Fwd: Words of wisdom from an unexpected source

From: Peter Smagorinsky (smago@coe.uga.edu)
Date: Sat May 24 2003 - 12:46:02 PDT

>'The Truth Will Emerge...'
>...And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall.'
>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 justifi! able anger after the attacks of 911.
>It was the exploitation of fear. It was a placebo for the anger.
>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 troops.
>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 institutions.
>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 will.
>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 theory.
>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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