Monday, May 26, 2003

A voice in the wind. 

Senator Robert Byrd is a voice in the wind. Prophet-like he speaks a truth that few dare admit in this country. A war fought, thousands killed, based on lies, distortions and disinformation. Is anyone listening?

"We just fought a war that didn't need to be fought," he says, sitting on a white armchair in his Senate office. "There was no real justification for sending those 300,000 men and women to Iraq to fight. Contrary to what Mr. Bush tried to convince this nation of, Saddam Hussein did not constitute an imminent danger to this nation. . . . We've lost 145 men and women killed -- not a great number but too great a number. We didn't need to lose any of them. And we killed thousands of men and women and children in Iraq! Thousands of 'em! That was needless slaughter."

He pauses, but only long enough to draw sufficient breath to launch another verbal fusillade. "We have an administration that has projected this new doctrine of preemptive strike -- totally foreign, totally alien to our way of life -- and we're contemplating attacking other nations without provocation...

"And what is this binge we're on in defense spending?" he asks. "I'm a strong defense man. I supported Johnson and Nixon on Vietnam. I've supported strong defense ever since I got to Congress. But here they are, asking for $15 billion over last year. And last year was 15 percent over the previous year. And the previous year was 10 percent over the previous year. What do we want all this for? We're already spending more than the other 18 NATO nations combined, plus the eight rogue nations!"

He gets up, shuffles toward the door, a tiny, wizened man in a black three-piece suit. He stops, turns around.

"What are we gonna do with all this?" he asks. "What new worlds do they want to conquer now? We went through Iraq like a dose of salts. We were told by this president that Saddam Hussein constituted an imminent threat to our security. Bunk! That man couldn't even get a plane off the ground!"