Robert Byrd, American Hero
May 22, 2003 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Robert Byrd speaks to the Senate, May 21, 2003 Regarding the situation in Iraq, it appears to this Senator that the American people may have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, in violation of long-standing International law, under false premises. There is ample evidence that the horrific events of September 11 have been carefully manipulated to switch public focus from Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda who masterminded the September 11th attacks, to Saddam Hussein who did not...

...We cower in the shadows while false statements proliferate. We accept soft answers and shaky explanations because to demand the truth is hard, or unpopular, or may be politically costly.

Words of wisdom from a senior US Senator.
posted by jasper411 (45 comments total)
 


Some..uh...not-so-wise words from Byrd.
posted by graventy at 12:26 PM on May 22, 2003




Wise words indeed. Good to know, too - here in the UK both left and right are keen to quote the dangersouly insane end of the political spectrum in the US, so news of more measured responses to the current situation rarely slip through.
posted by jack_mo at 12:37 PM on May 22, 2003


Similar (but not identical) analysis to Byrd's comes from Bob Graham:

"But if Graham is a dove, he's an extremely rare bird. He supported the first Gulf War, and only opposed the second one because he had a long list of countries he believed were more dangerous than Iraq, and didn't want to jack up the risk of terrorism for a low-priority target."

"Before September 11, Graham spent 10 hours a week on intelligence work, and terrorism was one of his top priorities. He had tried to push the CIA to focus much harder on human intelligence, but nobody had paid much attention. After September 11, intelligence took over his life, and terrorism was his only priority ..."
posted by sheauga at 12:51 PM on May 22, 2003


Interestingly, the Arrogance of Power is also the title of a pretty decent Nixon biography. A name I found fitting in that case.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:24 PM on May 22, 2003


*stirs bucket of tar, fluffs feather pillow*
is it time to run dub out of town on a rail yet? i don't want to miss that!
posted by quonsar at 1:30 PM on May 22, 2003


Boy Byrd sure has improved from his white sheet wearing days.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:33 PM on May 22, 2003


I'm no Senate historian but all those of you want to think that Byrd is the modern-day Henry Clay or Daniel Webster need to reach down carefully and get a grip. The only thing he's senior at is his presence on key committees, affording him the opportunity to become the undisputed master at wrangling funds from appropriations bills for pork barrel projects for West Virginia, at which he is, admittedly, adept.

One needs to be careful assuming that just because someone mouths statements that you agree with, that ipso facto they must have profound wisdom. Take a look at C-Span sometime when the good senator is holding forth and get a real sense of how he prattles on - it's embarrassing. He's about as ready for the Disney animatronics as Strom is.

Please. Really.
posted by Pressed Rat at 1:44 PM on May 22, 2003


graventy... you're right, his words weren't wise, they weren't politically correct, but they were certainly true. I heard someone say once, "There are white people and there are white trash, there are black people, and there are niggers..." It's true, and he didn't meant it in a racist way, don't be so sensitive.
posted by banished at 1:55 PM on May 22, 2003


Ohh and I don't think Byrd is especially eloquent or wise or anything, but I'm glad someone remembers the way this country was supposed to be, and I'm glad he's fighting for it.
posted by banished at 1:58 PM on May 22, 2003


Ad hominem attacks work by changing the subject of a discussion to a discussion about irrelevant characteristics of the speaker...

It was Byrd's words I was pointing to.
posted by jasper411 at 2:00 PM on May 22, 2003


Boy Byrd sure has improved from his white sheet wearing days.
posted by insomnyuk at 4:33 PM EST on May 22

Speaking of ad hominem attacks.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:10 PM on May 22, 2003


What pisses me off is that it takes an 85-year-old, pork-encrusted former Klansman to say this. Where the F*CK are the rest of the goddamned Democrats on this one? Hell, where are the principled Republicans?

Because Byrd is right on the money; the Iraq war may well be one of the worst instances of taking your eye off the ball in modern memory.
posted by kgasmart at 2:14 PM on May 22, 2003


Byrd WAS in the KKK and he did use the term "white niggers" fairly recently. Give me a fucking break, I hold no stock in anything he says, his vision of the good old days (based on the fact that he played a Confederate General in Gods and Generals) probably involves sitting on his porch sipping a mint julep and watching his slaves work the fields.
posted by insomnyuk at 2:16 PM on May 22, 2003


And one more thing, the only Republican to oppose Bush on principle on the war, the Patriot Act, and his out of control spending is Congressman Ron Paul.
posted by insomnyuk at 2:18 PM on May 22, 2003


While assessing the long-term implications of the war, Cordesman addresses U.S. force transformation and argues that successful strategies used during the war in Iraq have developed over time. "New tactics and technology used in the Iraqi War, and projected for future force transformation, have taken decades to evolve. If U.S. progress over the last 10 years seems remarkably fast, at least part of the reason is that so many foreign armies have stood still or regressed, and so many Americans forget or never knew the past history of current developments. In practice, America's 'new way of war' has been relatively conservative. It was never forced to sacrifice proven force elements before the new ones were ready, has mixed new and old methods of warfighting, and has been measured and pragmatic," states the report.
from Cordesman article.

In a review of van Crevelds book states:

The inability to achieve objectives can kill a soldier half to death, as in the case of the trench wars of World War I where no side could circle and trap the opponent to end the conflict; and today, terrorist present the same dilemma as they have not stationary base and so a rapid conflict decreases in effectiveness. But this much is sure Technology, information, strategy, and ideology combine to transform war and with this adaption - the war of the future is sure to materialize.

further...."The United Nations has more teeth than the League of Nations but Van Creveld neglects the intrinsic weakness of any collective security system in which governments cooperate on the basis of a curious mixture of idealism and self-interest. In the case of conflicting interests decisive action will only be taken if a powerful coalition of states is able to dictate policy. If this coalition does not exist, states either remain together on the basis of ambiguities leading to inertia or the dominant power ignores the Treaty."

van Crevald states in the end of 'The Transformation of War' that
"If low-intesity warfare is indeed the wave of the future, then strategy in the classical sense will disappear...This does not mean that technology has no role to play in the military future. what it means is a move away from today's large, expensive, powerful machines towards small, cheap gadgets capable of being manufactured in large numbers and used almost everywhere, much as , in the past, firearms replaced the knight and his cumbersome armor."


of taking your eye off the ball in modern memory.
is this a precise military term or even political?

Should it take a politician to represent ones own private views concerning these matters?. Bryd is a poor example for any "voice of dissent' concerning opposition to Iraq policies.
posted by clavdivs at 2:41 PM on May 22, 2003


To put Sen. Byrd aside for a moment and address the overall issue of the war, I note that when 9/11 took place, a major investigation was called for. That, recently completed, is not going to see the light of day.Bush has seen to that. And the man in charge of the CIA? well he is still in place after 9/11.

Now move on to the war in Iraq. We listed as a top reason the destruction of huge stockpiles of WMD. We thus far have found none or little. An intelligence failure of massive proportions, perhaps. And so the CIA, with the same man in charge, has appointed a group to look into this issue. And who will be this group? Well it will be retired CIA guys! Imagine Enron appointing former Enrol execs to look into the misconduct of Enron!

And it seems to me that should this group find the CIA wanting, the same guy will keep his top job and Bush will not allow the report to be released.

Byrd is the least of our problems.
posted by Postroad at 2:41 PM on May 22, 2003


, a major investigation was called for. That, recently completed, is not going to see the light of day
and why is that....

And the man in charge of the CIA? well he is still in place after 9/11. and this is because....?

Now move on to the war in Iraq. We listed as a top reason the destruction of huge stockpiles of WMD. We thus far have found none or little. An intelligence failure of massive proportions, perhaps....perhaps not. What better way to deny the opposition then deny him his important pretext for war. hence, saddam either had a scud sale or destroyed them.

And who will be this group? Well it will be retired CIA guys! Imagine Enron appointing former Enrol execs to look into the misconduct of Enron!
this is wrong on about 4 different levels.
posted by clavdivs at 3:13 PM on May 22, 2003


I note that when 9/11 took place, a major investigation was called for. That, recently completed, is not going to see the light of day.Bush has seen to that.

On that subject: Lawmakers Urge More Aggressive Sept. 11 Probe
posted by homunculus at 3:31 PM on May 22, 2003


his vision of the good old days (based on the fact that he played a Confederate General in Gods and Generals) probably involves sitting on his porch sipping a mint julep and watching his slaves work the fields.

First: You're basing "his vision of the good old days" on what role he played on a TV movie??

Second: West Virginia seceded from Virginia in 1863 because they didn't want to be part of the Confederacy. (Plantations don't make a whole lot of economic sense in WV -- the terrain and economics weren't suited for it. If I recall correctly, almost all the farms in WV at that time period were small, family-owned and -operated farms, with no slaves.)
posted by Vidiot at 3:40 PM on May 22, 2003


God bless Senator Byrd. Let's hope these words don't cause him to wake up and find himself dead soon.
posted by crunchland at 4:22 PM on May 22, 2003


only Republican to oppose Bush on principle on the war, the Patriot Act, and his out of control spending is Congressman Ron Paul.

That would be the same Ron Paul who ran for the Prez on the Libertarian ticket, right?
posted by rough ashlar at 4:49 PM on May 22, 2003


Yes, Ron Paul ran in 1994 for the Libertarian Party. It's pretty much been Harry Browne for the LP ever since.

First: You're basing "his vision of the good old days" on what role he played on a TV movie??

You're right, no one in the KKK would be pro-slavery. And it's not a TV movie. You are correct on the historical facts about West Virginia of course, but Byrd wasn't old enough to be part of WV's secession from Virginia. Ironic that Lincoln recognized that as legitimate but not the secession of entire states. Another thing about Byrd, he's one of the Senate's kings of pork barrel projects, it seems like everything in his damn state is named after him, from highways to bridges to hydroelectric dams.
posted by insomnyuk at 5:25 PM on May 22, 2003


Ironic that Lincoln recognized that as legitimate but not the secession of entire states.

that makes no sense at all. the two things are polar opposites - other states were seceeding from the union, quitting the united states. why would Lincoln possibly have opposed a portion of a state that wanted to stay in the union?
posted by quonsar at 5:55 PM on May 22, 2003


insomnyuk: you've commented four times in this thread and have yet to say anything about the subject at hand. you don't like Byrd. We get it. Now do you disagree with what he said in the article linked?

Note (to the community, not to insomnyuk): If any of us were throwing out ad hominems like that about Bush, we'd be run out of town as Bush-bashers.
posted by jpoulos at 5:57 PM on May 22, 2003


You're right, no one in the KKK would be pro-slavery.

I didn't say anything about the KKK. And sorry, I thought "Gods and Generals" was a TV movie; I guess it wasn't. But still -- you're ascribing motives and viewpoints to someone based on an acting role of theirs? That could get absurd really quickly.

Byrd wasn't old enough to be part of WV's secession from Virginia. Ironic that Lincoln recognized that as legitimate but not the secession of entire states.

That's true, but I really don't see what you're trying to get at here. My point was that plantations and slaves weren't part of West Virginia, and the vision that you ascribe to Byrd is at the very least geographically incorrect.

The Constitution does forbid states from seceding from other states, true. But this didn't prevent WV from seceding from VA because Virginia wasn't part of the Union at that time -- Virginia seceded from the Union, West Virginia seceded from Virginia and joined the Union. (I guess Lincoln was going for whatever support he could get. *grin*)

And yes, Byrd is correctly recognized as the "King of Pork." But c'mon, West Virginia certainly does need the money.

It would be interesting to see some sort of comparison of outgoing revenue to Washington versus incoming revenue from the federal government. Ideally, broken down by Congressional district. Anyone know if such a web page exists?
posted by Vidiot at 6:09 PM on May 22, 2003


Yeah, you got me. I don't like Byrd, but I do agree with what he said (which is why I didn't criticize his comments, I just don't think it's proper to call him an "American Hero" as the title of this comment page proclaims).

I found it really amusing to find this link prominently displayed on the Google ads on the side.
posted by insomnyuk at 6:10 PM on May 22, 2003


If any of us were throwing out ad hominems like that about Bush,

Oh please. It's much safer to be anti-bush than pro-bush on metafilter. Next you'll be telling me fox news is liberal.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 6:36 PM on May 22, 2003


So let's see if I get this straight - claims of ad hominem attack have become the forensic weapons of mass destruction in this community, thereby trumping all counterargument. You guys would get along well with Jesse Jackson. Jasper411, I agree that the words are eloquent, perhaps even valid in part or whole, not that I care to take the time to argue that now. The presumption that Byrd wrote them (as opposed to some staffer) is more than questionnable, as should be his motives. That is of course unless you don't want to look behind his curtain. Which brings us to my other point - the pervasive attitude that seems to prevail around here, i.e., the exponent of my partisan position is my friend - the opponent of my argument is my enemy.
posted by Pressed Rat at 8:06 PM on May 22, 2003


I don't care if Jimmy Swaggart is the only person speaking out, if he were in Congress he would at least have a voice. Klan membersip aside, the man is in a position of power, and he is basically the only one willing to use his voice to speak up for the most basic and compelling interests that the US has: fostering democracy, civil society and a true transparency in elected officials, thus protecting the constitution. Why do the deomcrats not want to win in 2004? Why are they not being contentious in the fucking least? Man, the "Pansy D's" could sure use some shrewdness, malice, and acumen. Who is willing to kick ass for democracy?

I just hope Byrd doesn't catch Wellstone's Disease.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:09 PM on May 22, 2003


Ohn yeah, I forgot to add:

I want fucking blood!
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:10 PM on May 22, 2003


Byrd has, at least, apologized for his remarks and his membership in the Klan, admitting both were wrong, which is much more than Strom Thurmond or Jesse Helms did--they neither repudiated nor apologized for the racist, segregationist parts of their respective political careers.
posted by y2karl at 9:42 PM on May 22, 2003


Looks like Byrd is more than just correct. In many ways he's being very kind with his statements, just as any true statesman would. Compared to the raw partisan politicians of the Newt Gingrich variety Byrd is blowing Bush a kiss.

And on the subject of Iraq, can you say quagmire? Mr. Lugar can.
posted by nofundy at 5:09 AM on May 23, 2003


That was this quagmire, was it not?
posted by y2karl at 6:11 AM on May 23, 2003


Next you'll be telling me fox news is liberal.

fox news is extremely liberal
in it's interpretation of "fact".
posted by quonsar at 6:27 AM on May 23, 2003


i wonder if the bushco cabal, with it's CIA goddaddy, has over the clinton years actually managed to blackmail every democrat of importance, ala j. edgar blowjob...
posted by quonsar at 6:32 AM on May 23, 2003


I heard someone say once, "There are white people and there are white trash, there are black people, and there are niggers..." It's true, and he didn't meant it in a racist way, don't be so sensitive.

Banished, this exact phrase is what every Klansman and racist from Tacoma to Tallahassee spews. Translation: "I don't hate individual black persons, I just hate coloreds in general, oh and ignorant, poor white people can get thrown in to the same general category." This exact horse shit statement is what I have had to listen to diatribes about by drunken, fucking moronic rednecks far too many times growing up in Alabama to just sit here and let that one slip passed unnoticed. That statement and any time anyone calls anyone nigger in a derogatory sense, particularly when they are in Congress is bigoted. It may not be "racist" in the sense that he was speaking about poor whites, that just makes it classist, however, when he uses a term used for blacks and uses it to point at a lesser people than himself, that is racist. "Nigger" means black person, equating shitty white people with "niggers" means to a Klansman that those shitty white people are as bad a black people. The fact that no one has said anything about the disgusting statement above until now makes me sick.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:26 AM on May 23, 2003


It would be interesting to see some sort of comparison of outgoing revenue to Washington versus incoming revenue from the federal government. Ideally, broken down by Congressional district. Anyone know if such a web page exists?

This breaks it down by state.
posted by PrinceValium at 7:50 AM on May 23, 2003


Interesting that, those numbers fail to mention how , for the most part, the richest states are the donors while the poorest are the recipients.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:00 AM on May 23, 2003


Pollomacho - I saw the statement and considered commenting, but there were a lot of comments in between and it since it was off-topic to the overall point of the FPP I thought it might be better to just let it set there as a testament to banished's thought process rather than smearing it all over the whole thread.

However, since you brought it back in, I'll give your comment an "amen" and add that it seems odd so few people recognize "white trash" as an epithet that slurs black people. It works on the exact same principle as "male nurse," where the noun is presumed to have one normative state and the adjective is added to indicate an exception to that norm. In other words, "white trash" clearly assumes "trash" to be black (which is how I heard it used while growing up among the "white trash" in small-town Ohio) unless it's modified with "white." So I'd advise people who think it's just a cute white-folks-ribbing term to stop and think before using it; its meaning is pretty much the same, and it's almost as offensive, as the phrase Byrd used.

Also, yeah, Byrd's comments and his half-a-century-ago Klan membership were reprehensible, but it does matter that he has apologized for and renounced both of these.
posted by soyjoy at 8:16 AM on May 23, 2003


update from the Cabal Observer:

There is no more serious opposition to the president by either a politician or private sector entity.

We have total control now.
please enjoy the ride.
posted by clavdivs at 9:48 AM on May 23, 2003


So can we call this thread "giving Bush the Byrd?"
posted by nofundy at 12:13 PM on May 23, 2003


All this, and yet I'd still bet anyone a buck that Bush gets re-elected.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:56 AM on May 24, 2003


All this, and yet I'd still bet anyone a buck that Bush gets re-elected

I'll take that bet.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 6:32 PM on May 24, 2003


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