"Truth has a way of asserting itself despite all attempts to obscure it." ~ Senator Robert C. Byrd
Senator Robert C. Byrd was one of my heroes in the dark days of post 9/11 Bush-led America. I chronicled his words as I blogged from day to day at Iddybud. I'm sad to hear he has passed away and wanted to share some of the lines of his that I heard clearly when so many of my leaders seemed to be speaking in vague, cowed whispers. Senator Byrd gave us far more than whispers. Thank you, Senator Byrd. May you rest in peace.
"..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..."
"...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"..."
"'Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again, - - The eternal years of God are hers; But Error, wounded, writhes in pain, And dies among his worshippers.'
"...Was the American public deliberately misled? Was the world?"
"...Democracy and Freedom cannot be force fed at the point of an occupier's gun. To think otherwise is folly. One has to stop and ponder. How could we have been so impossibly naive?"
"..I contend that, through it all, the people know. The American people unfortunately are used to political shading, spin, and the usual chicanery they hear from public officials. They patiently tolerate it up to a point. But there is a line. It may seem to be drawn in invisible ink for a time, but eventually it will appear in dark colors, tinged with anger. When it comes to shedding American blood - - when it comes to wreaking havoc on civilians, on innocent men, women, and children, callous dissembling is not acceptable. Nothing is worth that kind of lie - - not oil, not revenge, not reelection, not somebody's grand pipedream of a democratic domino theory.
And mark my words, the calculated intimidation which we see so often of late by the "powers that be" will only keep the loyal opposition quiet for just so long. Because eventually, like it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall."
My Note - Senator Byrd had a way with words. I loved the use of the word "massaged" in this part of Senator Byrd's speech. It was quite colorful. [Iddybud blog]
"..Whether or not intelligence reports were bent, stretched, or massaged to make Iraq look like an imminent threat to the United States, it is clear that the Administration's rhetoric played upon the well-founded fear of the American public about future acts of terrorism. But, upon close examination, many of these statements have nothing to do with intelligence, because they are at root just sound bites based on conjecture. They are designed to prey on public fear."
"...I was quite surprised recently to hear some Senators take the position that this body is wasting its time in drafting and passing legislation which the president threatens to veto. Let me remind all who listen that the Congress legislates for the people, and has a Constitutional obligation to act independently from the White House. As Senators already know, there are three separate but equal branches of government.
The Constitution's Framers never considered a president to be the final arbiter of the public good. Whether the question relates to military, foreign, or domestic affairs a presidential veto threat is not the last word in what should become the law of our land. Those decisions are left to the representatives of the people, along with the power over the purse and other Constitutionally enumerated congressional powers.."
"Let the President issue his veto threats, but also let the Congress dutifully represent the will of the people."
"Members of Congress are elected to make laws based on sound public policy, not to capitulate to presidential threats. The Senate must never become a rubberstamp for any president."
"...members of Congress and officials of the Executive Branch have a duty to try to find common ground, especially when the issue is a violent and controversial war, with our troops in harms way every day. I shall hope for a more reasonable and more realistic tone from our President in the coming days. More light and less heat on this matter would truly be in the best interests of our troops and of our sorely divided country."
"...A hallmark of true leadership is the ability to admit when one is wrong and to learn from errors. Candidate George W. Bush spoke about the need for humility from a great and powerful nation. He said, "Let us reject the blinders of isolationism, just as we refuse the crown of empire. Let us not dominate others with our power -- or betray them with our indifference. And let us have an American foreign policy that reflects American character. The modesty of true strength. The humility of real greatness." It is time for the Bush administration to swallow its false pride and return to that philosophy of humility before it is too late."