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"Come home, America"

Okay, I'll admit it. In the 1972 presidential election, I voted for George McGovern over Richard Milhous "I'm-not-a-crook" Nixon. But it wasn't because of Watergate, which had barely invaded the national consciousness at the time.

Democratic nominee McGovern didn't get to make his acceptance speech at his party's National Convention that summer until the early morning hours, after most television viewers had gone to
bed. Consequently, few Americans heard one of the finest, most patriotic speeches ever delivered in a political campaign. Few Americans heard World War II-hero McGovern's stirring, eloquent plea, "Come home, America," in which he made the case for the United States to end its destructive, ill-conceived foray into Viet Nam and come home.

It would take three more years and tens of thousands more casualties for that hope to be realized. And when it came, Viet Nam was left much as it would have been if our country had never taken sides in what was clearly a civil war.

I've written extensively on the waste of American lives and treasure in unnecessary wars that serve no national interest and that result, mostly, in the status quo ante bellum. (I had to throw in a little Latin. Miss Preische, my Ramsey High School Latin teacher would be proud.)

This past week, in a "here-we-go-again" moment I'd hoped would never come, President Obama announced that we would begin supplying arms and ammunition to Syrian rebels, but only those whom we identify as being the good guys, as if that were possible. Yes, I know: 93,000 Syrians are dead in this conflict. There is immense pressure to intervene, to stop the bloodshed. We're constantly reminded that the United States is the world's sole superpower—an overworked justification for our acting as the world's policeman. You know where that got us in the last two, 10-plus-year wars we've engaged in.

I'm not an isolationist. But with our country's own infrastructure in shambles, with our economy barely crawling off the rocks of a Great Recession, with an American military on the verge of exhaustion, and with 75 percent of Americans tired of war and against further involvement in Middle-Eastern religious factionalism and fanaticism—a state of affairs around for a thousand years—I think it is time to remember George McGovern's plea. A time to "Come home, America."
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