October 19, 2003

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Over night, two more US GIs died in the _resident's
foolish military adventure in Iraq. For what? Here is
an ANOTHER extraordinary speech from the US Senate
floor from Sen. Robert Byrd (D-VA), who begins with a
Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale and ends quoting
Herman Goering from Nuremberg. Please share the
powerful message with others.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.): Taking the nation to war based on misleading rhetoric and hyped intelligence is a travesty and a tragedy. It is the most cynical of all cynical acts. It is dangerous to manipulate the truth. It is dangerous because once having lied, it is difficult to ever be believed again. Having misled the American people and stampeded them to war, this Administration must now attempt to sustain a policy predicated on falsehoods. The President asks for billions from those same citizens who know that they were misled about the need to go to war. We misinformed and insulted our friends and allies and now this Administration is having more than a little trouble getting help from the international community. It is perilous to mislead.

http://byrd.senate.gov/byrd_speeches/byrd_speeches_2003october/byrd_speeches_2003october_list/byrd_speeches_2003october_list_3.html

Remarks by U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd


October 17, 2003


The Emperor Has No Clothes




In 1837, Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen,
wrote a wonderful fairy tale which he titled The
Emperor's New Clothes. It may be the very first
example of the power of political correctness. It is
the story of the Ruler of a distant land who was so
enamored of his appearance and his clothing that he
had a different suit for every hour of the day.

One day two rogues arrived in town, claiming to be
gifted weavers. They convinced the Emperor that they
could weave the most wonderful cloth, which had a
magical property. The clothes were only visible to
those who were completely pure in heart and spirit.

The Emperor was impressed and ordered the weavers to
begin work immediately. The rogues, who had a deep
understanding of human nature, began to feign work on
empty looms.

Minister after minister went to view the new clothes
and all came back exhorting the beauty of the cloth on
the looms even though none of them could see a thing.

Finally a grand procession was planned for the Emperor
to display his new finery. The Emperor went to view
his clothes and was shocked to see absolutely nothing,
but he pretended to admire the fabulous cloth, inspect
the clothes with awe, and, after disrobing, go through
the motions of carefully putting on a suit of the new
garments.

Under a royal canopy the Emperor appeared to the
admiring throng of his people - - all of whom cheered
and clapped because they all knew the rogue weavers'
tale and did not want to be seen as less than pure of
heart.

But, the bubble burst when an innocent child loudly
exclaimed, for the whole kingdom to hear, that the
Emperor had nothing on at all. He had no clothes.

That tale seems to me very like the way this nation
was led to war.

We were told that we were threatened by weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq, but they have not been seen.

We were told that the throngs of Iraqi's would welcome
our troops with flowers, but no throngs or flowers
appeared.

We were led to believe that Saddam Hussein was
connected to the attack on the Twin Towers and the
Pentagon, but no evidence has ever been produced.

We were told in 16 words that Saddam Hussein tried to
buy "yellow cake" from Africa for production of
nuclear weapons, but the story has turned into empty
air.

We were frightened with visions of mushroom clouds,
but they turned out to be only vapors of the mind.

We were told that major combat was over but 101 [as of
October 17] Americans have died in combat since that
proclamation from the deck of an aircraft carrier by
our very own Emperor in his new clothes.

Our emperor says that we are not occupiers, yet we
show no inclination to relinquish the country of Iraq
to its people.

Those who have dared to expose the nakedness of the
Administration's policies in Iraq have been subjected
to scorn. Those who have noticed the elephant in the
room -- that is, the fact that this war was based on
falsehoods have had our patriotism questioned.
Those who have spoken aloud the thought shared by
hundreds of thousands of military families across this
country, that our troops should return quickly and
safely from the dangers half a world away, have been
accused of cowardice. We have then seen the untruths,
the dissembling, the fabrication, the misleading
inferences surrounding this rush to war in Iraq
wrapped quickly in the flag.

The right to ask questions, debate, and dissent is
under attack. The drums of war are beaten ever louder
in an attempt to drown out those who speak of our
predicament in stark terms.

Even in the Senate, our history and tradition of being
the world's greatest deliberative body is being
snubbed. This huge spending bill has been rushed
through this chamber in just one month. There were
just three open hearings by the Senate Appropriations
Committee on $87 billion, without a single outside
witness called to challenge the Administration's line.

Ambassador Bremer went so far as to refuse to return
to the Appropriations Committee to answer additional
questions because, and I quote: "I don't have time.
I'm completely booked, and I have to get back to
Baghdad to my duties."

Despite this callous stiff-arm of the Senate and its
duties to ask questions in order to represent the
American people, few dared to voice their opposition
to rushing this bill through these halls of Congress.
Perhaps they were intimidated by the false claims that
our troops are in immediate need of more funds.

But the time has come for the sheep-like political
correctness which has cowed members of this Senate to
come to an end.

The Emperor has no clothes. This entire adventure in
Iraq has been based on propaganda and manipulation.
Eighty-seven billion dollars is too much to pay for
the continuation of a war based on falsehoods.

Taking the nation to war based on misleading rhetoric
and hyped intelligence is a travesty and a tragedy.
It is the most cynical of all cynical acts. It is
dangerous to manipulate the truth. It is dangerous
because once having lied, it is difficult to ever be
believed again. Having misled the American people and
stampeded them to war, this Administration must now
attempt to sustain a policy predicated on falsehoods.
The President asks for billions from those same
citizens who know that they were misled about the need
to go to war. We misinformed and insulted our friends
and allies and now this Administration is having more
than a little trouble getting help from the
international community. It is perilous to mislead.

The single-minded obsession of this Administration to
now make sense of the chaos in Iraq, and the
continuing propaganda which emanates from the White
House painting Iraq as the geographical center of
terrorism is distracting our attention from
Afghanistan and the 60 other countries in the world
where terrorists hide. It is sapping resources which
could be used to make us safer from terrorists on our
own shores. The body armor for our own citizens still
has many, many chinks. Have we forgotten that the
most horrific terror attacks in history occurred right
here at home!! Yet, this Administration turns back
money for homeland security, while the President pours
billions into security for Iraq. I am powerless to
understand or explain such a policy.

I have tried mightily to improve this bill. I twice
tried to separate the reconstruction money in this
bill, so that those dollars could be considered
separately from the military spending. I offered an
amendment to force the Administration to craft a plan
to get other nations to assist the troops and
formulate a plan to get the U.N. in, and the U.S. out,
of Iraq. Twice I tried to rid the bill of expansive,
flexible authorities that turn this $87 billion into a
blank check. The American people should understand
that we provide more foreign aid for Iraq in this
bill, $20.3 billion, than we provide for the rest of
the entire world! I attempted to remove from this
bill billions in wasteful programs and divert those
funds to better use. But, at every turn, my efforts
were thwarted by the vapid argument that we must all
support the requests of the Commander in Chief.

I cannot stand by and continue to watch our
grandchildren become increasingly burdened by the
billions that fly out of the Treasury for a war and a
policy based largely on propaganda and prevarication.
We are borrowing $87 billion to finance this adventure
in Iraq. The President is asking this Senate to pay
for this war with increased debt, a debt that will
have to be paid by our children and by those same
troops that are currently fighting this war. I cannot
support outlandish tax cuts that plunge our country
into potentially disastrous debt while our troops are
fighting and dying in a war that the White House chose
to begin.

I cannot support the continuation of a policy that
unwisely ties down 150,000 American troops for the
foreseeable future, with no end in sight.

I cannot support a President who refuses to authorize
the reasonable change in course that would bring
traditional allies to our side in Iraq.

I cannot support the politics of zeal and "might makes
right" that created the new American arrogance and
unilateralism which passes for foreign policy in this
Administration.

I cannot support this foolish manifestation of the
dangerous and destabilizing doctrine of preemption
that changes the image of America into that of a
reckless bully.

The emperor has no clothes. And our former allies
around the world were the first to loudly observe it.

I shall vote against this bill because I cannot
support a policy based on prevarication. I cannot
support doling out 87 billion of our hard-earned tax
dollars when I have so many doubts about the wisdom of
its use.

I began my remarks with a fairy tale. I shall close
my remarks with a horror story, in the form of a quote
from the book Nuremberg Diaries, written by G.M.
Gilbert, in which the author interviews Hermann
Goering.

"We got around to the subject of war again and I said
that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that
the common people are very thankful for leaders who
bring them war and destruction.

". . . But, after all, it is the leaders of the
country who determine the policy and it is always a
simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is
a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament
or a Communist dictatorship.

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a
democracy the people have some say in the matter
through their elected representatives, and in the
United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no
voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding
of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is
tell them they are being attacked and denounce the
pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the
country to danger. It works the same way in any
country."

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Posted by richard at October 19, 2003 09:36 PM