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View Diary: VIDEO from 1999: Byron Dorgan vs. Gramm Leach Bliley-- WOW (197 comments)

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  •  As red-state senators... (6+ / 0-)

    ...I find both Dorgan and Conrad to be admirable. Conrad voted against the Iraq war resolution- see excerpts below. I don't always agree with everything they say and do- they generally support the dysfunctional farm-subsidy system, for instance- but they both have got some cojones to stand up and take Democratic stands in a pretty red state.

    When other Dems were falling all over themselves to beat their chests and vote for war with Iraq, Kent Conrad said this on the eve of the AUMF resolution:

    the President is contemplating a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq with the goal of ousting Saddam Hussein and installing a new regime. Never before in the history of this nation has the Congress voted to authorize a preemptive attack on a country that has not first attacked us or our allies.

    In my judgment, an invasion of Iraq at this time would make the United States less secure rather than more secure. It would make a dangerous world even more dangerous.

    
First, we have unfinished business with the terrorists of al Qaeda...I believe defeating the terrorists who launched the attacks on the United States on September 11th must be our first priority, before we launch a new war on a new front.

    ...an invasion of Iraq for the purposes of regime change would necessitate a march on Baghdad. Such a course would expose our forces on the ground to serious risks, in hand-to-hand, street-by-street urban warfare in a foreign capital. We would lose much of our advantage in superior air power and technology. The military and civilian casualties could be substantial.

    
...a unilateral attack by the United States could destabilize an already volatile and dangerous region, and inflame anti-American interests around the globe.

    ...Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups could gain more willing suicide bombers, and raise even greater financial resources from the wealthy nations of the region...General Wesley Clark...warned us: "We're liable to super-charge recruiting for al Qaeda."

    ...if this nation asserts that pre-emptive military attacks are justified in this conflict, what are the consequences for other conflicts around the world? Would India or Pakistan claim the same justification in Kashmir, raising the prospect of nuclear war in South Asia? ...Could Russia use this justification to re-occupy parts of the former Soviet Union?

    
And ...while the financial costs of this effort should not drive this debate, we cannot ignore them. The Congressional Budget Office has just estimated that an invasion of Iraq could cost this nation $6 billion to $9 billion a month...

    Which brings me to my final point. If our goal is to topple Saddam, what is our responsibility for the regime that follows? Forming a new government in Iraq is far from simple. There is no clear successor to Saddam. Iraq is a country filled with competing ethnic groups, religious and tribal factions, with no history of democracy.

    I do not want to see our forces mired in a long occupation, in dangerous territory, in a destabilized region, subject to violence within Iraq. I do not want to see the United States responsible for the stability of Iraq, the economy of Iraq, and the political future of that nation.

    As far as level-headed prescience is concerned, both of North Dakota's senators can't be beat.

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