--former senator George McGovern.
Listen up. There's an old dude hanging out in America, in South Dakota, who The Daddy respects to the highest and views as one of his heroes. Why a hero?
1. As a veteran, he won the distinguished Flying Cross award for heroism during World War II;
2. As a legislator in the senate, he proposed bills and supported bills for working people: Increase in the minimum wage, better healthcare for working people, especially for the children and the elderly; and
3. He was the first senator to speak out against the Vietnam war on the floor of the senate. George McGovern was courageous.
Now, he's speaking out again. In Truthdig, an online progressive magazine with some of the best journalists around, McGovern gave this unsolicited advice to President Obama: Get out of Afghanistan. Check it out.
By Narda Zacchino
George McGovern has some advice for President Barack Obama: Get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.
“I’m convinced that war is going to turn sour. I’m convinced we’re not going to prevail there,” McGovern, the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, said Sunday at a Truthdig event in West Los Angeles.
The former U.S. senator from South Dakota noted that “some of the best reporters over there are telling us that the Taliban are getting stronger and we’re getting weaker in the minds of the people, and that you have a corrupt government involved in drugs, involved in just plain old-fashioned stealing and corruption. It’s a lousy government, and it’s very difficult, even for a great country like [the U.S.], to make them look good. So I think we have every reason to withdraw.”
McGovern’s comments came on the heels of a New York Times report that Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, on the CIA payroll for nearly eight years, is suspected by many top American officials of being involved in that country’s lucrative and illicit opium trade. President Karzai himself drew criticism after the United Nations declared one-third of his votes in his Aug. 20 re-election to be fraudulent, forcing a runoff with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. Karzai’s rival eventually withdrew, saying the runoff would not be any less rigged. The vote was canceled and Karzai was officially declared the winner Monday.Against this backdrop, and with October the deadliest month yet for U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan with 55 killed, Obama has put off a decision on whether to send thousands more troops to that country as requested by the top U.S. commander there, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
McGovern said Sunday he did not want to see Obama head down the path of Democrat Lyndon Johnson, for whom another quagmire, the Vietnam War, spelled the end to his presidency. The former legislator, who won the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism during World War II, noted he was the first member to oppose the Vietnam War on the floor of the Senate.
A historian, McGovern said he would remind Obama that foreign powers have been trying unsuccessfully to prevail in Afghanistan “ever since Alexander the Great. Genghis Khan even made a shot at it. The British throughout the 19th century were in there several times trying to pacify the [country] and finally gave up. The Russians were there for 11 years, 1979 until 1990, they put in 100,000 crack soldiers, 25,000 of them killed ... in Afghanistan, another 25,000 crippled or injured. And the Russian treasury went broke, and some of our best Soviet experts believe that’s what really led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
Asked how he would get out of Afghanistan if he were president, McGovern said: “I would say to the Afghan people that ‘we’ve been here for eight years, and we’ve come to the conclusion we can’t resolve your problems. You’ve got the Taliban, you may have al-Qaida, but—our soldiers have fought, died bravely—but it’s my conclusion, as president of the United States, that we can’t resolve the problems here. We’ll do what we can to help you, but we can’t do it with our military forces. As a matter of fact, while we’ve been here, the Taliban have grown stronger, and we don’t know where al-Qaida is—we think they’re in Pakistan—but having our troops in Afghanistan is not going to help that. So it’s our judgment that the best thing for us, and maybe for you, is for you to take over the handling of your own problems.”
To read the rest of the story, click here.
Should we be in Afghanistan? Should we contribute to a war with no end and no certain outcome? What do you think?