McGovern took Sen. McCain to task recently during a speech he gave in Sioux Falls. Apparently he feels slighted over comments McCain made about him many years ago:
And in McCain's first opening remarks, he said, well we all know that George McGovern knows little about national defense.
He then says:
Let me tell you what I would say to John McCain: neither of us is an expert on national defense. It's true that you went to one of the service academies but you were in the bottom of the class. It's true that you were a pilot in Vietnam, that you were shot down and spent most of the war in prison and we all sympathize with that and honor you for your courage. But you and I both had these battle experiences, you as a Navy fighter plane, I as an army bomber. I am not going to criticize your war record and your knowledge of national security but I don't want you criticizing mine either.
If I'd be allowed just one little dig at Senator McCain, since he gave me. I would say, 'John, you were shot down early in the war and spent most of the time in prison. I flew 35 combat missions with a 10-man crew and brought them home safely every time.'
Let's analyze why this is stupid. First of all, yes, McCain was shot down early in the war, but it was on his 23rd combat mission. TWENTY fucking THREE combat missions Georgie, hardly a small number. During the time before his being shot down and captured, he had served on the USS Forrestal when the Forrestal Fire incident happened. During that fire he was trying to pull another pilot from his plane when a bomb exploded. The other pilot, tragically, was killed in that explosion and McCain also suffered injuries.
Let's not mince service here. They're both war heroes. There's no relativity in military service. You either serve honorably or you don't. What can be qualified, though, is their knowledge of national defense. Senator McCain has been a member of the Senate Armed Services Comittee since he first joined Congress in 1987. Plus he did liaison work for the comittee while still on active duty. That's 21 years worth of national defense work in my book.
Other than McGovern's continued opposition to every kind of military action after World War II, I find no such expertise in his history.