Panhandle (W.Va.) Grassroots for Democracy

The Panhandle Grassroots for Democracy is working to improve our corner of eastern West Virginia, our state and our nation.

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Monday, April 04, 2005

Byrd was right

Editorial in today's Charleston Gazette gets it exactly right:

Before Washington plunged into the Iraq war, West Virginia’s Sen. Robert C. Byrd warned repeatedly that the White House had presented no clear evidence that the little country had any weapons of mass destruction — supposedly the reason for the invasion. But most of Congress ignored Byrd and approved the needless war.

Subsequent events have shown that Byrd was right all along — and this fact was underscored last week when a commission appointed by President Bush himself released a 618-page report that minced few words.

“On the brink of war, and in front of the whole world, the U.S. government asserted that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, had biological weapons and mobile biological weapon production facilities.... And not one bit of it could be confirmed when the war was over,” the report said.

The commission told the president: “The daily intelligence briefings given to you before the Iraq war were flawed.”

In other words, Byrd was correct, right from the start. He was correct in March 2003 when he asked:

“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 diplomacy when the turmoil in the world cries out for diplomacy?”

And Byrd was right when he warned: “I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of a 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.”

America should have paid closer attention to questions Byrd began asking in the fall of 2002. They still cry out for answers today.

Senator Byrd is too classy to scream from the roof of the Capitol building, "I told you so." But a lot of West Virginians should remember Byrd was correct and remember he tried to save thousands of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars of our treasury and our priceless reputation by warning against the Iraq invasion.


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