Sunday, October 21, 2012

George McGovern has died

George McGovern
George McGovern, who had been ill lately and was moved to a hospice earlier this week, died to day at the age of 90.

A tireless champion of peace abroad and social justice at home, he was soundly defeated in his presidential bid by Richard Nixon... who only a few months later had to resign the office in disgrace. In retrospect, this was a turning point, perhaps, and a sad one. I was in high school then, and really a Bobby Kennedy supporter, but I got in mild trouble for adding the line "We're leaving to go work for George McGovern!" to a school play. Eagleton and the war in Vietnam - McGovern, a WWII vet, was tarred as a spineless peacenik - but here's a bit of an op-ed from 2007, responding to a Dick Cheney speech:
He also said that the McGovern way is to surrender in Iraq and leave the U.S. exposed to new dangers. The truth is that I oppose the Iraq war, just as I opposed the Vietnam War, because these two conflicts have weakened the U.S. and diminished our standing in the world and our national security.

In the war of my youth, World War II, I volunteered for military service at the age of 19 and flew 35 combat missions, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross as the pilot of a B-24 bomber. By contrast, in the war of his youth, the Vietnam War, Cheney got five deferments and has never seen a day of combat -- a record matched by President Bush.

Cheney charged that today's Democrats don't appreciate the terrorist danger when they move to end U.S. involvement in the Iraq war. The fact is that Bush and Cheney misled the public when they implied that Iraq was involved in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks. . .

On one point I do agree with Cheney: Today's Democrats are taking positions on the Iraq war similar to the views I held toward the Vietnam War. But that is all to the good.

The war in Iraq has greatly increased the terrorist danger. There was little or no terrorism, insurgency or civil war in Iraq before Bush and Cheney took us into war there five years ago. Now Iraq has become a breeding ground of terrorism, a bloody insurgency against our troops and a civil war.

Beyond the deaths of more than 3,100 young Americans and an estimated 600,000 Iraqis, we have spent nearly $500 billion on the war, which has dragged on longer than World War II.
RIP, George. You were on the right side, always.

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