View Full Version : Sen. Byrd says Americans lured into illegal war

05-22-03, 05:29 PM
Sen. Byrd says Americans lured into illegal war

By KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated Press
Last Updated 3:13 p.m. PDT Wednesday, May 21, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Robert Byrd says the Bush administration appeared to deceive the American people into launching an illegal, unprovoked attack on Saddam Hussein's government.
His remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday made for some of the toughest criticism of the Iraq war from Congress.

Referring to turmoil in postwar Iraq, Byrd, D-W.Va., said: "If the situation in Iraq is the result of liberation, we may have set the cause of freedom back 200 years."

Byrd's comments come at a time that Democrats are increasingly criticizing Bush's handling of the war's aftermath and the fight against terrorism.

In recent days, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina said "America's postwar policy has been confused and chaotic." Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said, "In Iraq, shock and awe is giving way to stumble and fumble."

Edwards and Lieberman are presidential candidates who supported the war. Byrd, 85, speaks as the Senate's most senior member and one of the strongest opponents of the war.

Earlier this month, he criticized Bush as a "desk-bound president who assumes the garb of a warrior" after Bush flew onto an aircraft carrier to declare an end of major fighting in Iraq.

In his speech Wednesday, Byrd stepped up the rhetoric.

"It appears to this senator that the American people may have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, in violation of long-standing international law, under false premises," Byrd said.

"There is ample evidence that the horrific events of Sept. 11 have been carefully manipulated to switch public focus from Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaida, who masterminded the Sept. 11th attacks, to Saddam Hussein who did not."

He said the administration's talk of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the war "has become more than embarrassing."

"It has raised serious questions about prevarication and the reckless use of power," he said. "Were our troops needlessly put at risk? Were countless Iraqi civilians killed and maimed when war was not really necessary? Was the American public deliberately misled? Was the world?"

He said the United States "appears to be pushing off Iraq's clamor for self-government."

"It is becoming all too clear that the smiling face of the U.S. as liberator is quickly assuming the scowl of an occupier," he said. "The image of the boot on the throat has replaced the beckoning hand of freedom."

Byrd also criticized his congressional colleagues, saying they haven't asked the tough questions, such as how many troops will have to stay in Iraq and how much it will cost.

"We cower in the shadows while false statements proliferate. We accept soft answers and shaky explanations because to demand the truth is hard, or unpopular, or may be politically costly," he said.

He said, "When it comes to shedding American blood ... nothing is worth that kind of lie - not oil, not revenge, not re-election, not somebody's grand pipe dream of a democratic domino theory" - a reference to the administration's hopes that Saddam's fall would trigger democratic reforms throughout the region.



05-22-03, 07:03 PM
Well, the President made a good case for war. I do not believe his intent was to deliberately deceive the American people. But when you are an eleced official from West Virginia wo is in his eighties, there are a lot of things that upset you.

05-22-03, 08:20 PM
Is jealously overruling reality in his mind?

His comments are good for a laugh though.

How any American could take what he says as meaningful is beyond me.

I think he needs a long vacation.