Sunday, January 28, 2007

Byrd Chides Bush For "Bring 'Em On" And Makes Vietnam Comparison

Robert Byrd (D-WV), who has been in the U.S. Senate since 1959, making him the longest-serving member in that body's history, blasted George W. Bush for his macho posturing early in the Iraq war and said "the similarities were obvious" between Iraq and Vietnam before the war was even started.

"The similarities were obvious," said Byrd. "In opposing the Iraq war resolution, which I did, I and others expressed concern that the Iraq resolution was another Gulf of Tonkin resolution and could well lead to another Vietnam."

Here's more from Byrd on the Senate floor last week:
To many Americans, the word 'Vietnam' has become a painful remainder of a bloody quagmire of a never-ending war without an exit strategy. Certainly, Vietnam is a reminder of failed leadership and two destroyed Presidencies. Like the Johnson and Nixon administrations during the Vietnam era, when their war policies were attacked, the Bush administration wraps itself in the American flag and often engages in tactics of impugning not only the integrity but the patriotism of its critics.

"President Bush has even said those who compared Iraq to Vietnam send the wrong message to our troops. Such a comparison, he suggests, harms our troops.

"I continue to be alarmed that the war in Iraq shows all the signs of degenerating into an equally calamitous debacle as Vietnam. And that is the point. The war in Vietnam lasted more than 10 years. It took more than 58,000 American lives. That long, painful war could have been avoided. Thousands of American lives could have been saved. The blood of thousands of American sons and daughters could have been saved. It need not have been spilled. That is why references to Vietnam are being made when talking about the war in Iraq.

"I make the comparison because I am furious, absolutely furious, that this Government, after the bitter and bloody experience of Vietnam, has failed to heed the lessons of Vietnam."
Byrd also ripped Bush for foolishly challenging the insurgents and further endangering our troops by saying "bring 'em on" in 2003 in response to the emerging insurgency.
"Bring them on, bring them on, President Bush chided the Iraqis and terrorists on July 2, 2003. Do you remember that? I do. He said 'bring 'em on.' In the time since he made that statement 'bring 'em on,' we, the American people, have lost more than 2,800 troops in that war.

"Yes, 'bring 'em on.' 'Bring 'em on.' And so they brought them on. We have lost more than 2,800 troops in that war. As of today, 3,062 -- get that -- 3,062 Americans in total have been killed in Iraq. And for what? And for what, I ask? As of today, 3,062 Americans in total have been killed in that war.
"It is time now for Congress to put its foot down and stand up for the Constitution," said Byrd in ending his speech. "Our Nation did not ask to be put into another Vietnam. Let us not deceive ourselves that we are somehow immune to another Cambodia. Let us stop a reckless, costly war in Iran or Syria before it begins by restoring the checks and balances that our Founders so carefully designed."