“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 [hospitals] 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.”
Wow, what can you say of this speech? Nothing, but prophetic might be a word that comes to mind. George McGovern, who was roundly defeated by Richard Nixon for the American presidency in 1972, died ,age 90 on Sunday. The speech was delivered in the US senate in 1970.
The journalist Chris Hedges writing about McGovern’s unquestionable integrity and fundamental decency wrote
McGovern’s moral condemnation was greeted in the chamber with stunned silence. When one senator told McGovern he was personally offended by his remarks, McGovern answered: “That’s what I meant to do.”
Nixon of course thrashed McGovrn.Americans are constitutionally unable to process bad news.They are eternally optimistic, believe they are the exceptional nation, can solve all problems by imposing military solutions.
These solutions as history shows always end up by the poor paying the price in money and blood. Wealthy white men like Bush and Cheney, war shirkers deluxe, have never had any compunction about sending minorities to do the dirty work in far off lamds.Remember Michael Moore confronting the Congressman in Fahrenheit 911. Only 1 of 450 in Congress had children in Iraq.
McGovern held up the mirror to his Senate colleagues. They were deeply offended as the guilty always are when the prophetic comes to town.
Men like McGovern are the real American heroes.