Byrd Droppings.........

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Fri May 9 18:52:16 MDT 2003



Byrd droppings
Oliver North 
(<http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ollienorth/archive.shtml>archive)

May 9, 2003 | 
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "To me, it is an affront to the Americans killed or 
injured in Iraq for the president to exploit the trappings of war for the 
momentary spectacle of a speech." So charged Robert C. Byrd, the so-called 
"Dean of the Congress," referring to President George W. Bush's historic 
visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1 as it was making its way home 
after 10 months at sea.

Byrd, who in his salad days spent more time in white sheets than in 
camouflage uniforms, just doesn't get it. He doesn't understand that the 
respect and admiration America's soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have 
for this president is deep. He's grown too cold and cynical after 50 years 
in Washington to realize that the affection this commander in chief has for 
his troops is genuine. It's a welcome change from a previous occupant of 
the Oval Office, who "loathed" the dedicated young men and women of the 
armed forces.

Late last December, the sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln were headed home 
after a six month deployment to see their spouses and children who were 
eagerly awaiting their arrival. At that time, already exhausted, they 
received orders to turn around and return to the Persian Gulf to prepare 
for war.

For the next four months, the crew of 5,500 aboard the Lincoln served with 
distinction. They launched 597 combat sorties in support of Operation 
Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan; 975 sorties in support of Operation 
Southern Watch in Iraq; and 1,558 sorties in support of Operation Iraqi 
Freedom. They did it all without casualties. When their mission was 
completed, they had been deployed for 290 consecutive days and traveled 
over 100,000 miles -- the equivalent of circling the globe four times.

Their work supported the efforts of Marines, soldiers and special 
operations teams on the ground in Iraq, who themselves made history by 
traveling farther, faster and with fewer casualties than any military force 
in history.

Recognizing the extraordinary skill and dedication required to achieve 
victory, the president decided to say "well done" -- not only to the 
sailors on the Lincoln -- but to all of his troops in a way that they would 
appreciate. A former pilot, the president flew in on a Navy S-3B Viking and 
took the controls for part of the trip. By landing on a moving carrier -- 
an extraordinarily difficult feat -- he paid the crew on board the Lincoln 
the ultimate compliment -- he put his life in their hands. He never 
expressed a doubt that they would bring him in safely.

And yet Robert Byrd has the nerve to dismiss the president's tribute to the 
troops as that of "a deskbound president who assumes the garb of a warrior 
for the purposes of a speech."

What Byrd derides as "flamboyant showmanship" was the kind of leadership 
the people of West Virginia -- the state with the highest per capita 
service in the armed forces -- appreciate. Actions speak louder than words, 
and the president's "self-congratulatory gestures" are exactly the kinds of 
actions which endear this president to the troops he commands.

Truth be told, "flamboyant showmanship" far better describes Byrd's 
half-century career. For all his oratorical pretensions to Roman senatorial 
dignity, in actuality Byrd is the Don King of the Senate. With a safe seat 
in West Virginia and a singular mission to direct federal largesse back to 
the Mountain State, Byrd has used taxpayer's money to put his name on more 
buildings than Ronald McDonald. The Pork King's love of federally funded 
roads and bridges in West Virginia caused him to once remark, "You might as 
well threaten to slap my wife as take the highway money from West Virginia."

The Government Accounting Office would do the taxpayers a favor by 
investigating how much of their money has been wasted on pork barrel 
spending by Byrd. But that's unlikely to happen, since members like Henry 
Waxman, D-Calif., prefer to launch politically motivated investigations 
like the one to probe the cost of President Bush's tribute to the crew of 
the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Waxman insists that the event had "clear political overtones" and may have 
cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. But Waxman expressed no 
such concerns about the revolving door his buddy Bill put on the Lincoln 
Bedroom and the "political overtones" of Hollywood starlets turning the 
White House into the East Coast version of the Playboy Mansion.

Democrats' investigations, criticisms and calls for "regime change" are the 
kinds of nasty and bitter politics that don't sell in a time of war and 
only show just how desperate they are to put a chink in this president's 
armor. Such attacks on the president show their insensitivity to the armed 
forces he commands and remind the public of Democrat efforts to throw out 
the absentee ballots of military personnel during the 2000 Florida election.

Since Bill Clinton's tenure, Democrat efforts to win the trust and respect 
of our men and women in uniform has been a labor of Sisyphus. It just 
became more complicated with Byrd's attack.

Oliver North is host of <http://www.northamerican.com>Common Sense Radio 
with Oliver North and founder and honorary chairman of 
<http://www.freedomalliance.org>Freedom Alliance. Both are TownHall.com 
member groups.

©2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
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