[bumped - Barbara Morrill]
Senator Robert Byrd has died:
Robert Carlyle Byrd, the longest-serving member of Congress in United States history, who spent much of his career as a conservative Democrat and ended it by fiercely opposing the war in Iraq and challenging the state's powerful coal industry, died over the weekend. He was 92.
Byrd was hospitalized late last week with what was thought to be heat exhaustion and severe dehydration, according to his staff, which did not announce his hospitalization until Sunday afternoon. At that time, doctors described him as "seriously ill."
Condolences to his family and friends.
With a career that spanned more than half a century, there is much to be said about Byrd's actions and accomplishments -- both good and bad -- but what many most appreciate about him was his fierce opposition to the war in Iraq. Ahead of the vote to authorize the war, with amazing prescience, Byrd said:
If the United States leads the charge to war in the Persian Gulf, we may get lucky and achieve a rapid victory. But then we face a second war: a war to win the peace in Iraq. This war will last many years and will surely cost hundreds of billions of dollars. In light of this enormous task, it would be a great mistake to expect that this will be a replay of the 1991 war. The stakes are much higher in this conflict.
Sadly, he was right on all counts.