21 October 2012

Quote for the day -- a war ago

"Every Senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood. Every Senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval and all across our land—young men without legs, or arms, or genitals, or faces or hopes.  There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure. Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor or courage. It does not take any courage at all for a Congressman, or a Senator, or a President to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes. And if we do not end this damnable war those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us."

George McGovern, 1970

8 Comments:

Blogger Ahab said...

History repeats itself, ad nauseum. And it's always the ordinary people who suffer the most from their leaders' unwillingness to learn from history.

Rest in peace, Mr. McGovern.

21 October, 2012 10:57  
Blogger Steve said...

To think a man (war hero) who spoke such truth would lose the presidency to Nixon, and then be turned out of politics during the Reagan revolution.
So much more to be said about the direction of American politics after Nixon won a second term, but I'll leave it at; RIP George McGovern.

21 October, 2012 11:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ahab: They nearly got me. If the Vietnam war had lasted three more years, it would still have been going on when I reached draft age.

Steve: The fact that he would speak as bluntly as this makes his might-have-been Presidency all the more poignant of a loss.

21 October, 2012 13:57  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

George McGovern was a fine bomber pilot, a great senator and a splendid human being. He ran one of the worst presidential campaigns I've ever seen, yet he was one of the greatest presidents we never had.


In this quote he spoke truth to power and made a call to conscience. It's an excellent example of McGovern's good sense and decency.

We need many more like McGovern now. I see possibilities in Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren, to name two. May they win their elections and inspire others like them to run and to win.

21 October, 2012 23:05  
Anonymous NickM said...

I see hope in Gary Johnson. OK, I know this is a left-wing blog but I read it. So sorry and all. But let's forget our economic differences for a bit. What scares me is how so many US Republicans want to build the Republic of Gilead. I simply can't believe that the vast majority of Americans are really that fussed about two blokes getting married or a woman getting the pill. Seriously does anyone really care about such when they are looking at losing their job and their house being made homeless?

And I've spent a fair bit of time in the *Southern* USA.

Infidel, I share (kinda) your presentiments about Romney. He looks and sounds like Barbie's Ken gone middle-aged. He is very odd.

23 October, 2012 06:15  
Anonymous NickM said...

Oh, and in context of the quote. I have seen all those names on the memorial in DC. And then how many Vietnamese, Cambodians etc. also died or were maimed. How many still due to UXOs? A war is a tragedy. A war that kills millions and is lost is a NĂ­rnaeth Arnoediad.

23 October, 2012 06:20  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SWA: Perhaps McGovern was a man ahead of his time. I think he'd be more successful with the America of today -- largely because we now have the Vietnam war in hindsight, and know he was right.

NM: I simply can't believe that the vast majority of Americans are really that fussed about two blokes getting married or a woman getting the pill.

It depends what you mean by "fussed". Hardly anyone thinks birth control is "wrong" any more, and gay marriage has reached majority acceptance. But when the right wing threatens access to contraception, then yes, people rightly feel concerned about that -- even in the midst of the slow recovery from the Bush recession. The problem is getting it through people's heads that the Republicans are serious about such things.

I see hope in Gary Johnson too, in that he may Naderize a few votes away from Romney in states like Colorado.

23 October, 2012 06:33  
Anonymous NickM said...

Infidel,
I get you. I hope you get me. Yes, cutting back the availability of contraception etc is something to provoke my outrage. What I meant by "Who cares?" was not that but who has a dismal enough existence to want to pry into other's sex-lives? That is what I meant.

23 October, 2012 07:01  

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