It seems to me that George McGovern would know something about war and peace. He’s seen both and remains a strong advocate for the latter.
I covered McGovern’s speech at the 2010 McGovern Conference Monday afternoon at Dakota Wesleyan University. Although the conference was themed to the topic of alternative energy, the former congressman and senator was in a mood to talk history and the military.
The old World War II bomber pilot said he favored withdrawing our forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and closing most military bases around the world. He also called for a $200 billion reduction in military spending.
McGovern, who celebrated his 88th birthday with a skydive this summer, said he feels the American military presence causes some of the hard feelings and hatred people feel for our country. He compared it with the early American patriots’ dislike for British troops stationed in the colonies.
McGovern also talked about his new autobiography, which he said will be out in the spring. He brought two chapters of it with him and looked at it from time to time during his admittedly “rambling” speech. He said he writes every word of books because he doesn’t trust anyone else to get the words straight.
McGovern did touch on energy at one point and he worked it into his personal story and his thoughts on war. He said a German leader once said he knew they would lose World War II when he saw Nazi tanks so low on fuel that they were being pulled by horses.
And he said the German fuel shortage was a relief for pilots like him, who rarely saw enemy aircraft in the closing months of the war. McGovern said the Allies added to the Nazi’s pain, since they made fuel depots their top target.
My McGovern story is all overÂ newspaper websites in the state andÂ some people have been commenting that they feel McGovern doesn’t support or understand soldiers or war. It seems like he has had a front-row seat to it, so his words are worth hearing.
Here’s the full story from Monday’s speech: http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/event/article/id/47691/