Former Presidential Candidate George McGovern Criticizes US Role In Iraq
by : Greg Joyce
Sunday July 9, 2006 - 05:46
Former Presidential Candidate George McGovern Criticizes US Role In Iraq By Greg Joyce July 8, 2006
CASTLEGAR, B.C. (CP) - The United States government is making the same mistake in Iraq as it did in Vietnam and is jeopardizing its international standing in the world, former senator George McGovern said Saturday.
The former presidential candidate told a crowd of about 300 people that the U.S. government’s decision to enter Iraq is "cut from same cloth" as the decision to enter Vietnam.
"This business of selling a large part of the American people on the notion that the best way to fight terrorism is to put our army into Iraq is cut from the same cloth of unreality and cynicism," McGovern said in the keynote speech at a weekend reunion of Vietnam era draft dodgers and deserters.
He told the crowd that Americans haven’t learned as much as they should about the lessons of the past - a reference to the 58,000 U.S. soldiers who died in the Vietnam conflict.
Millions of Vietnamese also died in the war.
McGovern, 83, recalled the messages of two former U.S. generals who became presidents - George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower - as they left office.
They both warned about the dangers of an expanding U.S. military complex.
"We are jeopardizing the very liberties that we profess to be fighting to save by engaging in these costly and in many respects self-defeating wars," said McGovern. "I wish we would heed the words of these two great generals."
He said he believes the U.S. may now be heading towards "the misplaced military power of which they speak and I think it jeopardizes the quality of our lives and the standing of America in the world."
He drew laughter when he closed his speech by saying that those two generals were not liberals "but it just shows that even conservatives sometimes speak the truth."
He told the audience that he was proud to be a liberal, "even a bleeding-heart liberal."
The failed 1972 presidential candidate made it clear he was not opposed to war - he fought in World War II - but he never supported the Vietnam War, which he described as a "stupid, useless war."
"I’m sick and tired of old men dreaming up wars in which young men do the dying."
McGovern was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1972, losing to Richard Nixon.
He was first elected to the Senate in 1962 and re-elected in 1968 and 1974. He served UN appointments under presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
He left the Senate in 1980 and taught at several institutions.
He has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United State’s highest civilian honour, in 2000.
Although reunion organizer Isaac Romano said a month ago that the Our Way Home Reunion and Peace Event might attract as many as 1,000 participants, the turnout for the workshops and panels was much smaller.
War resisters and a few veterans came together on the event’s opening day, participating in a workshop called Healing the Effects of War Together.
Many other panels and workshops through the weekend brought together anti-war activists, veterans and draft dodgers to discuss the implications and effects of their decisions many decades ago.
Most of the participants at the reunion are Vietnam War draft dodgers or deserters, along with a handful of Vietnam veterans including David Cline, the president of Veterans for Peace.
He received several medals for bravery, he said Sunday, but he quickly "developed an intense dislike for the lies that were told us."
U.S. lawyer Jeff House was at the reunion and told reporters Saturday that he now represents about 20 soldiers who have either deserted from the Iraq war or went to Canada before they were sent to Iraq.
"They refuse to be involved in a giant crime," said House.
Ernest Hekannen, a Nelson, B.C. artist who moved to this area rather than get drafted for Vietnam, said the U.S. must recognize the "enormity of its deeds in Vietnam or it will continue to commit war crimes."
The reunion is to honour U.S. draft resisters who came to Canada during the late 1960s and early ’70s and the Canadians who welcomed them.
While it’s not clear how many Iraq War deserters are in Canada, fighting to be allowed to stay, it’s only a fraction of the number of Vietnam War resisters and deserters who moved to Canada.
The reunion is being held in this West Kootenay city, a region where hundreds of draft dodgers settled in the late 1960s and early 70s.
Many draft dodgers returned after President Jimmy Carter granted an amnesty in 1977. It’s believed that about half the original number chose to remain in Canada.
The reunion did not draw any protesters despite some opposition two years ago when organizers first announced the event, along with a bronze sculpture of two Canadians welcoming a draft evader.
At that time, some Vietnam veterans groups expressed outrage at the idea of statue honouring draft resisters.
The bronze statue was unveiled Saturday night and will find a home at Hekannen’s art gallery-home in Nelson.
The art was initially slated to be put on public display in Nelson almost two years ago.
The City of Nelson initially supported the statue and reunion but withdrew its support in face of the controversy.
THE SECOND MYSTERY AROUND MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT MH370
Thursday 17 - 17:45by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Judge Asked To Recuse Himself In EU Human Rights Case
Thursday 17 - 13:41by WireNews+Co
Thursday April the 17th is the Palestinian Prisoners Day
Wednesday 16 - 10:20
Disaster Draws Nigh : A Great Choice Beckons
Tuesday 15 - 11:55by SON OF A BUSH
A Cacaphony of Paltry Frogs : It’s all over but the shooting
Monday 14 - 22:40by Daniel Patrick Welch
HURTLING INTO DARKNESS: AMERICA’S GREAT LEAP TOWARDS GLOBAL TYRANNY
Monday 14 - 19:16by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Voices of Ukraine: ’Kiev, People Are Not Cattle!’
Saturday 12 - 03:10by Johnny Canuck
Nuclear Dangers in Ukraine Crisis
Thursday 10 - 09:30
Fifty years after the overthrow, in Brazil, of democratically elected president Joao Goulart, Washington’s support to the coup must not be forgotten
Thursday 10 - 08:52by TOUSSAINT Eric
The Red Line and the Rat Line
Thursday 10 - 08:44by Seymour M. Hersh
Assad Is There to Stay
Wednesday 9 - 11:33by Nicola Nasser
THE LIMP LEFT CLING TO REL-LIE ABLE OBAMA
Monday 7 - 18:55by Son OF A BUSH
Putin Flushes the US Dollar: Russia’s Gold Ruble Payments System Delinked from Dollar?
Monday 7 - 09:46by Umberto Pascali
South Sudan Facing Famine Crisis
Sunday 6 - 05:51by Brian McAfee
Climate inaction from explict denialism and effective climate change denialism
Saturday 5 - 17:42by Dr Gideon Polya
Saturday 5 - 10:40by
Drugs and politics: how Rafael Louzán played his opponent
Friday 4 - 19:19by libertavigo
AMERICA: THE MOST CORRUPT DEMOCRACY MONEY CAN BUY
Friday 4 - 03:44by David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
Current Philippine Government And Military Using ongoing Extra-Judicial
Wednesday 2 - 01:29by Brian McAfee
letter of april to Obama.
Tuesday 1 - 19:19by kakine
Western hypocrisy re Crimea-Russia re-union versus Israeli Occupation & genocide
Tuesday 1 - 05:12by Dr Gideon Polya
Rafael Louzán and Hermelino Alonso: opening the doors for drugs
Monday 31 - 11:24
Tens of Thousands First Nations Children Died in Canada’s Residential Schools
Sunday 30 - 10:59by Johnny Canuck
UKRAINIANS SOON TO SCREAM : " I M F ’ D "
Sunday 30 - 04:15by SON OF A BUSH
Japan Stops Treating Radioactive Water
Friday 28 - 22:34by Bob Nichols, Project Censored Award Winner
Casablanca-Morocco: Stop union-busting at Total Call.
Wednesday 26 - 19:30by U.M.T.
Confirming the Tony Benn commemoration
Wednesday 26 - 10:48by Stop the War Coalition
Time to grab guns and kill damn Russians – Tymoshenko in leaked tape
Tuesday 25 - 11:37
We should find better heroes than Meir Har-Zion
Monday 24 - 11:15by Yossi Sarid
OBAMA IS A PEACH : VERY IMPEACHABLE
Saturday 22 - 19:35by SON OF A BUSH
Ukraine - Who Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
Saturday 22 - 04:37by Johnny Canuck
American Republic Manifestum Treatise is free to download
Friday 21 - 19:26by Willam Morgan
Michelle Bachelet Returns To Her Old Job, Being President Of Chile
Wednesday 19 - 23:27by Brian McAfee
Counterproductive Reactive Saudi Policies
Tuesday 18 - 11:38by Nicola Nasser
Europe’s Anti-Fascists, wake up! The Brown Plague is back!
Friday 14 - 18:52by g.
Review:“Utopia” by John Pilger exposes Apartheid Australia’s Aboriginal Genocide
Friday 14 - 06:11by Dr Gideon Polya
A Proposal of Peace to President Obama
Tuesday 11 - 06:16by SON OF A BUSH
Fukushima: A River Runs Through It
Saturday 8 - 17:03by Bob Nichols, Project Censored Award Winner
HILLARY LIKENS PUTIN TO HITLER
Saturday 8 - 05:36by SON OF A BUSH
Polio Continues To Be A Major Threat For Millions Of Children
Saturday 8 - 00:39by Brian McAfee