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McCain speaks at OU graduation

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Sen. John McCain defended U.S. policies in Iraq and Afghanistan and encouraged University of Oklahoma graduates to stand up for human rights and against genocide.

``We are all responsible to promote human rights ... to use your liberty to make others free,'' McCain, R-Ariz., told more than 6,000 students and their families at the spring 2005 commencement ceremony at The Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

McCain said the use of force was necessary to bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan. He also said something must be done about mass killings in parts of the world.

``Genocide is not a thing of the past,'' he said, recalling the deaths of millions of Jews and others at the hands of the Nazis during World War II, the thousands killed in Kosovo and Rwanda and the current problems in the African nation of the Sudan.

McCain singled out the Sudan as a place where action, including the use of force, was needed. In Sudan's western Darfur region, 180,000 people have died since fighting erupted in February 2003.

``Today we know what is happening and the world must not stand by and do nothing,'' he said.

After McCain received a standing ovation for his remarks, President David Boren added as a postscript. He said the university is a diverse family from across the globe and it is the responsibility of the graduates and the school to stand up for the rights of all.

The university awarded McCain and three others honorary doctorate degrees.

Others receiving them were Peggy V. Helmerich, Tulsa; G.T. Blankenship, Oklahoma City and Walter Neustadt Jr., formerly of Ardmore and now living in Dallas.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, McCain was a military pilot who was shot down over Vietnam and was held as a prisoner of war for more than five years.

After his release he continued in the Navy, completing 22 years before retiring in 1981. He was elected to Congress in 1982, then elected in 1986 as U.S. senator from Arizona. He is now serving his fourth term.

In 2000, McCain ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for President. He is currently chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and serves on the Armed Services, and Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees.
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