War debate in Congress is lacking in details | SummitDaily.com

War debate in Congress is lacking in details

The best part of reading David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography, “John Adams,” is the reminder of the incredible sacrifices our founding fathers and mothers made for the sake of our country.

The worst part is realizing how things have changed.

Mr. Adams, along with a plethora of other citizen-politicians, forswore not just money and career advancement as they founded this new nation but endured heart-breaking separation from their families and cruel criticism from their opponents as well. The courage these men and women witnessed for the fulfillment of their democratic dream is an inspiration.

It is also a condemnation.

The heirs of such heroism have allowed the courage and integrity that so permeated the American political process to denigrate into self-serving drivel and cowardly conformity. This administration marches us unremittingly toward war, and our representatives in Congress do nothing but gutlessly get out of the way.

The streets both here and abroad are filling up with millions asking why America is engaging in profound changes in its foreign policy, and Congress sits silent. A preemptive war challenges American military precedent and certainly places any argument for a “just war” on shaky ground, and yet we hear little if anything from Capitol Hill.

Where, I wonder, are the congressional voices of dissent that are so vital to a healthy democracy? In a letter to John Adams’ wife, Abigail, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.”

There is more than a little rebellion brewing on the streets and in the homes of loyal Americans. Why isn’t it being reflected by our representatives? One answer may be found on the very floor of the Senate, where last week Sen. Robert Byrd chastised his fellow senators with a blistering condemnation of their inactivity:

“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.” (Senate Floor Speech – Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2003)

This Wednesday, Feb. 26, has been designated as “Win Without War Day of National Action.” In what is described as a “Virtual March on Washington,” loyal dissenters are being urged to contact their senators with their concern over the course of American foreign policy. The goal is to have every Senator’s phone ringing every minute of that working day.

Maybe then the senators will get to work.

For more information go to http://www.moveon.org

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