The revenge of George McGovern
In 1972, Democrats nominated the most radical candidate ever to run for president in a major party up to that time. South Dakota senator George McGovern, a fierce opponent of the Vietnam War, addressed the Democratic Convention in Miami Beach at 3:00 AM – a disaster from which he never recovered.
McGovern was pro-feminist, pro-gay rights, pro-welfare, pro-national health insurance, and pro-retreat abroad. In fact, you can't truly understand President Obama unless you study the radical campaign of George McGovern.
Today, McGovern would be considered a mainstream Democrat. But reading some excerpts from his convention speech, you have to keep reminding yourself that it was delivered 43 years ago.
Yet I believe that every man and woman in this Convention Hall knows that for 30 years we have been so absorbed with fear and danger from abroad that we have permitted our own house to fall into disarray.
We must now show that peace and prosperity can exist side by side. Indeed, each now depends on the existence of the other. National strength includes the credibility of our system in the eyes of our own people as well as the credibility of our deterrent in the eyes of others abroad.
National security includes schools for our children as well as silos for our missiles.
It includes the health of our families as much as the size of our bombs, the safety of our streets, and the condition of our cities, and not just the engines of war.
If we some day choke on the pollution of our own air, there will be little consolation in leaving behind a dying continent ringed with steel.
So while protecting ourselves abroad, let us form a more perfect union here at home. And this is the time for that task.
We must also make this a time of justice and jobs for all our people. For more than three and half years we have tolerated stagnation and a rising level of joblessness, with more than five million of our best workers unemployed at this very moment. Surely, this is the most false and wasteful economics of all.
Our deep need is not for idleness but for new housing and hospitals, for facilities to combat pollution and take us home from work, for better products able to compete on vigorous world markets.
The highest single domestic priority of the next administration will be to ensure that every American able to work has a job to.
Sound familiar? "Soft power"? The Obama-Clinton team have been spouting this nonsense for seven years.
And this is where it has got us. Russian planes, making their first sorties of the Syrian War, deliberately targeted U.S.-backed rebels and not Islamic State fighters. Can Vladimir Putin send a clearer signal of the contempt he holds for America and Barack Obama?
Russia's first airstrikes in Syria Wednesday targeted areas held by rebels receiving arms, funding, and training from the CIA and killed dozens of civilians, according to U.S. officials and published reports.
The Syrian National Council, a group opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, told Sky News that at least 36 people had been killed by airstrikes in the western city of Homs, including five children. Khaled Khoja, the SNC's leader, told Sky that none of the four areas targeted by Russian planes Wednesday contained ISIS fighters and called Moscow's claim that it was helping the U.S.-led coalition defeat the terror group "baseless."
A senior U.S. defense official said the Russian strikes targeted fighters in the vicinity of Homs, located roughly 60 miles east of a Russian naval facility in Tartus, and were carried out by a "couple" of Russian bombers. In a video released by the U.S.-backed rebel group Tajamu Alezzah, jets are seen hitting a building claimed to be a location of the group in the town of Latamna in the central Hama province.
The group commander Jameel al-Saleh told a local Syrian news website that the group's location was hit by Russian jets but didn't specify the damage.
The Wall Street Journal reported that one video released by people affiliated with local rebel groups showed rebels and citizens are seen rushing down a street as thick black smoke and fire engulfed heavily damaged buildings. Then they are shown attempting to rescue those trapped under the rubble. A dazed man covered in blood was lifted up from the ground and taken outside.
The White House is rubbing its hands together thinking that Putin will become stuck in the Syrian quagmire. Meanwhile, the Russians "requested" that no U.S. planes fly in Syria while they are conducting air operations. We may not be in the process of getting kicked out of Syria. But we're certainly being handed our hat.
Russia doesn't care about Syrian civilians getting blown up by Russian bombs, which means their air campaign is likely to be far more effective than the coalition the U.S. is supposedly leading. And there's still the possibility that the Russians will deploy ground troops in Syria, giving their client President Assad a huge boost.
Putin has committed Russian forces not for show, nor to satisfy domestic critics. He's in it to win it. And the U.S. government, still reeling from Putin's lightning move into Syria, has no clue how to respond.
And that includes what to do if the Russian military starts shooting at U.S. planes:
The kind of weapons Russia is using is also cause for Western concern. Deploying SA-15 and SA-22 air defense systems as well as Sukhoi SU30-SM fighters has no obvious use against Isis, who have yet to make a single airstrike, but could be used against Nato forces, Philip Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said in Washington Wednesday.
Ashton Carter, US defence secretary, Wednesday night claimed that the Kremlin had poured "gasoline on the fire" of the volatile situation in Syria. However, as Granville points out, Western policy to date in the collapsed state has not exactly been a success. Selective airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition, and the training of Syrian rebels by the U.S., have so far had little impact on IS.
"They (Russia) have forced a change in the overall policy in Syria – normally no-one else in the world changes the foreign policy of the U.S.," Granville said.
Somewhere, George McGovern is smiling.