WASHINGTON – Anti-war Democrats on Wednesday bemoaned the nation's imminent attack on Iraq, with the Senate's most senior Democrat accusing the United States of arrogantly "flaunting" its superpower status.
"No more is the image of America one of a strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us," said Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.
Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, anti-war House Democrats hooked up a transatlantic satellite with members of the European Parliament, where in a bit of political theater, they charged President Bush with deceiving the American people to wage an illegal war.
"The president of the United States is essentially breaking the law," said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., who made headlines six months ago for traveling to Iraq with Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich.
McDermott and others charge an attack on Iraq is illegal for several reasons: War has not been authorized by the United Nations; no evidence of an imminent threat justifies the argument of self-defense; no proof exists that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction; and no direct connection can be made between Iraq and the Sept. 11 attacks.
"A majority of Americans believe that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 tragedies in our country. The administration has persuaded the American people those facts are correct," said Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, who recently clarified comments she made suggesting that Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda terrorists are acting in a similar vein to American revolutionaries.
Kaptur, the longest serving female Democrat in Congress, said the recent firestorm surrounding her remarks is similar to the backlash experienced by European nations opposed to war.
"We are severely punished inside the borders of this country through the media," Kaptur said.
McDermott too claimed the American people are being deceived.
"We have not seen a propaganda campaign in the world like this in about 70 years. This government has controlled the media and it does not allow a voice to be raised," he said.
While the Bush administration does say Iraq harbors terrorists including Al Qaeda, it has been careful never to say that Iraq was directly involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Furthermore, some of the lawmakers' own colleagues, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., both of whom oppose war and voted against a resolution authorizing military force against Iraq, say the president has all the legal authority he needs to wage war.
Fox News' Carl Cameron contributed to this report.