Charles Peters on Robert Byrd

I have to concede that Byrd may have found the courage to take this stand only when he realized that death was near and that he would not be running for office again. There can be no doubt, however, about the courage he displayed in his great speech against George W. Bush’s rush to war in Iraq in 2003. Most of his fellow Democrats were afraid to join him that day; all but two had opposed the first Gulf war and feared that, in the eyes of the voters, history had proved them wrong. They did not want to risk a similar verdict this time. But Byrd took the risk. Moreover, his stand showed bravery in another way. West Virginians have a history of military service, with one of the highest, if not the highest percentage of its population to have made the ultimate sacrifice in their country’s wars. And like many other members of his generation who had not served in World War II Byrd was especially sensitive to this issue. He knew that by opposing the war he opened himself to accusations of cowardice and failure to support our troops.

link: How Robert Byrd Won My Respect | The New Republic

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