Opinion: McGovern paid his dues: War veteran shouldn’t have to defend his beliefsWhich Methodists are real Methodists? To which Synod do real Lutherans belong? If George McGovern and his father, who was a Methodist minister, were followers of John Wesley and their church had Methodist in its name, they were Methodists. If there are differences of any significance among Methodists, let God sort them out.
By: Robert Benson, In Other Words
Which Methodists are real Methodists? To which Synod do real Lutherans belong? If George McGovern and his father, who was a Methodist minister, were followers of John Wesley and their church had Methodist in its name, they were Methodists. If there are differences of any significance among Methodists, let God sort them out.
In a recent letter to The Daily Republic, the writer spoke critically about George claiming to be a Methodist and he mentioned that he (the writer) wrote a letter about George’s religion that was printed in the Chicago Tribune some 37 years ago. The Chicago Tribune? The paper of Roosevelt-hater Bertie McCormick? If you wish to return to the past let me tell you about something else that the Tribune printed, the better to help you understand its standards:
In May of 1942 Navy cryptographers had broken the Japanese naval code JN25. As a result, our outnumbered naval forces were able to surprise the huge Japanese fleet at Midway on June 4, 1942, and sink the backbone of their carrier fleet. This victory was the turning point in the Pacific War and it meant that the Japanese had to shelve any plans they had for the invasion of Australia.
At that time, I was one of several hundred South Dakotans of the 147th Field Artillery, struggling to survive without ammunition or supplies at Darwin on the far north coast of Australia. En route to what would have been our extinction in the Philippines, we had been dumped off at Darwin when it became obvious that our destination of Manila could no longer be reached. The Japanese invasion tide had rolled south through Indonesia and now lapped at Australia’s northern shore at Darwin.
On Feb. 9, 1942, the Japanese destroyed the town and port in a raid that was second in ferocity only to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese planes continually probed the skies. Our regiment and a handful of Australian militia were all that stood between the Japanese and all of northern Australia. Without ammunition and with 1,500 miles of wasteland at our backs, our little force would have been quickly overrun and killed or captured. To be captured by the Japanese usually meant death. Over 2,400 Allied personnel were captured on Borneo. Only six of them survived the war.
My friends and I were permitted to live out our lives because our Navy had broken the Japanese code and the Japanese didn’t know it.
And the Chicago Tribune? Four days after our victory at Midway, the despicable McCormick and his equally despicable paper published the news that we had broken the Japanese code. A Tribune reporter traveling on the cruiser New Orleans had seen a Navy decrypt. Efforts to stop McCormick from printing this information had failed. As a result of this breach of security, a grand jury was called, but the Navy was reluctant to press the issue because of potential damage to the war effort. It is almost unbelievable, but post-war knowledge revealed that the Japanese did not learn until after the war what the Tribune had published. Perhaps the internment camps for the Japanese served a purpose, in spite of what the history re-writers might say.
As an Eisenhower (not Bush) Republican and a fellow member of that ever-dwindling band of World War II veterans — a man still proud of the uniform he once wore — I say this to those of you who continue to knock George McGovern: Lay down your hammers. Tend to your own lives. George McGovern is an honorable man. He paid his dues to this country many times over in those flights over Europe, where death sought him out every day. He also lost an election to a scoundrel. I was ashamed when I saw that he had to write and defend his religious beliefs. His beliefs are his — he is entitled to them and they are no one else’s business.
Robert Benson is a World War II veteran and retired farmer and letter carrier who lives in Mitchell.
In Other Words features opinions from local and other contributors who have areas of special interest or expertise. Material shouldn’t exceed 600 words and can be sent to: The Daily Republic, 120 S. Lawler, Mitchell, S.D., 57301. Not all submitted material will be used.