Byrd Chides Bush on Iraq

Posted April 30, 2008 at 3:16pm

The longest-serving yet often unseen Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) made a rare appearance on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon to scold the Bush administration on its war policy. The President Pro Tem noted that Thursday marks the fifth anniversary of President Bush’s fateful “Mission Accomplished” speech after the U.S. military invasion of Iraq. Byrd criticized the president for using the military as political show business. “The president’s declaration of ‘Mission Accomplished’ proved wildly premature and dangerously naive. The complete lack of foresight and planning by the president for what lay ahead became tragically clear in short order,” the 91-year-old Senator admonished, while sitting in his Senate chair. Hunched over his front-row desk and appearing to struggle with his words, Byrd steadfastly took shots at the president. The West Virginia Senator has become one of the most outspoken critics of the president’s war policy. Most recently, rumors were circulating that the Senator would have to forfeit his gavel as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee because of concerns about his age and failing health. Byrd recently rejected calls for his ouster. After a recent Appropriations hearing conducted by Byrd, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) praised the ailing Senator for his leadership, saying that Byrd had managed the hearing well. She added that she was not “privy to conservations for him to step aside.”