insider trading laws had been
in force in the 1980s when
President Bush was involved in
the oil business "then Bush
would be in prison
German minister of
Charleston, South Carolina, Saturday,
September 21, 2002
war plans are a cover-up, Byrd
By Paul J. Nyden, STAFF WRITER
SEN. ROBERT C. Byrd,
D-W.Va., said President Bush's
plans to invade Iraq are a conscious
effort to distract public attention from
growing problems at home.
"This administration, all of a sudden,
wants to go to war with Iraq," Byrd said.
"The [political] polls are
dropping, the domestic situation has
problems.... So all of a sudden we have
this war talk, war fervor, the bugles of
war, drums of war, clouds of war.
"Don't tell me that things suddenly
went wrong. Back in August, the president
had no plans.... Then all of a sudden this
country is going to war," Byrd told the
Senate on Friday.
"Are politicians talking about the
domestic situation, the stock market,
weaknesses in the economy, jobs that are
being lost, housing problems? No."
Byrd warned of another Gulf of Tonkin
Resolution. Passed on Aug. 7, 1964, that
resolution handed President Lyndon
Johnson broad powers to escalate the
war in Vietnam, a conflict that cost
58,202 American lives and millions of
"Congress will be putting itself on the
sidelines," Byrd told the Senate. "Nothing
would please this president more than
having such a blank check handed to
Byrd said his belief in the
Constitution will prevent him from voting
for Bush's war resolution. "But I am
finding that the Constitution is
irrelevant to people of this
Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and
Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., both
praised Byrd after he spoke.
"It is the
height of patriotism to ask such hard
questions," Clinton said. "No one
exemplifies that more than the senior
senator from West Virginia."
Byrd said, "Before the nation is
committed to war, before we send our sons
and daughters to battle in faraway lands,
there are critical questions that must be
asked. To date, the answers from the
administration have been less than
Byrd repeatedly said Bush has failed to
give members of Congress any evidence
about any immediate danger from Iraq. Byrd
also criticized his speech to the United
"Instead of offering compelling
evidence that the Iraqi regime had taken
steps to advance its weapons program, the
president offered the U.N. more of a
warning than an appeal for support.
"Instead of using the forum of the U.N.
General Assembly to offer evidence and
proof of his claims, the president
basically told the nations of the world
that you are either with me, or against
me," Byrd said.
"We must not be hell-bent on an
invasion until we have exhausted every
other possible option to assess and
eliminate Iraq's supposed weapons of mass
destruction program. We must not act
alone. We must have the support of the
Byrd said Congress needs solid evidence
and answers to several specific questions,
- Does Saddam Hussein pose an
imminent threat to the U.S.?
- Should the United States act
- What would be the repercussions in
the Middle East and around the
- How many civilians would die in
- How many American forces would be
- How do we afford this war?
- Will the U.S. respond with nuclear
weapons if Saddam Hussein uses chemical
or biological weapons against U.S.
- Does the U.S. have enough military
and intelligence resources to fight
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while
mobilizing resources to prevent attacks
on our own shores?
Byrd said the proposed resolution Bush
sent Congress on Thursday would be the
"broadest possible grant of war powers to
any president in the history of our
Republic. The resolution is a direct
insult and an affront to the powers given
Byrd also criticized Bush's request for
power to carry out "pre-emptive attacks"
and send troops to Iraq, Iran, Syria,
Lebanon, Yemen, the West Bank and anywhere
else in the Middle East.
"I cannot believe the gall and the
arrogance of the White House in requesting
such a broad grant of war powers," Byrd
said. "This is the worst kind of
as German justice minister compares
Bush to Hitler