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(E) The Patient Art of Diplomacy into Threats
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  02/15/2003 | Politics | Unrated
(E) The Patient Art of Diplomacy into Threats
Distributed by CroatianWorld

 

This Administration has turned the patient art of diplomacy into threats

Published on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 by CommonDreams.org 


Reckless Administration May Reap Disastrous Consequences 

by US Senator Robert Byrd


Senate Floor Speech - Wednesday, February 12, 2003 To contemplate war is to
think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as
this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must
be contemplating the horrors of war. Yet, this Chamber is, for the most
part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no
discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this
particular war. There is nothing. We stand passively mute in the United
States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the
sheer turmoil of events. Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is
there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging
in this particular war. And this is no small conflagration we contemplate.
This is no simple attempt to defang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it
materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly
a turning point in the recent history of the world. This nation is about to
embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an
extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The doctrine of preemption -- the
idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a
nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the
future -- is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self defense. It
appears to be in contravention of international law and the UN Charter. And
it is being tested at a time of world-wide terrorism, making many countries
around the globe wonder if they will soon be on our -- or some other
nation's -- hit list. High level Administration figures recently refused to
take nuclear weapons off of the table when discussing a possible attack
against Iraq. What could be more destabilizing and unwise than this type of
uncertainty, particularly in a world where globalism has tied the vital
economic and security interests of many nations so closely together? There
are huge cracks emerging in our time-honored alliances, and U.S. intentions
are suddenly subject to damaging worldwide speculation. Anti-Americanism
based on mistrust, misinformation, suspicion, and alarming rhetoric from
U.S. leaders is fracturing the once solid alliance against global terrorism
which existed after September 11. Here at home, people are warned of
imminent terrorist attacks with little guidance as to when or where such
attacks might occur. Family members are being called to active military
duty, with no idea of the duration of their stay or what horrors they may
face. Communities are being left with less than adequate police and fire
protection. Other essential services are also short-staffed. The mood of the
nation is grim. The economy is stumbling. Fuel prices are rising and may
soon spike higher. This Administration, now in power for a little over two
years, must be judged on its record. I believe that that record is dismal.
In that scant two years, this Administration has squandered a large
projected surplus of some $5.6 trillion over the next decade and taken us to
projected deficits as far as the eye can see. This Administration's domestic
policy has put many of our states in dire financial condition, under funding
scores of essential programs for our people. This Administration has
fostered policies which have slowed economic growth. This Administration has
ignored urgent matters such as the crisis in health care for our elderly.
This Administration has been slow to provide adequate funding for homeland
security. This Administration has been reluctant to better protect our long
and porous borders. In foreign policy, this Administration has failed to
find Osama bin Laden. In fact, just yesterday we heard from him again
marshaling his forces and urging them to kill. This Administration has split
traditional alliances, possibly crippling, for all time, International
order-keeping entities like the United Nations and NATO. This Administration
has called into question the traditional worldwide perception of the United
States as well-intentioned, peacekeeper. This Administration has turned the
patient art of diplomacy into threats, labeling, and name calling of the
sort that reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of our
leaders, and which will have consequences for years to come. Calling heads
of state pygmies, labeling whole countries as evil, denigrating powerful
European allies as irrelevant -- these types of crude insensitivities can do
our great nation no good. We may have massive military might, but we cannot
fight a global war on terrorism alone. We need the cooperation and
friendship of our time-honored allies as well as the newer found friends
whom we can attract with our wealth. Our awesome military machine will do us
little good if we suffer another devastating attack on our homeland which
severely damages our economy. Our military manpower is already stretched
thin and we will need the augmenting support of those nations who can supply
troop strength, not just sign letters cheering us on. The war in Afghanistan
has cost us $37 billion so far, yet there is evidence that terrorism may
already be starting to regain its hold in that region. We have not found bin
Laden, and unless we secure the peace in Afghanistan, the dark dens of
terrorism may yet again flourish in that remote and devastated land.
Pakistan as well is at risk of destabilizing forces. This Administration has
not finished the first war against terrorism and yet it is eager to embark
on another conflict with perils much greater than those in Afghanistan. Is
our attention span that short? Have we not learned that after winning the
war one must always secure the peace? And yet we hear little about the
aftermath of war in Iraq. In the absence of plans, speculation abroad is
rife. Will we seize Iraq's oil fields, becoming an occupying power which
controls the price and supply of that nation's oil for the foreseeable
future? To whom do we propose to hand the reigns of power after Saddam
Hussein? Will our war inflame the Muslim world resulting in devastating
attacks on Israel? Will Israel retaliate with its own nuclear arsenal? Will
the Jordanian and Saudi Arabian governments be toppled by radicals,
bolstered by Iran which has much closer ties to terrorism than Iraq? Could a
disruption of the world's oil supply lead to a world-wide recession? Has our
senselessly bellicose language and our callous disregard of the interests
and opinions of other nations increased the global race to join the nuclear
club and made proliferation an even more lucrative practice for nations
which need the income? In only the space of two short years this reckless
and arrogant Administration has initiated policies which may reap disastrous
consequences for years. One can understand the anger and shock of any
President after the savage attacks of September 11. One can appreciate the
frustration of having only a shadow to chase and an amorphous, fleeting
enemy on which it is nearly impossible to exact retribution. But to turn
one's frustration and anger into the kind of extremely destabilizing and
dangerous foreign policy debacle that the world is currently witnessing is
inexcusable from any Administration charged with the awesome power and
responsibility of guiding the destiny of the greatest superpower on the
planet. Frankly many of the pronouncements made by this Administration are
outrageous. There is no other word. Yet this chamber is hauntingly silent.
On what is possibly the eve of horrific infliction of death and destruction
on the population of the nation of Iraq -- a population, I might add, of
which over 50% is under age 15 -- this chamber is silent. On what is
possibly only days before we send thousands of our own citizens to face
unimagined horrors of chemical and biological warfare -- this chamber is
silent. On the eve of what could possibly be a vicious terrorist attack in
retaliation for our attack on Iraq, it is business as usual in the United
States Senate. We are truly "sleepwalking through history." In my heart of
hearts I pray that this great nation and its good and trusting citizens are
not in for a rudest of awakenings. To engage in war is always to pick a wild
card. And war must always be a last resort, not a first choice. I truly must
question the judgment of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked
military attack on a nation which is over 50% children is "in the highest
moral traditions of our country". This war is not necessary at this time.
Pressure appears to be having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake was to put
ourselves in a corner so quickly. Our challenge is to now find a graceful
way out of a box of our own making. Perhaps there is still a way if we allow
more time. 

Op-ed
President Bush's email: President@whiteHouse.gov  
Know that 30 emails, phone calls or faxes on a same 
subject have to be reported to the president

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