WarPosted by Julie on 2/18/03 at 09:10 (109640)
While I have been sleeping across the ocean, the discussion has taken a different turn, and tempers seem to have been fraying a bit. I think that is unfortunate. The issue before us - Iraq, and what to do about Saddam Hussein - is really too important to get sidetracked away from. Although my name wasn't included with Nancy's and Paula's in last night's general sneering at 'liberals' (probably because my first post on this matter, which questioned Paula's remark about the non-existence of Saddam's weapons, made me sound as though I am on the pro-war side, which I am not) I no longer feel I want to be involved by contributing my views, such as they are (they're still developing daily).
But here, for those of you willing to read a long post, is an extract from today's Guardian, from a speech by Robert Byrd, Democratic Senator for West Virginia, in the Senate on February 12 (coincidentally and maybe noteworthily, Lincoln's birthday).
I was impressed by it, and although some of you may have heard it or read it, I wanted to pass it on. I believe it is worth your serious thought (well, I wouldn't have spent an hour typing it out if I didn't, would I?) The whole speech (though what follows is about 95% of it) and other interesting articles can be found on http://www.guardian.co.uk .
Here is what Robert Byrd said to his fellow senators:
'To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. As this nation stands on the brink of battle, every American 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 atempt to lay out for our nation the pros and cons of this particular war. We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralysed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. And this is no small conflagration we contemplate. This is no simple attempt to defeat a villain. No, this coming battle, if it materialises, represents a turning point in US foreign policy. 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 pre-emption - the idea that the United States or any other nation can attack a nation that is not immediately threatening but may be in the future - is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self-defence. It appears to be in contravention of international law and the UN charter. And it is being tested at a time of worldwide 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 the table when discussing a possible attack against Iraq. What could be more destabilising than this type of uncertainty?
'There are huge cracks emerging in our alliances, and US intentions are suddenly subject to worldwide speculation. Anti-Americanism based on mistrust, misinformation, suspicion and alarming rhetoric from US leaders is fracturing the once-solid alliance against global terrorism which existed after September 11. Here at home, people are warned of terrorist attacks with little guidance as to when or where such attacks might occur. Family members are being called to active military duty, with no idea of what horrors they may face. The mood of the nation is grim. The economy is stumbling. Fuel prices are rising.
'This administration, now in power for a little over two years, must be judged on its record. This administration has squandered a projected surplus of some $5.6 trillion. 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 failed to find Osama bin Laden. This administration has split traditional alliances, possibly crippling for all time 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, labelling, and name-calling....
'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. This administration has not finished the first war against terrorism and yet it is eager to embark on another conflict. 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. Speculation abroad is rife. Will we seize Iraq's oil fields? To whom do we hand the reign of power after Saddam Hussein? Will our war result in attacks on Israel? Will Israel retaliate with its own nuclear arsenal? Has our bellicose language and our disregard of the interests of other nations increased the race to join the nuclear club?
'This reckless and arrogant administration has initiated policies which may reap disastrous consequences. One can understand the ahger and shock of any president after September 11. One can appreciate the frustration of having only 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 destabilising foreign policy that the world is currently witnessing is inexcusable. Many of the pronouncements made by this administration are outrageous. There is no other word.
'Yet on what is possibly the eve of horrific infliction of death and destruction on the population of the nation of Iraq - a population of which over 50% is under age 15 - this chamber is silent. On what is possibly only days before we send thousands off to face unimagined horrors of warfare - this chamber is silent. On the eve of what could possibly be a vicious terrorist attack in retalitation for our attack on Iraq, it is business as usual in the Senate. We are truly 'sleepwalking through history'.
'To engage a war is always to pick a wild card. And war must always be a last resort, not a first choice. This war is not necessary at this time. Pressure appears to be having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake was to put ourselves into a corner so quickly. Our challenge is now to find a graceful way out of a box of our own making. Perhaps there is still a way if we allow more time.'
Re: WarBev N on 2/18/03 at 11:54 (109661)
Julie, We only hope (and PRAY) that our goverment reads and heeds this. Bev
Re: Sen. Robert ByrdEd Davis, DPM on 2/18/03 at 14:40 (109700)
Senator Byrd is articulate but the speech is partisan. The budget surplus turning to a deficit is due to the recession and accordingly decreased tax revenues. I don't think it matters who the leaders of our country are on that particular issue.
What would Sen Byrd have done differently in Afghanistan? The campaign there was not a smashing success but, in the balance, it was more of a success than a failure. What does he suggest? He is critical but offers no alternatives.
Nothwithstanding his criticisms of Bush foreign policy, Clinton chose a policy in which he tried to buy his way out of every difficulty. He bought off the North Koreans with nuclear technology in 1993 and that bought us a nine year repreive but came back to bite us. Clinton squandered the opportunity to capture Bin Laden. Clinton also weakened our intelligence services. It is not possible to rebuild them overnight and one can hardly assess blame against the current administration for the fact Bin Laden has not been caught yet. We are not even sure if he is alive.
His concerns about our relationships with our allies are understandable. I don't think that permanent damage will occur. The French will always insist on asserting their independence and we will have obtained new stronger allies in Eastern Europe. The invasion of Iraq is not inevitable. We are currently in a holding pattern in which the pressure on Iraq is high. This is the period of time in which adequate concessions to avoid the conflict will occur or not. If the curent level of pressure did not exist we would see little progress from Iraq, little response from other nations and this discussion would probably not be taking place. Things are very tense at this juncture but that is, in part, intentional.
Robert Byrd never apologized for his role in the Klu Klux Klan -- we are still waiting.
Re: Sen. Robert ByrdEd Davis, DPM on 2/18/03 at 15:04 (109706)
I realize that I am going against my own advise with the last sentence which takes a shot at Robert Byrd. It is just that I am not very happy with paritsan politics, particularly at a time in which unity is needed on certain issues. I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican so I am annoyed when I see that occur on both sides of the 'isle.'
Re: Sen. Robert ByrdBGCPed on 2/18/03 at 17:56 (109725)
Right again Dr Ed. I was also sickened to see that a few weeks back Ted Kennedy and John Conyers tried to slide in a bill to 'change' part of the Terrorist Act. Since it was passed they have causght over 300 people trying to enter this country. Men that were tied to terror in some way and or bad criminal records. They claimed that it is profiling or picking on certain people.
A week later Ted Kennedy sent out an editorial to newspapers around the country blasting bush for making threats against Iraq regarding nuclear weapons. All he said was that he would not rule out their use if Saddam used mass chemical, nukes or some similar items. Teds logic was that Bush's could possibly encourage them to use these weapons (though they didnt have anything like that, no smoking gun, right?)
The most idiotic claim was that Bush was mean to make a threat against a country that didnt have nuclear weapons to fight back with..... S T U P I D
I did not make that up, I had to read it 2 times it was so asinine. That is the type of hipocrisy that makes me ill. He wants to let in some people easier cause he thinks it makes him look good i.e. buy votes, then he lectures Bush about possible making our country more dangerous by suggesting the use of nukes
BTW I didnt say Ted Kennedy was a big fat drunken idiot that lets women drown in his car while he runs back to a party
Re: Something everyone can doBrianG on 2/18/03 at 19:10 (109736)
I know that some of the readers here would like to contribute, to end this war on terrorism. Unfortunatly not everyone can join the service, or help in that way.
But, there is a way that we can all help, just by making a decision on where you will fill up your vehicle the next time you need gas. I have cut and pasted the following, which was sent to me by a good friend, who also happens to be a Vietnam Vet. It makes sense to me.
Thanks, I hope you agree, and pass it on also.
>We CAN buy gasoline that's not from Middle East. Why didn't George W.
>of this? Gas rationing in the 80's worked even though we grumbled about
>It might even be good for us!
>The Saudis are boycotting American goods. We should return the favor.
>interesting thought is to boycott their GAS. Every time you fill up the
>you can avoid putting more money into the coffers of Saudi Arabia. Just
>from gas companies that don't import their oil from the Saudis.
>Nothing is more frustrating than the feeling that every time I fill-up
>tank, I am sending my money to people who are trying to kill me, my
>and my friends. I thought it might be interesting for you to know which
>companies are the best to buy gas from and which major companies import
>Middle Eastern oil (for the period 9/1/00 - 8/31/01):
>Chevron/Texaco.............144,332,000 barrels Exxon
>If you do the math at $30/barrel, these imports amount to over $18
>Here are some large companies that do not import Middle Eastern oil:
>Sunoco............. ..0 barrels
>Conoco............. ..0 barrels
>Sinclair............... 0 barrels
>BP/Phillips......... 0 barrels
>All of this information is available from the Department of Energy and
>is required to state where they get their oil and how much they are
>importing.They report on a monthly basis. Keep this list in your car;
>it with friends. Stop paying for terrorism.............
>But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of gas
>It's really simple to do!! Now, don't wimp out at this point...keep
>and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!
>I'm sending this note to about thirty people. If each of you send it to
>least ten more (30 x 10 = 300)... and those 300 send it to at least ten
>(300 x 10 = 3,000) ... and so on, by the time the message reaches the
>generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION
>those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each,
>30 million people will have been contacted! If it
>goes one level further, you guessed it..... THREE HUNDRED MILLION
>Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. How much would all
>take? If each of us sends this e-mail out to ten more
>people within one day all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be
>within the next eight days
Re: Something everyone can doSuzanne D on 2/18/03 at 19:46 (109745)
Thanks for passing this along, Brian. I really didn't know that some of our large companies do not import oil from the Middle East. I will help by sharing this information.
Re: Something everyone can doEd Davis, DPM on 2/18/03 at 20:13 (109751)
Good information. We need to develop our domestic production capabilities including Alaskan oil if we are to effectively limit our dependence on foreign oil.
None of the companies that don't import Saudi oil have gas stations in my area (western WA state). Do you have any more names for those lists? We have a lot of Arco stations here. Most stations in my area are Texaco, Chevron, Shell and Arco.
Re: development of alternative energy helps the environment and lessens our dependence on Mideast oilEd Davis, DPM on 2/18/03 at 20:21 (109755)
For more information check out: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/environment/
Re: Safe nuclear power -- no waste byproducts, no military applicationsEd Davis, DPM on 2/18/03 at 20:28 (109756)
Long awaited -- development of nuclear fusion:
check out: http://www.energy.gov/HQPress/releases03/janpr/pr03026.htm
Finally -- an administration that is taking action on alternative energy.
Re: Environmentalism -- action vs. regulationEd Davis, DPM on 2/18/03 at 20:40 (109758)
There are two ways to approach environmental issues. Many focus on the additon of government regulations as the primary way to help the environment. Regulations are necessary but over-regulation is counter productive. Those who oppose over-regulation are viewed by some as being anti-environment. Pro-active policies to create new technologies will be more successful in the long term.
Re: Alaskan oil ??BrianG on 2/18/03 at 20:54 (109760)
Do you happen to know what happens to our oil from Alaska? I once heard that it is shipped to Japan, to help balance the trade. I don't know though, that could have been an urban legend.
Re: Something everyone can doNancy N on 2/18/03 at 22:10 (109766)
Since your post appeared to be a copy-and-paste from a mass emailing, I did some checking--I worked in tech support for many years and saw more email hoaxes than I can count, so I generally assume that's what they are until proven otherwise. Alas, this one is not for real. Looks like someone got hold of some real data and understood it just well enough to think they were on to something. Unfortunately, though, they didn't understand it well enough to pass it on correctly.
For more info, see the following well-respected urban legend sites (which are also good places to check any email forwards you get before passing them on):
Snopes has more detailed information than About.com does, including breakdowns by percentages and links to the Department of Energy sites that show exactly where our oil comes from.
Sorry. I wish it were real. :-/
Re: Alaskan oil ??BGCPed on 2/18/03 at 22:13 (109767)
Well the urban legend is alive and well. I hope this list of middle east oil v non mid east is accurate. I had this same list sent to me a year ago. I hope it is correct but I always question any chain email that asks to please forward to all your friends. If the info is, as it claims available very easily then maybe some net sleuth can locate it from a legit source.
If the list is true I would forward it all over. DR Ed you are on again, Alaska is a grand source for oil. It can be done very eco sound since that area is very tough and in fact more dangerous to the humans than the animals that inhabit the region.
If the US could tell the mideast to kiss off for 60% of our oil by drilling in Alaska there would still be complaints from certain groups.
We cant take over or stop a dictator murderous thug in the mideast, because we will be perceived as oil hungry cowboys (even though in the Kuwait conflict we didnt take any oil but Saddam burned several oil fields to create the biggest man made disaster)
We cant drill in Alaska because we may displace or bother some bears, even though we will raise the standard of many HUMANS. The rationale is a circular argument. You cant drill on our shores. You cant take it from a murderous region. You cant own an suv do to gas consumption,
Re: Alaskan oil ??Ed Davis, DPM on 2/18/03 at 23:06 (109770)
I have also heard that. I don't know the intricacies of oil transport and price but market forces will invariably determine where a commodity winds up. Despite that if the supply of Alaskan oil is significantly increased, more will potentially make it to the US.
Re: Sen. Robert ByrdJulie on 2/19/03 at 03:03 (109777)
You have missed the point (Ed and Brian). Pick holes from your fixed pro-administration positions if you wish, but at the core of Senator Byrd's speech was deep dismay at the lack of discussion and debate in the Senate while the inexorable march to war goes on and on. The same thing is happening in Britain - no Parliamentary debate, no consultation. It has divided the cabinet as well we Parliament, and it is destroying trust in our government as no doubt it is doing, perhaps less obviously, in yours.
You may think, Ed, that unity is more important than the democratic process, and clearly our leaders do too. But that is a dangerous road.
Re: Something everyone can doSharon W on 2/19/03 at 07:46 (109782)
Thanks for this! I will make a point of NOT buying middle eastern oil, too! What a great post!
Re: Something everyone can doKathy G on 2/19/03 at 08:33 (109789)
Well, I need to leave soon for an appointment so will have to read Julie's post in full later today. As for your's Brian, I think something we all can do, no matter from whom we buy our gasoline, is to try and conserve as much as possible. As the conservation chairman for the Junior Women's Club during the mid-70's, I became very involved with the issue. I still haven't gotten out of the habit of combining trips and mentally mapping out the logical map to follow so that I don't double-back and waste any gasoline. Seldom do I leave my house to go just one place. I also drive a car that gets 30 mpg and have a huge problem with all the SUV's on the road. Basically, I'm still practicing many of the conservation measures we all took up during the 'energy crisis'. It wasn't that much of an adjustment for me as my mother was an early conservationist and we were raised not to waste.
One thing I refuse to do, though, is freeze. My heat stays at 70 because I would ache all over and feel terrible if I lowered my thermostat. I remember Jimmy Carter and Mike Dukakis calling for those actions and I just thought, no way.
Urban legend or not, Brian, conservation is always a good thing, especially at this time! Thanks!
Re: Something everyone can doNancy N on 2/19/03 at 08:49 (109791)
Please see my post below, regarding the authenticity of this information. Unfortunately, it is not true (as most mass-emailings are not, and should not be passed on as such). Links for more information are in my other post.
Re: Something everyone can doJudyS on 2/19/03 at 11:25 (109825)
Thanks, Brian, for this terrific information. I'm a bit concerned though because not one of the companies listed who do not buy their oil from the Middle East is in California - which is where I am. I guess I'll have to do a bit of research on my own.
Re: Sen. Robert ByrdEd Davis, DPM on 2/19/03 at 21:52 (109934)
I do not follow the proceeding of the British government but there is copious debate and discussion in the US. We have C-Span and C-Span2 cable networks, one covers the floor of the House of Representatives and the other the Senate -- this is one hot topic that is heavily discussed. Please explain why you feel that there is insufficient debate in the US Congress.
Just because one agrees with Mr. Bush on this specific issue does not mean one has 'fixed pro-adminstration' positions. I did not vote for Mr. Bush and can give you a laundry list of areas where my opinions differ. This just happens to be the current topic of this board, let alone many discussion groups.
Re: Sen. Robert ByrdJulie on 2/20/03 at 04:52 (109969)
I can't explain why 'I feel' there is insufficient debate in the US Congress, because I don't follow its proceedings. I posted Robert Byrd's speech, which I thought was an excellent one, believing that he was stating the truth: that there has been no debate in the Senate. Is he wrong? Please tell me if he is.
About absence of debate in the British Parliament there is no doubt. The Prime Minister and his government have allowed no time for a parliamentary debate. But feelings are strong amongst MPs of all parties, and even the cabinet is divided. The prevailing feeling amongst the British people, as evidenced in opinion poll after opinion poll, is that Tony Blair, in his evangelistic fervour, is not listening to people's views and is dragging the country willy nilly into war on George Bush's coat-tails. And they don't like it. The chances are quite good that this is the beginning of the end of Blair's political career. He has backed himself into a corner and taken the country with him against its wishes, and he fails to see either that he has done so, or that there may be a way out.
Re: Sen. Robert Byrdjohn h on 2/20/03 at 11:58 (110038)
The Congress debated vigorously some months ago the Iraq situation and voted unanimously to give the President authority to go to war with Iraq if necessary. The President needs no more authority than he currently has. Any Democrat with hopes of becoming President in the next election support the President publically on Iraq as not to support him would be the kiss of death in an election. Understand this, the majority of the American people support this President on Iraq. Yes, there are protest but there are always protest about any war. If shooting starts you can bet our Congress will line up 99.9% behind the President and the troops. Politics will end on this issue at that point. In watching the demonstrations I did not see one sign that said 'Saddam Give up your weapons of Mass Destruction'.
Re: Sen. Robert ByrdEd Davis, DPM on 2/20/03 at 12:03 (110040)
As John stated, the issues were formally debated previously in the senate with discussions ongoing. Plenty has been said in the US recently and cumulatively on the issue. I am a bit surprised if things are so different in that respect in Britain.
Re: WarEd Davis, DPM on 3/11/03 at 20:55 (112602)
The New York Post
Ronald Radosh, New York Post, 2/19/03
The anti-war movement has not only been marching. It has been busy sending out mass e-mailings of Sen. Robert Byrd's remarks last week to the U.S. Senate. Anti-war groups apparently find the West Virginia Democrat's speech the most eloquent statement of their beliefs and arguments. Yet it is striking similar to a speech by Ohio Republican Sen. Robert A. Taft's in May 1940 - a speech correctly viewed at the time as the epitome of isolationism.
Byrd gave his speech just as Secretary of State Colin Powell was presenting America's case to the U.N. Security Council, and Byrd clearly meant to give the Bush administration pause in its effort to gain international backing for military action against Saddam Hussein.
Taft gave his speech the month Nazi forces invaded Belgium, Holland and France; it was meant as a clarion call to those opposing President Franklin D. Roosevelt's efforts to aid America's friends. (Such isolationist sentiment in Congress, fortified by mass anti-war protests, forced FDR to rely on executive power to aid Britain as it fought on alone.)
In both cases, the opposing senators argued that the executive branch was moving America towards dictatorship, violating the norms of democratic policy - flouting international law and taking unnecessary measures that would actually harm national security.
No threat: What President Bush wants, Byrd argues, is to 'attack a nation that is not imminently threatening' but may be sometime in the future. An attack on Iraq would be completely 'unprovoked' and is completely 'not necessary at this time.' Moral pressure alone is having what he calls a 'good result in Iraq.'
Similarly, Taft told the Senate that Hitler and the Nazis were not a threat to the United States. (Acknowledging that Hitler might well defeat Britain and rule Europe by 'ruthless force,' Taft still felt that such an 'alternative seems preferable to present participation in a European war.')
Anti-democratic imperialism: If America moved to war, said Taft, the result would be 'more likely to destroy American democracy' than to defeat Hitler. FDR, he feared, would 'involve the United States in a war' and try to make it impossible for Congress to 'refuse to declare war.' Intervention was inherently flawed, Taft argued, because if the United States wished to 'protect the small democracies,' it would have to 'maintain a police force perpetually' in Europe. And that, he warned, would be 'imperialism.'
Dealing with Saddam Hussein, Byrd argues, 'is no simple attempt to defang a villain.' Rather, it is a 'turning point in U.S. foreign policy' and even of 'the recent history of the world.' What the president is doing, he suggested, is nothing less than embarking upon 'the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way,' the doctrine of 'preemption.'
Byrd and his fellows eschew the administration for avoiding diplomacy, for refusing to face questions about the war's aftermath and even for contemplating becoming an 'occupying power.' Or, as Taft argued in a 1942 letter, America was about to establish a 'world order' based on 'policing of the entire world.'
Lawbreakers: Then there's the flouting of international law, which Taft said, 'seems to have lost [its] importance.' Today, Byrd insists that the Bush administration is contravening 'international law,' with the unfortunate result that 'U.S. intentions are suddenly subject to damaging worldwide speculation.'
NO two eras are precisely the same. But the similarities are striking. Taft and his fellow isolationists persisted in viewing the threat to peace as coming only from their own president and nation. They denied the efficacy of viewing the Nazi regime as inherently evil. As the young historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. wrote in 1941, isolationist Republicans had 'harassed, sabotaged and obstructed the attempts of the Administration to work for the destruction of Nazism.'
Today, Sen. Byrd has not a word about Saddam Hussein's dangerous behavior. No, it is the Bush administration that has engaged in 'reckless and arrogant' policies, especially that of an 'extremely destabilizing and dangerous foreign-policy debacle,' one symbolized by pronouncements Byrd deems 'outrageous.' The president is wrong to engage in such acts as 'labeling whole countries as evil.'
By not protesting, Byrd concluded, the Senate and the country are 'sleepwalking through history.'
Yet, as Sen. John McCain pointed out in a Senate speech delivered two days after Byrd, containment of Iraq has failed: A policy that 'tolerates Saddam Hussein's threat by allowing him the means to achieve his ends is . . . an intellectual failure to come to grips with a grave and growing danger.'
We know what happened in the 1940s: The United States was forced to accept its responsibilities and answer the Nazi assault with a full-fledged war, destruction of the enemy and the institution of democratization in Europe.
The naysayers like Taft were proved wrong. Yet today their successors, like Sen. Robert Byrd, work to obstruct the efforts of the Bush administration to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein. Just who is sleepwalking through history?
Ronald Radosh is senior adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. This article is based on a White Paper Dr. Radosh is completing for FDD.
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Targeted by a History of Hatred
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No substitute for victory
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Re: Warjohn h on 3/13/03 at 11:00 (112750)
Senator Byrd has lost a couple of steps over the years. He is sort of the next Strom Thurmond and I really do not take him very seriously anymore. I would imagine he will be in office until he dies. He has and continues to lead all Senators in bringing 'pork' projects to his state. His judgement seems impared to me.