News Release

War Against Iraq — Who Should Decide?


The lead headline in this morning’s Washington Post is: “Bush Aides Say Iraq War Needs No Hill Vote.” In contrast, Wayne Morse — one of only two Senators who voted against the Gulf of Tonkin resolution used by the Johnson administration to escalate the Vietnam War — argued that declaring war is the responsibility of Congress. Audio of his 1964 statements is available:

Morse: “No war has been declared in Southeast Asia and until a war is declared it is my position that it is unconstitutional to send American boys to their death in South Vietnam or anywhere else in Southeast Asia… I don’t know why we think, just because we’re mighty, that we have the right to try to substitute might for right. And that’s the American policy in Southeast Asia — it’s just as unsound when we do it as when Russia does it.” Audio:

Morse: “Since when do we have to back our president — or should we — when the president is proposing an unconstitutional act?” Audio at:

Reporter: “Senator, the Constitution gives to the president of the United States the sole responsibility for the conduct of foreign policy.”
Morse: “Couldn’t be more wrong. You couldn’t make a more unsound legal statement than the one you have just made. This is the promulgation of an old fallacy that foreign policy belongs to the president of the United States — that’s nonsense — it belongs to the American people, and the Constitution of our fathers has made that very, very clear…”
Reporter: “You know that the American people cannot formulate and execute foreign policy.”
Morse: “Why do you say that? Why, you’re a man of little faith in democracy if you make that kind of an — I have complete faith in the ability of the American people to follow the facts if you’ll give them. And my charge against my government is we’re not giving the American people the facts.” Audio:

The following are among those available for interviews:

Gravel, currently president of Direct Democracy and sponsor of the National Initiative for Democracy, was a noted critic of the Vietnam War while in the Senate. He entered the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record.
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Author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time and Hope in Hard Times: America’s Peace Movement and the Reagan Era, Loeb said today: “As during the Vietnam War, we’re being asked to accept whatever the president does as wise and justified. By ceding our right to have a full national debate over whether we should go to war with Iraq, we’re setting the stage for similarly damaging potential consequences…”
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Executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Solomon recently wrote a Los Angeles Times article headlined: “Where Is the Voice of Dissent? As we weigh an attack on Iraq, we need someone like the Vietnam era’s Wayne Morse.” He said today: “Transfixed with tactical issues, none of the senators on television in recent days would dream of acknowledging the present relevance of a statement made by Senator [Wayne] Morse a third of a century ago: ‘We’re going to become guilty, in my judgment, of being the greatest threat to the peace of the world. It’s an ugly reality, and we Americans don’t like to face up to it.'”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167