces

and urging them to kill. This Administration has split traditional

alliances, possibly crippling, for all time, International order-keeping entities

like the United Nations and NATO. This Administration has called into question the traditional worldwide perception of the United States as

well-intentioned, peacekeeper. This Administration has turned the patient

art of diplomacy into threats, labeling, and name calling of the sort

that reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of our

leaders, and which will have consequences for years to come.

Calling heads of state pygmies, labeling whole countries as evil, denigrating powerful European allies as irrelevant -- these types of

crude insensitivities can do our great nation no good. We may have massive

military might, but we cannot fight a global war on terrorism alone.

We need the cooperation and friendship of our time-honored allies as well as

the newer found friends whom we can attract with our wealth. Our awesome

military machine will do us little good if we suffer another

devastating attack on our homeland which severely damages our economy. Our military manpower is already stretched thin and we will need the augmenting support of those nations who can supply troop strength, not just sign letters cheering us on.

The war in Afghanistan has cost us $37 billion so far, yet there is

evidence that terrorism may already be starting to regain its hold in that

region. We have not found bin Laden, and unless we secure the peace in

Afghanistan, the dark dens of terrorism may yet again flourish in that remote and devastated land. Pakistan as well is at risk of destabilizing forces. This

Administration has not finished the first war against terrorism and yet it is eager to embark on another conflict with perils much greater than those in

Afghanistan. Is our attention span that short? Have we not learned that after winning the war one must always secure the peace? And yet we hear little about the aftermath of war in Iraq. In the absence of

plans, speculation abroad is rife. Will we seize Iraq's oil fields,

becoming an occupying power which controls the price and supply of that

nation's oil for the foreseeable future? To whom do we propose to hand the reigns of power after Saddam Hussein? Will our war inflame the Muslim world resulting in devastating attacks on Israel? Will Israel retaliate with its own nuclear arsenal? Will the Jordanian and Saudi Arabian governments be toppled by radicals, bolstered by Iran which has much closer ties to terrorism than Iraq? Could a disruption of the world's oil supply lead to a world-wide

recession? Has our senselessly bellicose language and our callous disregard of the interests and opinions of other nations increased the global race to join the nuclear club and made proliferation an even more lucrative

practice for nations which need the income?

In only the space of two short years this reckless and arrogant

Administration has initiated policies which may reap disastrous

consequences for years. One can understand the anger and shock of any President after the savage attacks of September 11. One can appreciate the frustration of having only a shadow to chase and an amorphous, fleeting enemy on which it is nearly impossible to exact retribution. But 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

poss ibly be a vicious terrorist attack in retaliation for our attackon

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.

_____________________________________________________________ 

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IsntByrd the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a committee member since like 1960?

Makes him a pretty powerful voice I would think - whether or not you agree with his views.

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How can they speak when they gave away their right, as well as the peoples right to speak regarding waging war through their representatives Because of an unconstitutional resolution. No debate just one man against the world. Great, Just what our forefathers had in mind when they designed the constitution to protect our rights as well as the rests of the world from allowing one man to take the most powerful entity on the planet and do with it what ever he wants to any other nation soveriegn or not. Good grief Charlie Brown.

The way I look at it, Iraq is a UN issue for the moment. Are they harbouring terrorists sure who isn't. Has Iraq attacked this nation... no. Have they shot at our troops sure they have but when you are a policeman in a UN campaign that is the rist you take as an officer of the UN. Iraq is a country, The US is a country, no way should we attack them just because they are a threat, we have many threats. It would be like a gangster attacking someone because he is paranoid that he is going to be attacked by them... As far as I am concerned attacking Iraq at the moment with out the UN's consent and serious involvement makes us no better than Gangsters. We are out of order.

This is a UN resolution IRAQ violated not a United States resolution.

We may as well be vigilanties going in there with out The permission of the UN.

What have they done to us to warrant an attack. Nothing as Americans, but as UN officers plenty. We can only go in there as the UN not as the United States.

Due process has to take place. The UN was established to protect countries from being attacked by other countries. Bush is not the president of the UN or the world. Just because our representatives gave up their and our rights to be part of the decision of war it doesn't mean that the world has.

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Originally posted by The Evil Genius

IsntByrd the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a committee member since like 1960?

Makes him a pretty powerful voice I would think - whether or not you agree with his views.

He's a Democrat, which means he's chairing nothing. He's also one of the worst, if not the worst, politician in either party when it comes to pork barrell spending.

He can piss and moan all he wants, but the truth his that Bush has laid out a position and a rationale to support it, and the Dems simply can't come up with any good alternatives.

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Originally posted by The Evil Genius

edit..

What does pork barrel spending have to do with supporting/not supporting war with Iraq - or even in this example - debate over war with Iraq?

Nice try.

That's what I was wondering, but Senator Byrd attempted to make the link :) :
Here at home, people are warned of imminent terrorist attacks with little

guidance as to when or where such attacks might occur. Family members

arebeing called to active military duty, with no idea of the duration of

their stay or what horrors they may face. Communities are being left with

less than adequate police and fire protection. Other essential services are

also short-staffed. The mood of the nation is grim. The economy is

stumbling. Fuel prices are rising and may soon spike higher. This Administration, now in power for a little over two years, must be

judged on its record. I believe that that record is dismal. In that scant two years, this Administration has squandered a large projected surplus of some $5.6 trillion over the next decade and taken us to projected deficits as far as the eye can see. This Administration's domestic policy has put many of our states in dire financial condition, under funding scores of essential programs for our people. This Administration has fostered policies which have slowed economic growth. This Administration has ignored urgent matters such as the crisis in health care for our elderly. This Administration has been slow to provide adequate funding for homeland security. This Administration has been reluctant to better protect our long and porous borders.

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This was the point of my original post: this is a rant about the silence of the Senate Democrats in the face of Bush's leadership. This isn't really about Iraq, or the economy, or any other particular issue. It's about all of those things and more, and Byrd's frustration in the impotence of the Senate Democrats to find any issue that has any political traction for them.

So, as I said, the problem ultimately is that we just don't look to them nowadays for leadership - they offer none. :)

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Sorry Redman - I missed the point where he was only talking about silence among Dems - I thought he was calling out the entire Senate.

My mistake.

As for that last crack about the Dems not offering leadership - are we to expect that the party (you know, the other party - hint...not the DEMS) led by a man who was AWOL for over 1 year is to be seen as a leader?

Had I known more about his AWOL story - perhaps I wouldnt have voted for him.

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The war in Afghanistan has cost us $37 billion so far, yet there is

evidence that terrorism may already be starting to regain its hold in that

region. We have not found bin Laden, and unless we secure the peace in

Afghanistan, the dark dens of terrorism may yet again flourish in that remote and devastated land. Pakistan as well is at risk of destabilizing forces. This

Administration has not finished the first war against terrorism and yet it is eager to embark on another conflict with perils much greater than those in

Afghanistan. Is our attention span that short? Have we not learned that after winning the war one must always secure the peace? And yet we hear little about the aftermath of war in Iraq.

If that's not something to chew on then I'm going on a diet.

Now we're prepared to spend billions more on another war and what guarantee is there that we'll be able to take out Saddam? Our record thus far is 0 - 1.

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0-1?

We lost the battle sept. 11. Since then there have been over 140 (I believe this comes from SOU address by bush) thwarted terrorist attacks. Our foothold via afghanistan has been a major part of that.

Have we given up on afghanistan though? Just because the media isn't talking about it, I can't believe this administration isn't still focused on afghanistan. What does he mean when he sais that terrorism still has a foothold there? Until an adequate infrastructure is built in afghanistan there will be terrorism, that's why it is so important that we did what we did. HAve we stopped supplying the afghanis with protection? We still have many troops on the ground there.

Does anyone have any info on current afghani news?

-DB

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the humor on this board knows no end!!!!!

forget that part of the world...what about this part....you know the land where the dems held funding up for HLS over parochial union matters, the same land where the dems have no plan, no leadership, no new ideas for national security........the same place where delusional democrats confuse manipulations of off the books ss trust fund moneys with solid deficit management by the past president.......byrd supports the peace all right....right up to the moment moneys earmarked for his corrupt little empire in WV might be diverted........Bush could very well be a simple-minded leader as you followers might have us believe....but he's still infintely better than anyone the dems have to offer.

come on guys....you can do better than this! but securing the peace is a great idea......let's pull some bucks out of federally supported abortion funding to cover it!!!!!

since mr byrd has a special vision......someone please find his plan and post it for us........either the terrorist enemy is implacable or not....if it is then there is only one course to follow.......but as denis miller said to donahue last night (paraphrasing)......"this is a free country. and you are free to miss the point."

btw......the 57 slide conspiracy post many of us were previously directed to had one interesting side item: OBL is much sicker than imagined. absent modern hospital care....he may very well be dead at this point........

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Why did OJ Simpson want to move to West Virginia? Everyone has the same DNA.

Byrd is a steaming pile of dung. At the moment he and his pals are doing their best to ramble on endlessly as they phyllabuster conformation of our presidents judicial nomination.

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Fansince,

His corrupt little empire in WV? This I have to hear. Where would this corrupt evil empire exist? Is the hole known as Charleston?

Prove to me that he is doing nothing different that any other Senator who has 10 years plus service.

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Originally posted by The Evil Genius

Sorry Redman - I missed the point where he was only talking about silence among Dems - I thought he was calling out the entire Senate.

My mistake.

Sarcasm noted. Do you really think Robert Byrd expects Republicans to attack Bush, or is he just couching his frustration in terms that attack the Senate to disguise criticism of his own party?

You sound about as frustrated as he does! :laugh:

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In a way Byrd is right. They should be talking and or debating about something. They should be discussing the exit policy. How long will american troops remain in Iraq as nation builders? How much will this cost? Will all the Iraqi oil money be spent on reconstructing there nation and rebuilding. Will any of the Iraqi oil money help to defray the cost of this operation? How will they help the Iraqi's form there own government? I could go on for awhile, but I think you get my point.

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Originally posted by redman

Sarcasm noted. Do you really think Robert Byrd expects Republicans to attack Bush, or is he just couching his frustration in terms that attack the Senate to disguise criticism of his own party?

You sound about as frustrated as he does! :laugh:

Actually, I think he is trying to point out that the Senate should be debating the issue - rather than playing the part of lemmings.

I support the war agenda - Mr Powell further convinced me of the need.

That said - there should be debate - from both the Dems and the GOPers. But the sad fact is - I bet you there are tons of GOPers who would love to debate Bush strategies - but dont - because they dont want to be blacklisted.

Its sad. But 9/11 did squelch any chance for us to be truly American.

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Originally posted by The Evil Genius

Actually, I think he is trying to point out that the Senate should be debating the issue - rather than playing the part of lemmings.

I support the war agenda - Mr Powell further convinced me of the need.

That said - there should be debate - from both the Dems and the GOPers. But the sad fact is - I bet you there are tons of GOPers who would love to debate Bush strategies - but dont - because they dont want to be blacklisted.

Its sad. But 9/11 did squelch any chance for us to be truly American.

TEG and t-t-g, you guys have to take the time to watch CSPAN's replays of the committee hearings that Tenet, Mueller, Rumsfeld and Powell have been testifying in over the last couple of days. They've been grilled plenty on everything from exit strategies, ignoring North Korea, ignoring terrorist and terrorism "blow back", etc. And these questions are coming quite often from both sides of the aisle.

Take heart, the checks and balances are working . . . which again makes Byrd's rant all the more funny for its transparent self-interest. He's pouting about his favorite pet programs - domestic spending - being ignored right now.

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Redman, If you have watched the Cspan replays. I have a question for you. Have they talked about how they plan to find and destroy the WMD stockpiles? I'd like to know how do they destroy all the different types of WMD?

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Originally posted by DrunkenBoxer

0-1?

-DB

By 0 - 1 I mean that we went in looking to take out Osama Bin Ladin and failed. Thus al Qaeda is alive and well.

And now we think we can go in and take out Saddam? Remove him from power yes, but eliminate him? Again, so far we're 0 -1.

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Kurp...the Al Queda command & control structure doesn't require OBL to survive.....that was built into their operational methods. as recent news aqccounts have detailed, much of the thinking and the go ahead orders were done/delivered by key lieutenants.

and please...whether OBL was captured/killed or not....shutting down the training camps and destabilizing the planning process (recall all the documenation and PC gear that was captured?)....already qualifies the war as a success. or are you suggesting that we should have permitted this to continue?

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Guest SkinsHokie Fan

What I love is how I never heard dems moan 3 years ago when Clinton decided to save the Kosovars and engage in policy in Bosnia. I guess we can help save Muslims in Europe but Democrats would rather have Muslims in the middle east suffer and perish at the hands of a ruthless dictator.

I simply cannot understand why people do not support this war. I can't understand why my fellow Muslims dont support this war. Even if Bush has other reasons for going to Iraq- so be it. We will rid the world of an evil tyrrant who will have the blood of more Muslims on his hands then America ever will.

I personally could care less if Cheney, Bush, Enron, Shell whoever profit from this war or make money. But if I can see 26 million of my Muslim brothers free from tyranny of an evil man I will support this war 100 percent. Is it our job? Mabey not. But if the silent majority of the Middle East decides to stay silent then I will back whoever can get the govt's of Iraq, Iran, Saudia Arabia, etc outta there and give those people some semblence of rights that our very Quran guranteed them.

Rant over

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take a look at environmental legislation in this country since at least the 70s and ask yourself how we landed up with manadatory scrubbing technologies that created a cost structure favoring high sulfur/particulate coals from the east as opposed to lower lower sulfur/particulate coals from the west. think there may have been some cynical, homegrown manipulation going on behind the scenes?

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Bush's campaign has been a success so far, But it has been at a considerable cost when you consider how nato is in it's worst shape ever. But the cost so far I fear is nothing compared to the cost it will have on us if he goes in without the World. As it stands an attack on Iraq to the seeming majority of the Arab Muslims is an attack on the whole Arab and Muslim community.

By the way who supplied Sadumb with his weapons of mass destruction? In the process of cleaning up our mess we are making a bigger one.:doh:

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