believe in this beautiful country. I have studied its roots and gloried
in the wisdom of its magnificent Constitution. I have marveled at the
wisdom of its founders and framers. Generation after generation of Americans
has understood the lofty ideals that underlie our great Republic. I
have been inspired by the story of their sacrifice and their strength.
But, today I weep for my country. I have watched the
events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image
of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America
has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is
disputed, our intentions are questioned.
Instead of reasoning with those with whom we disagree,
we demand obedience or threaten recrimination. Instead of isolating
Saddam Hussein, we seem to have isolated ourselves. We proclaim a new
doctrine of preemption which is understood by few and feared by many.
We say that the United States has the right to turn its firepower on
any corner of the globe which might be suspect in the war on terrorism.
We assert that right without the sanction of any international body.
As a result, the world has become a much more dangerous place.
We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance. We treat
UN Security Council members like ingrates who offend our princely dignity
by lifting their heads from the carpet. Valuable alliances are split.
After war has ended, the United States will have to rebuild much more
than the country of Iraq. We will have to rebuild America's image around
The case this Administration tries to make to justify
its fixation with war is tainted by charges of falsified documents and
circumstantial evidence. We cannot convince the world of the necessity
of this war for one simple reason. This is a war of choice.
There is no credible information to connect Saddam Hussein
to 9/11. The twin towers fell because a world-wide terrorist group,
Al Qaeda, with cells in over 60 nations, struck at our wealth and our
influence by turning our own planes into missiles, one of which would
likely have slammed into the dome of this beautiful Capitol except for
the brave sacrifice of the passengers on board.
The brutality seen on September 11th and in other terrorist
attacks we have witnessed around the globe are the violent and desperate
efforts by extremists to stop the daily encroachment of western values
upon their cultures. That is what we fight. It is a force not confined
to borders. It is a shadowy entity with many faces, many names, and
But, this Administration has directed all of the anger,
fear, and grief which emerged from the ashes of the twin towers and
the twisted metal of the Pentagon towards a tangible villain, one we
can see and hate and attack. And villain he is. But, he is the wrong
villain. And this is the wrong war. If we attack Saddam Hussein, we
will probably drive him from power. But, the zeal of our friends to
assist our global war on terrorism may have already taken flight.
The general unease surrounding this war is not just
due to "orange alert." There is a pervasive sense of rush
and risk and too many questions unanswered. How long will we be in Iraq?
What will be the cost? What is the ultimate mission? How great is the
danger at home? 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
War appears inevitable. But, I continue to hope that
the cloud will lift. Perhaps Saddam will yet turn tail and run. Perhaps
reason will somehow still prevail. I along with millions of Americans
will pray for the safety of our troops, for the innocent civilians in
Iraq, and for the security of our homeland. May God continue to bless
the United States of America in the troubled days ahead, and may we
somehow recapture the vision which for the present eludes us.