Questions to Mr. Bush, posed a year ago are still unanswered
George McGovern, senator from South Dakota from 1962 to 1980
The Bush Administration has vigorously and effectively responded to the terrorist attack of September 11. The country seems united behind that effort. Certainly there was no hint of a doubt in the repeated standing ovations Congress gave the President's State of the Union address, including his bold declaration that the war on terrorism has just begun. The President singled out Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the most likely next targets of America's aroused ire against terrorists and governments that attempt to acquire weapons of mass destruction that we, the Russians, the British, the French, the Chinese, the Indians, the Pakistanis and the Israelis already possess.
No longer in government, I do not have the benefit of national security briefings or Congressional committee deliberations. So perhaps instead of making assertions, it may be more appropriate for me to ask some questions that have been on my mind both before and since September 11.
Which course might produce better results in advancing American security? Is it by continuing to boycott, diplomatically and commercially, such countries as Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Cuba and threatening to bomb them? Or would we be better off opening up diplomatic, trade and travel relations with these countries, including a well-staffed embassy in each? If we are fearful of a country and doubtful of its intentions, wouldn't we be safer having an embassy with professional foreign service officers located in that country to tell us what is going on?
Our leaders frequently speak of "rogue nations." But what is a rogue nation? Isn't it simply one we have chosen to boycott because it doesn't always behave the way we think it should? Do such nations behave better when they are isolated and boycotted against any normal discourse? What do we have to lose in talking to "rogue nations" diplomatically, trading with them commercially and observing their economic, political and military conditions?
Instead of adding $48 billion to the Pentagon budget, as the President has proposed, wouldn't we make the world a more stable, secure place if we invested half of that sum in reducing poverty, ignorance, hunger and disease in the world? We are now twentieth among nations in the percentage of gross national product devoted to improving life in the poor nations. If we invested half of the proposed new military spending in lifting the quality of life for the world's poor we would be the first among nations in helping others.
Is it possible that such an achievement would reduce some of the gathering anger that the poor and miserable of the earth may be inclined to direct at the rich and indifferent? Why does a wealthy zealot like Osama bin Laden gain such a huge following among the poor and powerless of the world? Acting on the old adage "charity begins at home," why not invest the other half of the proposed new money for the Pentagon in raising the educational, nutritional, housing and health standards of our own people?
Our military services are the best in the world. But with a military budget at record levels, do we need to allocate another $48 billion-an amount greater than the total military budget of any other nation? Is not the surest foundation for our military forces a healthy, educated, usefully employed citizenry? And is not the best way to diminish some of the international trouble spots, which might embroil our young men and women, by reducing the festering poverty, misery and hopelessness of a suffering world?
Of course we need to take reasonable precautions in our airports and other strategic points to guard against terrorists or nut cases. As a World War II bomber pilot, I appreciate the role of both tactical and strategic bombing in all-out warfare. But is sending our bombers worldwide in the hope that they might hit terrorist hideouts or such hostile governments as Iraq an effective way to end terrorism? May it not more likely erode our current international coalition, while fanning the flames of terrorism and hatred against us as the world's only superpower, hell-bent on eradicating evil around the world?
The Administration now has seventy-five officials hidden in bunkers outside Washington poised to take over the government in the event of a terrorist attack. Is it possible that paranoia has become policy? No such extreme measures were undertaken in World War II, nor in the half-century of cold war between the two nuclear giants, Russia and the United States.
All of us who love this land want our President to succeed. Nothing would give me greater happiness than to see him become a great President. But is it possible that our well-intentioned President and his Vice President have gone off the track of common sense in their seeming obsession with terrorism? Is there still validity to the proverb "whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad"?
For half a century, our priorities were dominated by the fear of Russian Communism-until it collapsed of its own internal weakness. As I listen to the grim rhetoric of Messrs. Bush and Cheney, I wonder if they are leading us into another half-century of cold war, with terrorism replacing Communism as the second great hobgoblin of our age.
Source: The Nation April 4, 2002
Topics: George W. Bush, Iraq
Mr. McGovern is right on point. Bush has turned Paranoia into "Policy". What was originally a fight against Bin Laden & Terrorism, turned into a "Regime Change/secure the Oil fields"(to protect Bush & His cronie's investments) tactic. The U.S. is an impoverished nation also.. many of our own people need resources. We're also the most violent nation, with more handgun deaths than any other nation in the world. No wonder we have a Bully"ish" approach towards other nations. As long as we keep electing people into office such as Bush, the vicious cycle will never end.
He blames the collapse of the USSR as being self imposed. It happened because the USSR tried to match the US dollar for dollar on armaments and foreign aid and collapsed because they couldn't pay for it. McGovern discounts this fact of life.
And when McGovern talks of helping the military in this country, the Democrats have a long history of being cheap when it comes to the military.
And when McGovern speaks of utilizing the money on feeding the poor and impoverished well -- we already spend a hell of a lot of money right now.
McGovern is an old hippy and it's sad to parade his ideas around as if he is a voice of reason in the US.
So somoky, can you do better or are you only capable of two bit insults.
Mr.Hale we are living in a globalized world.Nationalism is not an option anymore and you are an endangered specie.May Allah liberate mankind from people like you!
America is a rich nation and its capital could be used in many productive fashion so exteremist will not grow as it is having now.
Making a good relationship with moslems is nota bad idea at all. Look all the Moslem countries like saudia Arabia, Kuwait loves to hire Americans and pay them most highest salary . People come to study in America that also create a bond between culture and relegion. People do admire Americans technology. So my question why so much hate? Where the Hate coming from?
America still have a great opportunity to bulid a bond and shows their true intention that Yes we can introduce a system that will govern well in any country . Its only produce positive out put for all mankind.
Thank you mR. senator . I wish America will be same America as all we imagine like a country of pioneers men like Lincoln, Jefferson , Washington whom we all admire very much from our heart.
George McGovern has enjoyed spending the taxpayers money since he was first elected in that very populace state of South Dakota. One of the great states in America that sends the US government about 1 dollar in federal taxes and receives back 3 dollars. Him and Tom Daschle are both morons from a state that is poor, has no discernable crops or industry but has politicians that are nowhere near main stream America.
And if that tax money was siphoned off to the poor countries for aid the only people who would benefit are the military and the warlords, ie. Somalia, Angola, North Korea, etc. etc.