I learned this morning of the passing of this 92 year old Lion of the Senate. His career, the longest in Senate history, and his life were marked by both great accomplishments and serious questions. He was an encyclopedia of Senate rules and as the long time Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, may have been the largest deliverer of old fashioned pork, (building and road projects)to a state, (his beloved West Virginia), of anyone in Senate history. There were many battles fought and won by this conservative Democrat. But I remember best his recent and most strenuous opposition to the Iraq War, as a nearly lone voice of reason, (well into his eighty's), in the halls of Congress. He chided the members of both parties as well as President Bush in a challenge filled in with loud and stark words. I think it is good to remember this man by reading a speech he made last fall at the time of the planning for the surge in Afghanistan:
October 14, 2009
Byrd Takes To Senate Floor To Discuss Situation in Afghanistan
News organizations seeking more information should contact Senator Byrd's Communications Office at (202) 224-3904.
***AUDIO COORDINATES ATTACHED***
Washington, DC Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., took to the floor of the United States Senate today to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and voice his concerns over the possibility of a major increase in U.S. forces into Afghanistan.
Byrd's full remarks on the Senate floor follow:
"Mr. President, few subjects weigh more heavily upon a president than the decision to send our sons and daughters to war. Such a commitment demands the clearest of clear thinking, including a thoroughly dispassionate assessment of goals, risks, and strategies. This is difficult terrain for any American President, especially when faced with conflicting views from advisors, Congress, and the American public."
"I have become deeply concerned that in the eight years since the September 11 attacks, the reason for the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan has become lost, consumed in some broader scheme of nation-building which has clouded our purpose and obscure our reasoning."
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