The Truth Will Emerge, by Robert Byrd
Source Michael Barrow
Date 03/05/24/01:54

Published on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 by  
The Truth Will Emerge  
by US Senator Robert Byrd
Senate Floor Remarks - May 21, 2003
"Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again, - -
The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,
And dies among his worshippers."

Truth has a way of asserting itself despite all
attempts to obscure it.  Distortion only serves to
derail it for a time.  No matter to what lengths we
humans may go to obfuscate facts or delude our
fellows, truth has a way of squeezing out through the
cracks, eventually.

But the danger is that at some point it may no longer
matter.  The danger is that damage is done before the
truth is widely realized.  The reality is that,
sometimes, it is easier to ignore uncomfortable facts
and go along with whatever distortion is currently in
vogue.  We see a lot of this today in politics.  I see
a lot of it -- more than I would ever have believed --
right on this Senate Floor.

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.
 The run up to our invasion of Iraq featured the
President and members of his cabinet invoking every
frightening image they could conjure, from mushroom
clouds, to buried caches of germ warfare, to drones
poised to deliver germ laden death in our major
cities.  We were treated to a heavy dose of
overstatement concerning Saddam Hussein's direct
threat to our freedoms.  The tactic was guaranteed to
provoke a sure reaction from a nation still suffering
from a combination of post traumatic stress and
justifiable anger after the attacks of 911.  It was
the exploitation of fear.  It was a placebo for the

Since the war's end, every subsequent revelation which
has seemed to refute the previous dire claims of the
Bush Administration has been brushed aside.  Instead
of addressing the contradictory evidence, the White
House deftly changes the subject.  No weapons of mass
destruction have yet turned up, but we are told that
they will in time.  Perhaps they yet will.  But, our
costly and destructive bunker busting attack on Iraq
seems to have proven, in the main, precisely the
opposite of what we were told was the urgent reason to
go in.  It seems also to have, for the present,
verified the assertions of Hans Blix and the
inspection team he led, which President Bush and
company so derided.  As Blix always said, a lot of
time will be needed to find such weapons, if they do,
indeed, exist.  Meanwhile Bin Laden is still on the
loose and Saddam Hussein has come up missing.

The Administration assured the U.S. public and the
world, over and over again, that an attack was
necessary to protect our people and the world from
terrorism.  It assiduously worked to alarm the public
and blur the faces of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin
Laden until they virtually became one.

What has become painfully clear in the aftermath of
war is that Iraq was no immediate threat to the U.S.
Ravaged by years of sanctions, Iraq did not even lift
an airplane against us.  Iraq's threatening
death-dealing fleet of unmanned drones about which we
heard so much morphed into one prototype made of
plywood and string.  Their missiles proved to be
outdated and of limited range.  Their army was quickly
overwhelmed by our technology and our well trained

Presently our loyal military personnel continue their
mission of diligently searching for WMD. They have so
far turned up only fertilizer, vacuum cleaners,
conventional weapons, and the occasional buried
swimming pool.  They are misused on such a mission and
they continue to be at grave risk.  But, the Bush
team's extensive hype of WMD in Iraq as justification
for a preemptive invasion  has become more than
embarrassing.  It has raised serious questions about
prevarication and the reckless use of power.  Were our
troops needlessly put at risk?  Were countless Iraqi
civilians killed and maimed when war was not really
necessary?  Was the American public deliberately
misled?  Was the world?  

What makes me cringe even more is the continued claim
that we are "liberators." The facts don't seem to
support the label we have so euphemistically attached
to ourselves.  True, we have unseated a brutal,
despicable despot, but "liberation" implies the follow
up of freedom, self-determination and a better life
for the common people.  In fact, if the situation in
Iraq is the result of "liberation," we may have set
the cause of freedom back 200 years.

Despite our high-blown claims of a better life for the
Iraqi people, water is scarce, and often foul,
electricity is a sometime thing, food is in short
supply, hospitals are stacked with the wounded and
maimed, historic treasures of the region and of the
Iraqi people have been looted, and nuclear material
may have been disseminated to heaven knows where,
while U.S. troops, on orders, looked on and guarded
the oil supply.

Meanwhile, lucrative contracts to rebuild Iraq's
infrastructure and refurbish its oil industry are
awarded to Administration cronies, without benefit of
competitive bidding, and the U.S. steadfastly resists
offers of U.N. assistance to participate.  Is there
any wonder that the real motives of the U.S.
government are the subject of worldwide speculation
and mistrust?

And in what may be the most damaging development, the
U.S. appears to be pushing off Iraq's clamor for
self-government.  Jay Garner has been summarily
replaced, and it is becoming all too clear that the
smiling face of the U.S. as liberator is quickly
assuming the scowl of an occupier.  The image of the
boot on the throat has replaced the beckoning hand of
freedom.  Chaos and rioting only exacerbate that
image, as U.S. soldiers try to sustain order in a land
ravaged by poverty and disease.  "Regime change" in
Iraq has so far meant anarchy, curbed only by an
occupying military force and a U.S. administrative
presence that is evasive about if and when it intends
to depart.

Democracy and Freedom cannot be force fed at the point
of an occupier's gun.  To think otherwise is folly.
One has to stop and ponder.  How could we have been so
impossibly naive?  How could we expect to easily plant
a clone of U.S. culture, values, and government in a
country so riven with religious, territorial, and
tribal rivalries, so suspicious of U.S. motives, and
so at odds with the galloping materialism which drives
the western-style economies?

As so many warned this Administration before it
launched its misguided war on Iraq, there is evidence
that our crack down in Iraq is likely to convince
1,000 new Bin Ladens to plan other horrors of the type
we have seen in the past several days.  Instead of
damaging the terrorists, we have given them new fuel
for their fury.  We did not complete our mission in
Afghanistan because we were so eager to attack Iraq.
Now it appears that Al Queda is back with a vengeance.
We have returned to orange alert in the U.S., and we
may well have destabilized the Mideast region, a
region we have never fully understood.  We have
alienated friends around the globe with our
dissembling and our haughty insistence on punishing
former friends who may not see things quite our way.  

The path of diplomacy and reason have gone out the
window to be replaced by force, unilateralism, and
punishment for transgressions.  I read most recently
with amazement our harsh castigation of Turkey, our
longtime friend and strategic ally.  It is astonishing
that our government is berating the new Turkish
government for conducting its affairs in accordance
with its own Constitution and its democratic

Indeed, we may have sparked a new international arms
race as countries move ahead to develop WMD as a last
ditch attempt to ward off a possible preemptive strike
from a newly belligerent U.S. which claims the right
to hit where it wants.  In fact, there is little to
constrain this President.  Congress, in what will go
down in history as its most unfortunate act, handed
away its power to declare war for the foreseeable
future and empowered this President to wage war at

As if that were not bad enough, members of Congress
are reluctant to ask questions which are begging to be
asked.  How long will we occupy Iraq?  We have already
heard disputes on the numbers of troops which will be
needed to retain order.  What is the truth?  How
costly will the occupation and rebuilding be?  No one
has given a straight answer.  How will we afford this
long-term massive commitment, fight terrorism at home,
address a serious crisis in domestic healthcare,
afford behemoth military spending and give away
billions in tax cuts amidst a deficit which has
climbed to over $340 billion for this year alone?  If
the President's tax cut passes it will be $400
billion.  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.  

But, I contend that, through it all, the people know.
The American people unfortunately are used to
political shading, spin, and the usual chicanery they
hear from public officials.  They patiently tolerate
it up to a point.  But there is a line.  It may seem
to be drawn in invisible ink for a time, but
eventually it will appear in dark colors, tinged with
anger.  When it comes to shedding American blood - -
when it comes to wreaking havoc on civilians, on
innocent men, women, and children, callous dissembling
is not acceptable.  Nothing is worth that kind of lie
- - not oil, not revenge, not reelection, not
somebody's grand pipedream of a democratic domino

And mark my words, the calculated intimidation which
we see so often of late by the "powers that be" will
only keep the loyal opposition quiet for just so long.
 Because eventually, like it always does, the truth
will emerge.  And when it does, this house of cards,
built of deceit, will fall.

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