On Valentine's Day—what he called the “day of love”—former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern voiced his feelings on “old men concocting wars for young men to die in” at the National Press Club in Washington,D.C.
The one-time Democratic Presidential candidate said he ran for the office in 1972 to oppose the most tragic war in the nation's history,the Vietnam War.
“I've always loved this country more than life itself,” said McGovern,who served in the U.S. Army Air Force against Nazi Germany. “I never regretted that experience.”
McGovern said he does not believe a war with Iraq would be as successful as lawmakers hope and expect it would be.
He compared the war effort to a locomotive roaring ahead with no brakes and no warning signal,saying too many young Americans and Iraqis will die unnecessarily.
“Neither one of those groups have had much say in a war that may send them to their deaths.”
McGovern said although Saddam Hussein is a “first-class S.O.B.,” he had nothing to do with Sept. 11,2001,and he doubts the United States would be planning to go to war with Iraq had the terrorist attacks never happened.
Because President George W. Bush cannot find and rid the world of Osama bin Laden,he turned on Hussein,an “objectionable scapegoat,” McGovern said.
The United Nations arms inspectors are making progress and only need more time to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction,he said.
“What is to be lost by giving the inspectors another six months or a year to complete their work?”
McGovern said he is just as dedicated to keeping the country secure as Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell,but believes going to war with Iraq will increase terrorism here and abroad.
The President appears to be neglecting homeland security and the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East,McGovern said,and he should focus on stopping the ongoing “senseless slaughters” in Palestine instead.
“Nothing going on in Iraq is nearly so important as working to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict,” McGovern said.