Something which may shed some light on this discussion...direct from the Senate
floor, a while back....
Senate Remarks by Robert C. Byrd
March 19, 2003
"The Arrogance of Power"
I believe in this beautiful country. I have studied its roots and gloried in
the wisdom of its magnificent Constitution. I have marveled at the wisdom of
its founders and framers. Generation after generation of Americans has
understood the lofty ideals that underlie our great Republic. I have been
inspired by the story of their sacrifice and their strength.
But, today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months
with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of strong, yet
benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe,
our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned.
Instead of reasoning with those with whom we disagree, we demand obedience or
threaten recrimination. Instead of isolating Saddam Hussein, we seem to have
isolated ourselves. We proclaim a new doctrine of preemption which is
understood by few and feared by many. We say that the United States has the
right to turn its firepower on any corner of the globe which might be suspect
in the war on terrorism. We assert that right without the sanction of any
international body. As a result, the world has become a much more dangerous
We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance. We treat UN Security Council
members like ingrates who offend our princely dignity by lifting their heads
from the carpet. Valuable alliances are split. After war has ended, the
United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will
have to rebuild America's image around the globe.
The case this Administration tries to make to justify its fixation with war is
tainted by charges of falsified documents and circumstantial evidence. We
cannot convince the world of the necessity of this war for one simple reason.
This is a war of choice.
There is no credible information to connect Saddam Hussein to 9/11. The twin
towers fell because a world-wide terrorist group, Al Qaeda, with cells in over
60 nations, struck at our wealth and our influence by turning our own planes
into missiles, one of which would likely have slammed into the dome of this
beautiful Capitol except for the brave sacrifice of the passengers on board.
The brutality seen on September 11th and in other terrorist attacks we have
witnessed around the globe are the violent and desperate efforts by extremists
to stop the daily encroachment of western values upon their cultures. That is
what we fight. It is a force not confined to borders. It is a shadowy entity
with many faces, many names, and many addresses.
But, this Administration has directed all of the anger, fear, and grief which
emerged from the ashes of the twin towers and the twisted metal of the Pentagon
towards a tangible villain, one we can see and hate and attack. And villain he
is. But, he is the wrong villain. And this is the wrong war. If we attack
Saddam Hussein, we will probably drive him from power. But, the zeal of our
friends to assist our global war on terrorism may have already taken flight.
The general unease surrounding this war is not just due to "orange alert."
There is a pervasive sense of rush and risk and too many questions unanswered.
How long will we be in Iraq? What will be the cost? What is the ultimate
mission? How great is the danger at home? A pall has fallen over the Senate
Chamber. We avoid our solemn duty to debate the one topic on the minds of all
Americans, even while scores of thousands of our sons and daughters faithfully
do their duty in Iraq.
What is happening to this country? When did we become a nation which ignores
and berates our friends? When did we decide to risk undermining international
order by adopting a radical and doctrinaire approach to using our awesome
military might? How can we abandon diplomatic efforts when the turmoil in the
world cries out for diplomacy?
Why can this President not seem to see that America's true power lies not in
its will to intimidate, but in its ability to inspire?
War appears inevitable. But, I continue to hope that the cloud will lift.
Perhaps Saddam will yet turn tail and run. Perhaps reason will somehow still
prevail. I along with millions of Americans will pray for the safety of our
troops, for the innocent civilians in Iraq, and for the security of our
homeland. May God continue to bless the United States of America in the
troubled days ahead, and may we somehow recapture the vision which for the
present eludes us.