War and the U.S. Congress: Responsibilities and Evasions
- August 2 -
MIKE GRAVEL, email@example.com,
Gravel, currently president of Direct Democracy and sponsor of the National Initiative
for Democracy, was a noted critic of the Vietnam War while in the Senate. He entered
the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. He said today: "This is a déjà
vu of Tonkin and the evidence seems to be as flimsy. [Senate Foreign Relations
Committee chairman J. William] Fulbright's biggest regret, he would later say,
was signing off on the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964. The incident was a lie
about a supposed attack on U.S. vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin, fabricated by the
Johnson government to give legitimacy to the expansion of the Vietnam War. There
seems to be a similar rush to a 'Tonkin judgment' in the Senate to give the Bush
administration legitimacy for an attack on Iraq. A 'War on Terror' is a diffused
type of Cold War, which is worldwide, even in Oklahoma and New York. To sustain
the war fever the administration hawks need a hot war to sustain a national war
NORMAN SOLOMON, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His op-ed
piece in today's Los Angeles Times is highly critical of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, which has just concluded two days of hearings on Iraq. The
committee is playing a very different role than when the Senate panel aired dissenting
perspectives during early years of the Vietnam War, the article says. "Transfixed
with tactical issues, none of the senators on television in recent days would
dream of acknowledging the present relevance of a statement made by Senator [Wayne]
Morse a third of a century ago: 'We're going to become guilty, in my judgment,
of being the greatest threat to the peace of the world. It's an ugly reality,
and we Americans don't like to face up to it.'"
WILLIAM HARTUNG, email@example.com,
Senior research fellow at the World Policy Institute and co-author of "Axis of
Influence: Behind the Bush Administration's Missile Defense Program," Hartung
said today: "With House passage last week of the $10 billion 'Cost of War Against
Terrorism Authorization Act,' Congress has signed off on more than $150 billion
in new military spending in the first 19 months of the Bush administration. If,
as suspected, these new funds are to be diverted to prepare for war against Iraq,
the immense costs incurred so far by the Bush administration's ... open-ended
'war on terrorism' will be just the down payment on a massive buildup that could
exceed the military spending binge of the Reagan era."
ROBERT BUZZANCO, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://vi.uh.edu/pages/fac/buzzanco.html
Associate professor of history at the University of Houston, Buzzanco is author
of Masters of War: Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era and
Vietnam and the Transformation of American Life. He said today: "It's important
to remember that while everyone talks of the anti-war movement in the 1960s, the
Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed in 1964 by 98 to 2. Fulbright only held hearings
after there was a people's movement against the war. Congress rarely has the courage
to do something on its own and debate is limited over the tactics of how to attack.
Often what drives war is not what's actually happening in Southeast Asia or the
Mideast, but the perceived interests of some domestic groups."
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