October 6, 2007

McGovern on National Security and the Reason Why we are Occupying Iraq

Thanks to the most crudely partisan decision in the history of the Supreme court, the nation has been given a President of painfully limited wisdom and compassion and lacking any sense of the nation's true greatness.

George McGovern began his essay, "The Reason Why," with these words in April 2003, soon after the start of the Iraq war. McGovern speaks with authority about war, having survived thirty-five combat missions over hostile Germany as the pilot of a B-24 bomber. Others were not so lucky. McGovern reflects on his friend Eddie Kendall:

Eddie was torn in half by a blast of shrapnel during the Battle of the Bulge - dead at age 19, during the opening days of the battle - the best baseball player and pheasant hunter I knew.

McGovern knows there is much more to "national security" than military might, a capacity that is now being questioned when it comes to the United States. James Galbraith notes:

Bush and Cheney have done more than bungle a war and damage the Army. They have destroyed the foundation of the post-Cold War world security system, which was the accepted authority of American military power. That reputation is now gone.

McGovern cites domestic examples of how Bush has undermined our national security, after noting the creation of the "costly and largely useless" Department of Homeland Security:

Meanwhile, such fundamental building blocks of national security as full employment and a strong labor movement are of no concern. The nearly $1.5 trillion tax giveaway, largely for the further enrichment of those already rich, will have to be made up by cutting government services and shifting a larger share of the tax burden to workers and the elderly.

He continues to cite other sources of civil discontent that undermine national security:

The same families who are exploited by a rich man's government find their sons and daughters being called to war... but not the sons of the rich and well connected.

The US debt is becoming insurmountable when you consider that the tax revenue base is diminishing because outsourced jobs are not going to return. Even former Treasury Secretary Robert Ruben has pondered that ideologues like Bush are weakening the US Government's financial capacity on purpose to increase the relative strength of private capital; they want less government, and they are making that a reality.

Unfortunately, in the process, the entire world economy is teetering on the edge as a result. It is sobering to think of the implications of the likely financial debacle that will result from Bush's policies, as old school economist John King has in a general way:

... if you persist in believing that Uncle Sam is going to bail you out, or anyone else out, forget it [Bush's policies of "less government" have made this even more true]. There is no insurance program that will ultimately return your money to your hands. Nor is there any prevention against the domestic social violence that will erupt when financial chaos descends.

It is this level of "national security" with which Bush is flirting, but he and the inside-crowd don't care. They will hide behind the security compounds and Blackwater bodyguards paid for with the largess accumulated over the last two terms of the Bush presidency... or so they think.

McGovern also addresses the role of God in all of this.

The President frequently confides to individuals and friendly audiences that he is guided by God's hand..... I most certainly don't see God at work in the slaughter and destruction now unfolding in Iraq or in the war plans now being developed for additional American invasions of other lands.

Seymour Hersh recently informs us of refined Pentagon plans to attack Iran, justified by unsubstantiated claims of Iranian military interference in Iraq. We teeter on a war that threatens to be spread by President Bush. People should not doubt that Iran can bring the war US shores if it chooses to do so; how difficult would it be to sneak into the vast US and plant bombs somewhere along the countless miles of US roads? If they hit military vehicles on US roads, that's not terrorism, it's war, a war the US started.

As to "The Reason Why" Bush is undermining our national security, McGovern, who was once an insider, sums it up:

Bush's motives have more to do with empire and profit than with liberating Iraq.

George McGovern was the US Senator of South Dakota from 1962 to 1980 and Democratic candidate for President in 1972. If South Dakota was a separate nation, it had enough nuclear missiles to have been ranked the third largest nuclear power during the cold war.


The Reason Why, George McGovern, Nation Magazine, April 21, 2003.

Mother Jones Magazine, "Quitting Iraq won't undo the the war’s damage to U.S. security.", James K. Galbraith. March/April 2006.

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