Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Robert Byrd / The Conscience Of The Senate Dies At 92


Robert Byrd, the conscience of the Senate, died yesterday at 92 years old but the moral consciousness of the Senate died many years ago with our illegal preemptive attack on Iraq. An attack which Senator Byrd rightfully and fervently spoke out against as a betrayal of our basic values and vision: Allen L Roland

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV),1917-2010, Congress' longest-serving member in history "best known for his ardent defense of both the U.S. Constitution and his love of Senate history," passed away yesterday morning at age 92. He was a two-term majority leader, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, "author of an award-winning four-volume history of the Senate," and president pro tem. Viewed as the "dean of the Senate," Byrd "funneled dozens of projects and millions of federal dollars to his home state" ~ where you'll find his name on countless bridges, highways, federal buildings and parks.

Byrd also penned five books and recorded a Blue Grass album entitled ‘Mountain Fiddler’ for which he won the Grand Ole Opry’s Distinguished Fiddler Award in 2008.

But above all, Robert Byrd was a patriot, in the true sense of that word, and he is still famously known as one of the only voices in the Senate chamber to speak out against the Iraq war. Here's the video of the second half of his speech on the Senate floor on March 19, 2003 at 3:45pm.
and his powerful words, which were aimed toward our illegal preemptive attack on Iraq, are still relevant today, over seven years later.

His theme was the arrogance of power, as President Obama escalates our illegal occupation of Afghanistan ~ and the Senate debates further funding of this costly nightmare. Not to mention our Congress approved preemptive (war time) sanctions against Iran.

I can see him now with his white mane and stentorian voice echoing through the chamber ~ " A pall has fallen over the Senate Chamber. We avoid our solemn duty to debate the one topic on the minds of all Americans, even while scores of thousands of our sons and daughters faithfully do their duty in Iraq.
What is happening to this country? When did we become a nation which ignores and berates our friends? When did we decide to risk undermining international order by adopting a radical and doctrinaire approach to using our awesome military might?
How can we abandon diplomatic efforts when the turmoil in the world cries out for diplomacy?
Why can this President not seem to see that America's true power lies not in its will to intimidate, but in its ability to inspire?

5 Minute Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzlLU9Uxvdc&feature=related

As the Washington Post's Greg Sargent observed, "Byrd's stand against the Iraq invasion is not just a testament to his own courage. It's also a testament to the cowardice of other members of his party at an absolutely critical moment ~ an epic cave that may have altered the course of history and should never be forgotten."

Senator Byrd would want you to see this video for it fully captures his courtly demeanor, his sense of decency, his commitment to the constitution and his sincere dismay over the loss of our image as a strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper in the world.

We will miss his needed reminders of where we came from and our lost innocence and moral purpose. Byrd would be the first to say ~ The occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan will end when the people demand it, not one day sooner.

Allen L Roland

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Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and psychotherapist Allen L Roland is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations (
allen@allenroland.com )

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his
weblog and website allenroland.com He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on www.conscioustalk.net


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