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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Advice for Obama & Romney from an ‘Old Timer’

by Paul Findley

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Former US Congressman Paul Findley has something to say to presidential *hopefuls Barack Obama and Mitt Romney…

Herewith are four urgent bits of advice to US President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney. They come from an ‘old timer’ in federal candidacy. I won two fiercely contested Republican primaries and 11 campaigns for election to Congress. I am 91 (and counting). So pay attention, youngsters. Here is my counsel:

  1. Stop the attack advertisements about each other. Don’t just file them away. Destroy them! They tend to trivialize and tarnish the high office you seek and make both of you look un-presidential. You act like petulant teenagers. The attacks may change a vote here and there, but they are unbecoming of the presidency, the highest elective office in the world and arguably the most important. It deserves the constant respect of all citizens, especially would-be occupants for the next four years.
  2.  Use your time and money to explain what you wish to accomplish in the coming presidential term. Tell us your dreams. Give us a vision. Challenge us. Lift our spirits. Like almost everyone else, I want to be inspired.
  3.  Instead of threatening Iran with war over its nuclear plans, call for an international institution strong enough to rid the world of all nuclear warheads. That’s a gigantic, urgent challenge. If the next President doesn’t take the lead, who will?
  4. Take six hours to watch Ken Burns’s latest PBS masterpiece, The War. It presents World War II in grim, awesome detail and is a must-see especially for Presidents, would-be Presidents, and Members of Congress.

It is, I believe, the first honest public portrayal of war’s reality. Viewers can almost feel the pain, hardship and the death - even sense the awful odour of rotting human flesh in the Far East and, concurrently in Europe, the shock of soldiers frozen to death in a snow bank, sometimes with eyes and mouths wide open. Aging war veterans relate intimate detail as the images unfold. One episode gives chilling evidence that during the Battle of the Bulge, over the fervent protests of enlisted personnel, a young US officer executed a dozen German prisoners of war.

My role in World War II was modest, taking part in the liberation of Guam, then helping in the occupation of Japan. A few weeks after our forces dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, I drove a jeep around the site that by then consisted of only small bits of rubble, all that remained of a city of some 60,000 human beings. It convinced me that war somehow has to be scrapped as an option in government policy. In case you didn’t notice, my subsequent endeavors to that end fell short.

 I hope The War will be rebroadcast periodically far into the future. It might prompt our leaders to restore peace, liberty and due process to their once preeminent position in American policy.

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