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Byrd to Take Center Stage in Iraq Debate

Senate committee hearings are generally dull, but this coming week brings one of those witness panels to Capitol Hill that should at least provide entertaining theatrics to those on both sides of the Iraq war debate.

The Senate Appropriations Committee takes up the Bush administration's proposal for a $100 billion supplemental spending bill to fund the ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A "supplemental" appropriation is a spending measure that occurs outside the regular budget for the fiscal year, which means that these are funds that the White House technically didn't see coming when its top budget officials drew up its initial annual spending request.

The Appropriations Committee is now chaired by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.), one of the leading Congressional opponents of the Iraq war from the outset. And Tuesday, at 2:30 p.m., Byrd is convening a hearing on the latest Iraq-Afghanistan supplemental request, with the top members of Bush's war council scheduled to appear before his panel.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, will testify on behalf of the president's funding request and field questions from a skeptical group of Democrats about the direction of the Iraq policy, most particularly the president's decision to send an additional 21,500 troops into Iraq. Byrd has several leading anti-war Democrats at his side on the panel, ensuring pointed questioning from Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

As Washington Post reporters Shailagh Murray and Jonathan Weisman pointed out in Friday's Post, Senate Democrats now appear set on focusing their anti-war efforts on a resolution altering the original 2002 authorization for the Iraq war. The new resolution is likely to be added to a homeland security bill the chamber is taking up.

That means the debate on the supplemental on the Senate side won't be as critical in terms of actual policy alterations by Democrats. But Tuesday's hearing gives Byrd, who at 89 is still very capable of dressing down a cabinet secretary or two, his biggest platform yet this year to take on Bush's Iraq policy. On the House side, as Murray and Weisman noted, there's uncertainty about how hard to push on the anti-war proposals of Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi's top ally on Iraq policy and the chairman of the subcommittee taking up the supplemental bill.

For now, those following the Iraq debate may want to just watch the Byrd hearing Tuesday, which is being shown on the committee's Web site.

By Paul Kane  |  February 24, 2007; 7:35 AM ET
Categories:  Purse Strings , Senate  
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Comments

Mr. Paul Kane, USA can NOT dafeat
the word of muslim, no,no.
I men go back from this country.
It,s the best so.
You can on peaceful way bay oil etc.
You have now Kina, som it,s the problem, and the Africa, and the old opf Sovjet.
I now, We in SWEDEN its resident.(almost)!!
Have a nice day, from nils-göran spjut
siriusgatan no 20
415 22
ghotenburg
SWEDEN

Posted by: nils-goran@comhem.se | February 26, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Hello, Mr. "pisshead" BUCH.
Now if two years, you have Swedish
soldiers, and the FLY: JAS Gripen,
(hunting, attack and spion)in the Afaganistan and Africa.
It,s SILLY everything,all of the WAR!!!!!
Mr. Walter Buch.
From nils-göran spjuth.
Ghotenburg
SWEDEN
nils-goran@comhem.se

Posted by: nils-goran@comhem.se | February 26, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Should make for interesting Congressional Theater. Condi might want to stock up on Maalox ahead of time.

Which anti-war proposal are the D's worried about? The one that suggests that all troops should have adequate armor? Seems like a slam dunk winner to me.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 26, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

It seems that Condi should be requested to present evidence of the necessity of invading Iraq - why are we paying supplemental amounts for an incursion by the President and Vice-President when it was their idea and consequently they should divvy up for the whole nine yards.

Also, shouldn't the "supplemental" be ear-marked for the "people of Iraq" - they are the real loosers and should be re-imbursed by Bush and Cheney for their mistakes and wrong assumptions without justification.

However, there are still those who are embarrassed because they voted without actually reading what they were voting for and now want to rest on the "if we knew then what we know now" application.

It gets more annoying to learn that our smart politicians suddenly dumb-up at the wrong time.

Posted by: WILLIAM J CLEMONS | February 26, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

first off what the hell did that idiot from sweden say?? second listening to byrd talk is like watching paint dry look the guy is done and should be in a nursing home playing checkers

Posted by: SFC us Army | February 26, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Every dollar spent on the Iraq war is a dollar that someone will have to pay in taxes (actually, given deficit spending, it is multiple dollars). People who support the war and the troops should be writing to congress to ask for increased taxes so that they can pay their share of the cost.

Posted by: John | February 26, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Up comes the Biden idea that was partly presented Sunday on Meet The Press regarding his [and others] plan to ask for revision of the resolution that originally produced the invasion of Iraq - the assumption is that Congress voted for it - although no one counted who was was wide awake at the voting procedure. Surely a large amount were "asleep at the wheel".

The problem - this "revision" is not of any immediate help toward decreasing the "harms way" of our troops. The plan doesn't even become rality until March 2008 or later.

This gives the appearance that this is just a "toasty" to "appease" the Republicans so that, as they seem to want, any change would fall on the subsequent President.

Why not take Murtha's plan - get immediate results instead of prolonging the wrong that should be righted now.

Posted by: WILLIAM J CLEMONS | February 26, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Iraq has become a great sink hole of US resources and the cause has become irrelevant over time.

Robert Byrd has a track record of serving as moral-compass to the nation and serving in the interest of the people, only comparable to the founding fathers of this great nation.

I hope this debate will give an opportunity to the people of the nation to witness the feable and shameless justification that will be put-forth by the few morally unsound seeking supplimental funds for the war at the expense of more important things of today's economy and life such as - making the nation and it's people stronger in the face of global competition.

Posted by: Chris | February 26, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Reference what "John" commented above in regards to the people who want the war paying additional taxes for it. Great idea, but let us be totally honest: it's going to the be the younger generation that's going to be paying for this fiasco long after the Boomers who wanted this fight have retired and are sucking down social security.

Posted by: Will | February 26, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

More and more money will be continued to funnel into the hands of George's and the V.P. buddies pockets. There is a great deal of money to be made by Halliburton and the other sub contractors and Bush and Cheney will not pull the open check book from them.

Wake up America we are getting robbed by our own government. The includes you so called conservatives that do not conserve squat!

Posted by: VET67 | February 26, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

We are on a noble crusade; one that real historians will see our defining place in the world! Who of our illustrious polititions and elite press are sounding the bugles for the nearly 20,000 annual murders in the United States; a tragedy --- one hundred americans since 9/11............

Posted by: DCBROWNING | February 26, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of these idealistic Dems and those "We're American" horn tooting Republicans. I don't much remeber the begining of the Iraqi war anymore, other than that it seemed a bit seedy, as far as motive is concerned, that we were invading Iraq. But, I can tell you one thing - This Byrd guy looks like is about to keel over. Good God! Is he the anti-war voice of America? Where is the youth in this country? - Playing Battelfield 1941, or at at least they would be if they knew what was up. And as far as the war and it's end is concerned, I could care less. There will always be a war, and strategically this is a pretty good one. For America that is. Hey, it's right in the middle a fat crude aquifer, close to China, our pals Isreal, the Ever Volitile Iran and it's buddy N.Korea, not to mention the Cradle of Civilation. Maybe we've come full circle and the war is taking place in the Coffin of Civilization.

Posted by: Brian_R | February 26, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

We, the American people, were "sold" this war by a deliberate fabrication. We know the Bush administration lied to get us into this war, and they lied deliberately. The crucial question is, Why did they do this? What was the motive for selling this horrible war? If the motive was war profiteering (push up crude prices to enrich the principal Bush campaign supporters, which this war certainly has done), then this was an act of treason. If it was an Orwellian political maneuever contrived to consolidate poltiical power (and it did accomplish that), then this war is an act of treason. If it was an act of revenge against Saddam Hussein (and it did achieve that), then this war is act of treason because American presidents do not have the Constitutional authority to unilaterally decide to topple foreign governments. For good reason, as is amply evident in this case. If treason it is, then treason it should be called, and the full weight of Congressional action is demanded. File the charges, bring in the witnesses, prove the motive, show the body, and do what is right. Nothing short of that.

Posted by: Craig, South Carolina | February 26, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Bite ME!!

Posted by: B_RAD | February 26, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

YEAH THATS RIGHT! I AM BUTCH NUMCHUCK AND I DON'T TAKE NO GUFF. IM BADDER THAN BAD, RADDER THAN RAD, AND MADDER THAN MAD. ALL YOU GIRLY GIRLS GOTTA DO IS SEND ME OVER TO THAT COUNTRY...WHAT IS IT CALLED AGAIN?...IRAQ? YEAH, SEND ME OVER TO IRAQ AND I'LL END THIS TEA PARTY -YOU CAN KEEP THE DOILY.

Posted by: Butch Numchuck | February 26, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Start the Impeachment of Bush and Cheney now, then maybe someone will talk out of the right side of their mouths---neocons need to STFU!

Posted by: Mark jensen | February 26, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

To Mark jenson & Craig:
If Congress really believes that President Bush "sold" this war by a deliberate fabrication, then they should impeach him. If they don't have the stones to do that, then they need to shut up, get behind our troops, and help us win this war.

Posted by: Jim Wright | February 26, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Robert Byrd is one of the last great senators. Brave and eloquent, one the greatest orators of all time. Yes he is old but wise beyond his years. Had the country listened to Byrd originally we would not be in this mess.

Posted by: Bob Mullock | February 26, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

To Jim Wright:
Why do you support the war?

Posted by: Bill from Jersey | February 26, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Bob Mullock,

I agree with you 100%. I reiterate my comments in this context -


Robert Byrd has a track record of serving as moral-compass to the nation and serving in the interest of the people, only comparable to the founding fathers of this great nation.

Iraq has become a great sink hole of US resources and the cause has become irrelevant over time.

I hope this debate will give an opportunity to the people of the nation to witness the feeble and shameless justification that will be put-forth by the few morally unsound seeking supplimental funds for the war at the expense of more important things of today's economy and life such as - making the nation and it's people stronger in the face of global competition.

Posted by: Chris | February 26, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Bob Mullock:

Why do you think this war is a mess?Putting aside the the Neolithic Pandering of National Pride through delicate white lies (which is a mess)it is no worse than the state of America before the war. But, now we are airing our dirty laundry in the public. The mess is that America needs this blood soaked debauchery to feed so badly taht those delicatessens are easily swallowed. Anyways, who cares. We need the oil and a stronghold in the area (China's coming up and we gotta keep an Eye on Iran).

Posted by: Steph | February 26, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Bill,
I support our President.

Posted by: Jim Wright | February 26, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Though it pains me to say this, Democrats don't seem interested in winning the Iraq war. They seem only interested in winning the next election.

Posted by: Tim | February 26, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

First of all I find the question of how to win this war as hard to define as what constitues winning? Keep it simple * ? Sadam is gone. Also what defines a terrorist by definition? When those are more defined instead of obscure, maybe some real solutions can be achieved. Any further discusion can only be carried on if we address the possibility that a genocide for oil is and was possibly the primary goal, guised as so many other (democracy , WMD, ect). No further funding is necessary if mission is accomplished and bring em all home, you know like, NOW! Britain is just shuffleing, not really pulling out, thats if they move next door to Afghanistan. If we stay any where it should be to take out the other dictators over there who are our goverments bed fellows like Sadam and where the original 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi. And pull funding from Isreal to fund the troops if they are going to have to stay, small fee, one might say for helping to protect their interests and ever changing boarders, as some Powers That Be, may be trying to do. And hopefully not 3 iraqs as 3 muslim reservations, and Iraqi oil piped to America brought to by Shells tax cut 401K savings plan. Byrd can maybe set all this straight with his moral compass, let us see what the pot brews that is binding. For me, niether party has been building (restocking) any further credibility with me, but then what are our choices? Impeachment leads us to the worst of two evils.

Posted by: SJ | February 26, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

First of all I find the question of how to win this war as hard to define as what constitues winning? Keep it simple * ? Sadam is gone. Also what defines a terrorist by definition? When those are more defined instead of obscure, maybe some real solutions can be achieved. Any further discusion can only be carried on if we address the possibility that a genocide for oil is and was possibly the primary goal, guised as so many other (democracy , WMD, ect). No further funding is necessary if mission is accomplished and bring em all home, you know like, NOW! Britain is just shuffleing, not really pulling out, thats if they move next door to Afghanistan. If we stay any where it should be to take out the other dictators over there who are our goverments bed fellows like Sadam and where the original 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi. And pull funding from Isreal to fund the troops if they are going to have to stay, small fee, one might say for helping to protect their interests and ever changing boarders, as some Powers That Be, may be trying to do. And hopefully not 3 iraqs as 3 muslim reservations, and Iraqi oil piped to America brought to by Shells tax cut 401K savings plan. Byrd can maybe set all this straight with his moral compass, let us see what the pot brews that is binding. For me, niether party has been building (restocking) any further credibility with me, but then what are our choices? Impeachment leads us to the worst of two evils.

Posted by: SJ | February 26, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

http://www.amazon.com/New-Pearl-Harbor-Disturbing-Administration/dp/1566565529
Anyone can click on the link and purchase a copy of "The New Pearl Harbor," by PhD David Ray Griffin: an unimpeachable Emeritus Professor of Logic.

Bush committed 9-11...and is a draft-dodging closet-queen. Any failing to know this hasn't been paying attention.

His father assisted the CIA in the assassination of JFK to send 58,000 of us to die for the pope and Rockefeller in Vietnam and his grandfather was Hitler's banker on behalf of Vatican-banker Rockefeller and the Roman aristocracy.

Get a brain. Wake up. The truth is obvious and G_d knows the difference.

Posted by: Will Jones RA '68-'72 | February 26, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Craig.Now they're trying to instigate a war with Iran to dump in the lap of the next administration.What a truly insidious and downright EVIL administration!!Steal the election twice to give us a president we didn't want twice.And a war we didn't want that's going to escalate into ANOTHER WAR we don't want.Will all your loved-ones have to die or be maimed before we IMPEACH AND INDICT these people?He devasted the Texas economy and now he's destroying the whole country! Stop the downward spiral now!

Posted by: beingbear | February 26, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Good enough for me Jim.

Posted by: Bill from Jersey | February 26, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Look, it's America. It's just how things are. What did Dick Cheny say, "Our way of Life" is not up for debate. It's not a war, it's a power play right out of the movie Wallstreet. Not some evil conspiracy, not some mass dillusion, and not some hillbilly President run a muck.

Don't agree? Then don't. Think about Desert Storm though. Iraq invades Kuwait = economic sanction. Iraq heads for Saudi Arabia = ballistic missiles. Iraq gaining control of (or hindering) the Saudi Kingdom's ability to produce oil would be like Iraq actually having had those pesky WMD's. Oh no, now I'm an oil conspiracy theorist! Hey, I'm not using oil as a scape goat - I refuse the idea. Look at it this way: Your keyboard, monitor, computer, TV, half your car, paint, fuel, and well just about anything and everything is made of oil. It is THE WonderMolecule, and it's too late to turn around now. Of, course I am in NO WAY justifying the war. The war seems like it may a solution to a problem, not the problem.

Oh, yeah and I agree Brian_R. It is a good place to be strategically - politically as well as economically (err, energetically).

And I totally agree Tim when he says he feels the Dems are just trying to win an election.

Here's another good thought...on education.
The wealthiest and freest(?)(you can't really put a quantifiable dollar amount on freedom) has one of the worst public education systems. Why? Cause we're the king of capitalism, where you always get what you pay for. Too bad school is free.

Posted by: Jason | February 26, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

This will be a rare opportunity to listen to Senator Byrd, one of the last old lions of the Senate. He spoke up against the war and against the abuses of power by this administration when it was unfashionable to do so...he was a lonely voice for quite some time. We have a number of politicians covering their behinds now that it is fashionable to do so, but Byrd is the real deal. He is the one person in the Senate who can take the long view and give the nation the benefit of his wisdom (something sadly lacking these days in D.C.). As the old warrior puts on his rusty armor for one more joustm we have to salute his courage and his steadfastness...he has contributed more to the nation by his opposition to an unjust war than many other Senators with craven political agendas.

Posted by: Dirik Lolkus | February 26, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Senator Byrd spoke, perhaps as the last of the Jedi Knights, on behalf of the Constitution of the United States, about the imperialistic (my word, not his) behavior of the Bush Administration in its' rush to implement a "Pre-Emptive War."
Those whose comments precede this would be well-served to review what he said then, and the consequences of our failure to follow his counsel. I couldn't help but think of Sam Ervin then, and I can't help but think about Wayne Morse now.

Posted by: rcrtr | February 27, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

May you liberals be the first under the sword when al queda attacks America again. Cowards!

Posted by: HILLARYisAshemale | February 27, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

When I hear the cocophony of noise about this war, I hear somthing like this:

Herd in the Jungle: Orangutan unrest

"Mowar! Mowar! Mowar!"
Screams the whowar! Whowar! Whowar!
"We need mowar! Mowar! Mowar!"

"The Pentagon is powar! Powar! Powar!"
Screams the whowar! Whowar! Whowar!
"Powar! Powar! Powar!"

"And the generals are sowar! Sowar! Sowar!"
Screams the whowar! Whowar! Whowar!
"Sowar! Sowar! Sowar!"

"They need more blood and gowar! Gowar! Gowar!"
screams the whowar! Whowar! Whowar!
"Gowar! Gowar! Gowar!"

"Enough to float old Nowar! Nowar! Nowar!"
Screams the whowar! Whowar! Whowar!
"Nowar! Nowar! Nowar!"

From an old airborne infantryman's perspective, if we had more generals like Senator Byrd, we might not fight as many wars, but we would win the wars that we do fight.

Posted by: c.e.bowman | February 27, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Who started this war?

Posted by: Christine Hyde | February 27, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Who started this war? Obviously, it was the Iraquis in 1955 when they nationalized their oil and no longer gave it(for a pittance) to the great oil companies of the West. Have you ever noticed that we have made war with most of the countries that have nationalized their oil except the Kuwaitis and we sent our proxy(Saddam)to punish them for nationalizing their oil in the seventies. Why is our oil under their sand? Iran is the exception, but after all they have a massive population and they could make us hurt! We prefer small nations of 17-25 million. We can crush them! Watch out Hugo, we're talking to the Iranians, and that's not good news for you.

Posted by: c.e.bowman | February 27, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

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