We should have listened to West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd (D) on March 19, 2003. At the start of his prophetic speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Byrd said:
Today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned.
Four days later, March 23, President George Bush launched “Shock and Awe”, an assault not only on Iraq, but on all that the U.S. is supposed to stand for. Senator Byrd was ignored. But his words are still prophetic. “After war has ended, the United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will have to rebuild America’s image around the globe.”
That rebuilding will require leaders who will listen to the prophets when they warn us against our arrogance.