September 22, 2002
Byrd Charges Bush's War
Plans Are A Coverup
By Paul J. Nyden
Charleston Gazette Staff Writer
Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., said President Bush's
plans to invade Iraq
are a conscious effort to distract public attention from
"This administration, all of a sudden, wants to go to
war with Iraq,"
Byrd said. "The [political] polls are dropping, the
has problems.... So all of a sudden we have this war
talk, war fervor,
the bugles of war, drums of war, clouds of war.
"Don't tell me that things suddenly went wrong. Back in
president had no plans.... Then all of a sudden this
country is going to
war," Byrd told the Senate on Friday.
"Are politicians talking about the domestic situation,
the stock market,
weaknesses in the economy, jobs that are being lost,
Byrd warned of another Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Passed
on Aug. 7, 1964,
that resolution handed President Lyndon Johnson broad
powers to escalate
the war in Vietnam, a conflict that cost 58,202 American
millions of Asian lives.
"Congress will be putting itself on the sidelines," Byrd
told the Senate.
"Nothing would please this president more than having
such a blank check
handed to him."
Byrd said his belief in the Constitution will prevent
him from voting for
Bush's war resolution. "But I am finding that the
irrelevant to people of this administration."
Byrd said, "Before the nation is committed to war,
before we send our
sons and daughters to battle in faraway lands, there are
questions that must be asked. To date, the answers from
administration have been less than satisfying."
Byrd repeatedly said Bush has failed to give members of
evidence about any immediate danger from Iraq. Byrd also
speech to the United Nations.
"Instead of offering compelling evidence that the Iraqi
regime had taken
steps to advance its weapons program, the president
offered the U.N. more
of a warning than an appeal for support.
"Instead of using the forum of the U.N. General Assembly
evidence and proof of his claims, the president
basically told the
nations of the world that you are either with me, or
against me," Byrd
"We must not be hell-bent on an invasion until we have
other possible option to assess and eliminate Iraq's
supposed weapons of
mass destruction program. We must not act alone. We must
have the support
of the world."
Byrd said Congress needs solid evidence and answers to
* Does Saddam Hussein pose an imminent threat to the
* Should the United States act alone?
* What would be the repercussions in the Middle East and
* How many civilians would die in Iraq?
* How many American forces would be involved?
* How do we afford this war?
* Will the U.S. respond with nuclear weapons if Saddam
chemical or biological weapons against U.S. soldiers?
* Does the U.S. have enough military and intelligence
resources to fight
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while mobilizing resources
attacks on our own shores?
Byrd said the proposed resolution Bush sent Congress on
Thursday would be
the "broadest possible grant of war powers to any
president in the
history of our Republic. The resolution is a direct
insult and an affront
to the powers given to Congress."
Byrd also criticized Bush's request for power to carry
attacks" and send troops to Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon,
Yemen, the West
Bank and anywhere else in the Middle East.
"I cannot believe the gall and the arrogance of the
White House in
requesting such a broad grant of war powers," Byrd said.
"This is the
worst kind of election-year politics."
Byrd, Robert (D - WV)
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