Senator Robert C. Byrd introduced an amendment on Wednesday to the 2006 Defense Appropriations Bill requiring the Bush administration to reveal how much the Afghanistan and Iraq wars cost. The bill by a unanimous vote of the senators present.
Sen. John Kerry, D- Mass, called Byrd “perhaps the most forceful and eloquent and prescient member of the United States Senate. He has been consistent and he has been strong in his criticisms of the war in Iraq. All of us in the Senate are immensely respectful.”
During his speech, Byrd said, “The [Bush] administration needs to step up to the plate and tell Congress and the American people how much it expects to spend on the war, what the money will be used for, and how our nation is going to foot that bill.”
Byrd consistently supported the war in Afghanistan responding to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But he has always opposed the war in Iraq, a country with no proven connection to those terrorist attacks.
Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., also a critic of the Iraq war, said, “We are unwelcome tenants in that country today.”
“With 18,000 American troops in Afghanistan and 149,000 troops in Iraq that are risking their lives each and every day, one would think that the Pentagon could muster the courage to estimate how much money it will take to support our fighting men and women,” Byrd said.