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C-PALSY  February 2003

C-PALSY February 2003

Subject:

Fwd: Last Great Senatorial Orator?

From:

Jan Nottmeier <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

St. John's University Cerebral Palsy List

Date:

Sun, 23 Feb 2003 13:56:17 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (173 lines)

Here's something that was forwarded to me.  This seems interesting.    I do
not know wether to pass it on.  But here it goes.  You can always hit
delete.

Jan



Im so proud! We Stand Passively Mute
>
>by U.S. Senator Robert Byrd,
>delivered to the U.S. Senate
>
>To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human
>experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of
>battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of
>war.
>
>Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully
>silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the
>nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.
>
>We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own
>uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the
>editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of
>the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war.
>
>And this is no small conflagration we contemplate. This is no simple
>attempt to defang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it materializes,
>represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning
>point in the recent history of the world.
>
>This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary
>doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The
>doctrine of preemption -- the idea that the United States or any other
>nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening
>but may be threatening in the future -- is a radical new twist on the
>traditional idea of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of
>international law and the UN Charter. And it is being tested at a time of
>world-wide terrorism, making many countries around the globe wonder if they
>will soon be on our -- or some other nation's-- hit list. High level
>Administration figures recently refused to take nuclear weapons off of the
>table when discussing a possible attack against Iraq. What could be more
>destabilizing and unwise than this type of uncertainty, particularly in a
>world where globalism has tie the vital economic and security interests of
>many nations so closely together? There are huge cracks emerging in our
>time-honored alliances, and U.S. intentions are suddenly subject to
>damaging worldwide speculation. Anti-Americanism based on mistrust,
>misinformation, suspicion, and alarming rhetoric from U.S. leaders is
>fracturing the once solid alliance against global terrorism which existed
>after September 11.
>
>Here at home, people are warned of imminent terrorist attacks with little
>guidance as to when or where such attacks might occur. Family members are
>being called to active military duty, with no idea of the duration of their
>stay or what horrors they may face. Communities are being left with less
>than adequate police and fire protection. Other essential services are also
>short-staffed. The mood of the nation is grim. The economy is stumbling.
>Fuel prices are rising and may soon spike higher.
>
>This Administration, now in power for a little over two years, must be
>judged on its record. I believe that that record is dismal.
>
>In that scant two years, this Administration has squandered a large
>projected surplus of some $5.6 trillion over the next decade and taken us
>to projected deficits as far as the eye can see. This Administration's
>domestic policy has put many of our states in dire financial condition,
>under funding scores of essential programs for our people. This
>Administration has fostered policies which have slowed economic growth.
>This Administration has ignored urgent matters such as the crisis in health
>care for our elderly. This Administration has been slow to provide adequate
>funding for homeland security. This Administration has been reluctant to
>better protect our long and porous borders.
>
>In foreign policy, this Administration has failed to find Osama bin Laden.
>In fact, just yesterday we heard from him again marshaling his forces and
>urging them to kill. This Administration has split traditional alliances,
>possibly crippling, for all time, International order-keeping entities like
>the United Nations and NATO. This Administration has called into question
>the traditional worldwide perception of the United States as
>well-intentioned, peacekeeper. This Administration has turned the patient
>art of diplomacy into threats, labeling, and name calling of the sort that
>reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of our leaders,
>and which will have consequences for years to come.
>
>Calling heads of state pygmies, labeling whole countries as evil,
>denigrating powerful European allies as irrelevant -- these types of crude
>insensitivities can do our great nation no good. We may have massive
>military might, but we cannot fight a global war on terrorism alone. We
>need the cooperation and friendship of our time-honored allies as well as
>the newer found friends whom we can attract with our wealth. Our awesome
>military machine will do us little good if we suffer another devastating
>attack on our homeland which severely damages our economy. Our military
>manpower is already stretched thin and we will need the augmenting support
>of those nations who can supply troop strength, not just sign letters
>cheering us on.
>
>The war in Afghanistan has cost us $37 billion so far, yet there is
>evidence that terrorism may already be starting to regain its hold in that
>region. We have not found bin Laden, and unless we secure the peace in
>Afghanistan, the dark dens of terrorism may yet again flourish in that
>remote and devastated land.
>
>Pakistan as well is at risk of destabilizing forces. This
>Administration has not finished the first war against terrorism and yet it
>is eager to embark on another conflict with perils much greater than those
>in Afghanistan. Is our attention span that short? Have we not learned that
>after winning the war one must always secure the peace?
>
>And yet we hear little about the aftermath of war in Iraq. In the absence
>of plans, speculation abroad is rife. Will we seize Iraq's oil fields,
>becoming an occupying power which controls the price and supply of that
>nation's oil for the foreseeable future? To whom do we propose to hand the
>reigns of power after Saddam Hussein?
>
>Will our war inflame the Muslim world resulting in devastating attacks on
>Israel? Will Israel retaliate with its own nuclear arsenal? Will the
>Jordanian and Saudi Arabian governments be toppled by radicals, bolstered
>by Iran which has much closer ties to terrorism than Iraq?
>
>Could a disruption of the world's oil supply lead to a world-wide
>recession? Has our senselessly bellicose language and our callous disregard
>of the interests and opinions of other nations increased the global race to
>join the nuclear club and made proliferation an even more lucrative
>practice for nations which need the income?
>
>In only the space of two short years this reckless and arrogant
>Administration has initiated policies which may reap disastrous
>consequences for years.
>
>One can understand the anger and shock of any President after the savage
>attacks of September 11. One can appreciate the frustration of having only
>a shadow to chase and an amorphous, fleeting enemy on which it is nearly
>impossible to exact retribution.
>
>But to turn one's frustration and anger into the kind of extremely
>destabilizing and dangerous foreign policy debacle that the world is
>currently witnessing is inexcusable from any Administration charged with
>the awesome power and responsibility of guiding the destiny of the greatest
>superpower on the planet. Frankly many of the pronouncements made by this
>Administration are outrageous. There is no other word.
>
>Yet this chamber is hauntingly silent. On what is possibly the eve of
>horrific infliction of death and destruction on the population of the
>nation of Iraq -- a population, I might add, of which over 50% is under age
>15 -- this chamber is silent. On what is possibly only days before we send
>thousands of our own citizens to face unimagined horrors of chemical and
>biological warfare -- this chamber is silent. On the eve of what could
>possibly be a vicious terrorist attack in retaliation for our attack on
>Iraq, it is business as usual in the United States Senate.
>
>We are truly "sleepwalking through history." In my heart of hearts I pray
>that this great nation and its good and trusting citizens are not in for a
>rudest of awakenings.
>
>To engage in war is always to pick a wild card. And war must always be a
>last resort, not a first choice. I truly must question the judgment of any
>President who can say that a massive unprovoked military attack on a nation
>which is over 50% children is "in the highest moral traditions of our
>country". This war is not necessary at this time. Pressure appears to be
>having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake was to put ourselves in a corner
>so quickly. Our challenge is to now find a graceful way out of a box of our
>own making. Perhaps there is still a way if we allow more time.






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