Thursday, January 18, 2007

George McGovern on the Iraq War

McGovern circa 1972 (photo: Ann Victoria Phillips)

George McGovern is actively campaigning for a change of policy in the Iraq War. He spoke to the National Press Club on 01/12/07 and The Nation Online published the text of his speech under the title I enjoyed his opening paragraph:

I'm glad to be back at the National Press Club. Indeed, at the age of eighty-four, I'm glad to be anywhere. In my younger years when the subject of aging came up, trying to sound worldly wise, I would say, "It doesn't matter so much the number of years you have, but what you do with those years." I don't say that anymore. I now want to reach a hundred. Why? Because I thoroughly enjoy life and there are so many things I must still do before entering the mystery beyond. The most urgent of these is to get American soldiers out of the Iraqi hellhole Bush-Cheney and their neoconservative theorists have created in what was once called the cradle of civilization. It is believed to be the location of the Garden of Eden. I mention the neoconservative theorists to recall Walter Lippman's observance, "There is nothing so dangerous as a belligerent professor." (my emphasis)
He also draw on his own experience to challenge Bush:

Mr. President, I do not speak either as a pacifist or a draft dodger. I speak as one who after the attack on Pearl Harbor, volunteered at the age of nineteen for the Army Air Corps and flew thirty-five missions as a B-24 bomber. I believed in that war then and I still do sixty-five years later. And so did the rest of America. Mr. President, are you missing the intellectual and moral capacity to know the difference between a justified war and a war of folly in Vietnam or Iraq?
The whole thing is good. At the end he adds a geneological tidbit about William Polk, his co-author on Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now (2006), which I reviewed a couple of months ago. He says that Polk is a descendent of President James K. Polk, who was President during the Mexican War.


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