Monday, June 02, 2008

October 2002

In perhaps his finest moment, Robert Byrd, Senator from West Virginia, spoke at length in the Senate against the resolution to authorize the use of force in Iraq. Byrd accused his fellow Senators of abdicating their Constitutional duties by turning over to the Executive the power, unilaterally, to decide when to commit America to war.

Part of that speech, remembered here, as Senator Byrd is hospitalized tonight in Virginia:

...the Senate is rushing to vote on whether to declare war on Iraq without pausing to ask why. We don't have time to ask why. We don't have time to get the answers to that question why. Why is war being dealt with not as a last resort but as a first resort? Why is Congress being pressured to act now? As of today, I believe 33 days before a general election when a third of the United States Senate and the entire House of Representatives are in the final highly politicized weeks of election campaign.

Why, as recently as Tuesday, Oct. 1, this past Tuesday, the president said he had not yet made up his mind. As late as last Tuesday he had not yet made up his mind about whether to go to war with Iraq. And yet Congress is being exhorted, is being importuned, is being adjured to give the president open-ended authority now. Give it to him now to exercise whenever he pleases in the event that he decides to invade Iraq. Where are we? Where are our senses?

Why is Congress elbowing past the president to authorize a military campaign that the president may or may not even decide to pursue?
Byrd failed to persuade many Democrats or Republicans, but I will always remember that he fought that good fight. I hope he is safe tonight and returns to good health swiftly.

posted at 9:46:00 PM by Neil

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