"I worry no matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."
– Lily Tomlin in Jane Wagner’s “The Search for Signs of Intelligence Life in the Universe” (one-woman play, 1985)
THE MIAMI HERALD'S ASSASSINATION of Gary Hart's character in May 1987 (which prompted Hart's ill-advised termination of his just-commenced second presidential campaign – he had narrowly lost the 1984 Democratic nomination to Walter Mondale) set the ensuing 28 year chain of events in motion. Had Hart been nominated, and elected in November 1988, the U.S. and Soviet Union (under Hart's and Gorbachev's auspices) would have made sure that the superpowers wound down the Cold War in an orderly manner and ended the threat of "nuclear mega-death" as Hart referred to it in his 1984 Democratic National Convention speech in San Francisco. http://www.c-span.org/video/?124439-1/democratic-national-convention-day-3
(Hart's speech begins at the 5 hr. 36 min. mark preceded by a 15 minute floor demonstration.) It is further likely that NONE of the events of the early 1990s-forward touched upon below would have occurred.
(Hart himself takes responsibility for George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency and the Iraq War in particular, reasoning correctly that had W’s father not succeeded President Reagan, W would never have become president. See the poignant concluding passage of Matt Bai’s otherwise “pop sociological” NY Times survey article on Hart’s “downfall” here: http://nyti.ms/1uK1P3V
Today the Russians are admirably taking the lead in evening the balance of military power in Syria so that Syria's autocratic but internationally recognized government does not fall to the pestilential Islamic State. The entire world owes Vladimir Putin and the Russian military a debt of gratitude.
Last Friday night’s terrorist attacks in Paris and Wednesday’s thwarted repetition have (already) become a turning point after which the threat posed by radical extremist Islam will never again be understated. And hopefully it will equally mark a turning point after which the U.S. and Russia will begin serious cooperation towards (and perhaps even co-lead) a world-wide alliance to extirpate its militant expression while scrupulously respecting the Muslim faith itself.
The two (Islam and militant Islam) are NOT the same, and if they ever were, those days essentially ended forever over half a millennium ago (in Spain) with a coup de grâce (of sorts) inflicted a hundred years ago when the victorious World War 1 colonial powers arbitrarily carved up the Ottoman Empire's territory into artificial nations and British Mandate Palestine. See generally: http://lostislamichistory.com/granada-the-last-muslim-kingdom-of-spain/
; and http://lostislamichistory.com/the-nakba-the-palestinian-catastrophe-of-1948/
The injustices done thereby to the Arab peoples and especially to the Palestinians must be redressed of course, but only through the tools of non-violent protest, diplomacy, the rules of international law and appeals to the conscience of the world community – not by terroristic “asymmetrical” warfare, which is equally intolerable in our (still aspirationally at least) 21st century “civilized world”, whether employed by the oppressor or the oppressed.
Historical crises have a way of summoning leaders to the fore who would not otherwise have emerged. Abraham Lincoln in the 19th century and Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in the 20th century, are prime examples.
With U.S.-Russian cooperation becoming an international imperative in the wake of the present crisis (and with no one else doing so yet): I write in part to mention the crucial fact that former Colorado Senator and 1980s presidential candidate Gary Hart is the ONLY national political figure who still believes we can and should be working with the Russians to create what Ted Turner used to refer to as a "better world". See eg. Hart's December 2011 article "Russia and the United States in the 21st Century". http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/12/russia-and-the-united-states-in-the-21st-century/249831/
Hillary Clinton, in sharp contrast, went out of her way in the last Democratic presidential debate (held the day after the maniacal Islamic State's terrorist attacks in Paris) to assert the neo-conservative mantra that Russia is a threat to the U.S. because (get this:) they are building a "drone submarine". The actual "news story" refers to a self-disclosure by Putin and his defense officials of a document that "includes PLANS to develop an underwater drone that could be launched from submarines in order to carry out nuclear strikes at key coastal areas. The project is known as 'Ocean Multipurpose System 'Status-6.''" http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-developing-nuclear-submarine-drone-2015-11
Assuming this “submarine drone” report isn't a mere public relations ploy (or disinformation) on Russia’s part, the spirit in which Hillary mentioned the report is not reassuring. Any responsible presidential candidate, if he or she had chosen to note the purported Russian weapon development at all (directly on the heels of the Paris slaughter) would have done so in order to point up the dire need to resume arms control talks with the Russians and prevent a new round of the nuclear arms race. But Hillary Clinton would never do that.
As Maureen Dowd has written, Hillary is a (Thatcheresque) Lady Hawk, one who served as a "mid-wife to chaos" in Libya http://nyti.ms/1LUDxgL
and then (my characterization:) gloated about Muammar Gaddafi's death in a disgusting display of primitive blood lust. Moreover Secretary Clinton (like so many ugly American elites today) is an inveterate Russophobe (AKA an anti-Russian bigot) who has maliciously compared Putin to Hitler and has falsely asserted that Putin is attempting to “re-Sovietize” his nation. http://www.latimes.com/la-pn-hillary-clinton-ukraine-putin-20140305
Indeed, the Obama Administration has spent the better part of 7 years (4 of them under Hillary’s active co-authorship as Secretary of State) disrespecting, goading and antagonizing Russia and its democratically elected leaders, most recently with regards to Ukraine (the details of which are beyond the scope here).
Former Secretary of State Clinton is also reliably reported to have displayed a fierce temper toward her husband Bill Clinton and White House staff members. See http://www.amazon.com/The-Residence-Inside-Private-World-ebook/dp/B00LSRR06G/ref=as_at?tag=thedaibea-20&linkCode=as2&
; and http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/clinton-white-house-the-residence-excerpt-116706#ixzz3rwea1POa
; (excerpt detailing Hillary’s hurling of a lamp at Bill, which missed and broke and further stating: “The first lady’s temper was notoriously short during those difficult months” following the public disclosure of the Lewinsky affair.)
No sane American should want Hillary Clinton's finger ANYWHERE NEAR the nuclear button.
IN 1993 WILLIAM GRIEDER WROTE an important providential book, "Who Will Tell the People?: The Betrayal of American Democracy". http://www.amazon.com/Who-Will-Tell-People-Democracy/dp/0671867407/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447754425&sr=1-1&keywords=who
Following the Paris terrorist attacks, I woke up with a start this past weekend realizing that (per Jane Wagner & Lily Tomlin’s adage): I hadn’t been cynical enough. Grieder’s title came to mind and I resolved to act on the spirit of his estimable warning:
Again, since no one else has done so, I will now follow this overlong prologue and endeavor to sketch a historical narrative that I believe comprises the “awful truth” about the Islamic State’s emergence. One that explains (in a nutshell) how arms manufacturers and related conservative factions in our country centered in the Military Industrial/Intelligence Complex and further including the “bought and bossed” elected pols of both old parties, have undertaken a quarter-century initiative to find a replacement for the (allegedly) "expansionist" Soviet Union. And how this American Establishment has now nearly succeeded in depicting "militant Islam" as that replacement. (I refer to those conservative Establishment elements collectively below as “the MIC” or simply “we” because they acted in every American’s name, including those of us who adamantly protested their actions.) I conclude with a proposal for what we might now do to steer off our disastrous course.
NO SOONER HAD THE COLD WAR ended than former CIA chief turned president George HW Bush engineered the Persian Gulf war. The elder Bush had easily defeated the Democrats’ hapless 1988 substitute nominee following Gary Hart’s petulant abjuration of his promising candidacy when (what we would today call) a bizarre “flame war” broke out between him and a few asinine journalists – reporters who all would have been “necklaced” had they pulled same type of stunt against, say, a top ANC presidential candidate in South Africa rather than targeting the Democratic front-runner for the presidential nomination in the U.S..
Bush I started the first Gulf war by having April Glaspie, his ambassador to Iraq, trick Saddam Hussein (a former CIA puppet and dim bulb dictator) into invading Kuwait.
That was (in hindsight) the beginning of a 25 year quest ("none dare call it conspiracy") on the part of the MIC to deny the American people the peace dividend that was rightfully theirs for having endured-, paid for- and survived the Cold War with our way of life in tact – if morally stained to a significant degree due to the myriad sinful acts we committed in the name of anti-communism. Still, we achieved what JFK had described as our benign goal during the Cold War: a “free and diverse world”. JFK gave this formulation of WHY we fought Communism in a speech at my alma mater UC Berkeley in 1962 (10 years prior to my arrival there).
When the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact disbanded in 1991, a reasonably “free and diverse world” – one that would have permitted the issuance of a “peace dividend” that would have increased Americans’ quality of life considerably – would have emerged if only we had “taken yes for an answer” and not immediately set about conjuring up a new enemy that might plausibly be seen as roughly comparable to the allegedly expansionist world Communist movement.
What had justified the Cold War was the conjunction of Communism's incompatibility with democratic capitalism and the belief that the Soviet Union was an expansionist power. The Soviet Union wasn't expansionist but the radical nature of "the Red Menace" purportedly justified all the sacrifices of Americans' blood and treasure to ensure that Communism didn't spread. Although we have yet to reckon with the millions of deaths of everyday people we inflicted in Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam, Indonesia, Chile, etc., most of whom were "collateral damage" – so-called "communist sympathizers” such as the student leftists "disappeared" and thrown to their deaths from helicopters by fascist state agents during Argentina's "dirty war". (Kudos to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for mentioning for the first time in American presidential debate history last Saturday evening our nation’s sordid history of anticommunist "regime change".)
When Russian Communism collapsed in a heap (without a shot being fired, thanks mainly to Mikhail Gorbachev), the Establishment and MIC, horrified that the Russians had “let go of the rope” in the superpower competition, reflexively cast about for a new "expansionist" threat. And they rather quickly set their sights on radical Islam.
Big problem(s) though:
• Islam lacked Communism's incompatibility with the West's way of life. In fact it was intrinsic to Western Civilization: the third great monotheistic faith.
• And highly inconveniently: Islam was (like Judaism and Christianity) a bourgeois, patriarchal faith that embraced conservative family values.
Doh! But, on the "plus" side (from the MIC's perverse point of view):
• Islam and its founding scripture, the Koran, claimed to represent a completion of the G-d's prior revelations to the "people of the Book" (the people being Jews and Christians and the book being Bible, the Old and New Testaments), and Islam's self-conception as the embodiment of G-d's "final message" to humanity is something that could be made to seem offensive to followers of the antecedent monotheistic faiths. Even though it isn’t.
In addition and most usefully to the MIC:
• historically Islam HAD been expansionist for about 8 centuries following its advent, although the consensus of historians is that the expansion occurred far more by charisma and consent than coercion. (Coercion is famously prohibited as a proselytizing technique by Islam.) Indeed, Islam’s familiar storied history includes its spread from its origins in modern day Saudi Arabia to the entire land mass of Middle East and North Africa and to the perimeter of Europe in the Balkans and to Spain.
• And it was relevant and “helpful” to the MIC that a part of the history of Western Civilization involved the warfare between Christendom and Islam known as the Crusades.
But (again “on the minus side” for the MIC’s nefarious purposes:) in the 500+ years since the Muslims’ expulsion from Spain in 1492: “not so much” (to understate Islam’s reversal of fortunes ever since).
Despite the (very) “poor fit” then, the MIC settled on extremist Islam as its aspiring substitute for Communism! Very conveniently, we also had pre-existing relationships with a militant cohort within Islam (mostly recruits from Saudi Arabia and Egypt) who were willing to repel “infidel” occupiers of Muslim lands such as in Soviet Union-occupied Afghanistan and fight and die there and elsewhere (such as later in the Balkans) to protect Muslim populations and spread Islam’s influence wherever feasible. From the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 until a falling out over a decade later, the U.S. had made common cause with these militant Islamist “jihadi” fighters (AKA “mujahideen” and later “al qaeda”).
IN HINDSIGHT OF THE PRESENT, it is now clear that following the fall of Communism that MIC elements conspired to convert these militant Islamist former friends into a mortal enemy whose long-term presence on the international scene could be employed to justify maintaining the level of American military spending at Cold War levels. It took a LOT of doing, but alas, it now appears that the conservative spooks and fiends in our midst may well have succeeded.
The exact details of HOW they succeeded are as yet unknown and will likely be investigated by historians for decades. For example, who knows WHAT our “adventuristic” elected pols (such as U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson) and intelligence operatives promised the Islamic jihadists doing our bidding in Afghanistan back in the late 1970s and early 1980s? Most likely they tricked them into believing that America supported their dreams of a new Caliphate throughout the greater Middle East (possibly excluding Turkey, a NATO ally and Israel).
After the Arab foreign legions led by bin Laden (and the homegrown Afghan Taliban) – who President Reagan and other U.S. conservatives then referred to as "freedom fighters" – drove the Soviet Union from Afghanistan (and provoked the fall of Russian Communism) we seem to have cold shouldered- and left these mujahideen/jihadist elements in the lurch as they migrated back home. We appear to have intentionally embittered them by maintaining our support for:
• the hereditary monarchs in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States; and
• the autocratic regimes led by more secular leaders in the region (Egypt’s Mubarak, Iraq’s Hussein, Syria’s Assad, Libya’s Gaddafi).
Then, following the embittered jihadis’ 2 attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City: first in 1993 and again on 9/11 (and interim vicious acts of terror against our embassies in Africa and a naval ship), we declared war on these militant Islamist elements in Afghanistan, where they had a military base of operations – a war that extended to any theater al qaeda-type terrorists were found to be operating.
The problem for the MIC however (as I wrote in many a Huffington Post blog comment), was that while al-qaeda was lethal and capable of wreaking havoc on occasion, it remained (in the broad scheme of things) a "flyspeck" enemy. Hardly a viable substitute for Communism.
That is where the U.S. invasion of Iraq came in: Many (myself included) were aghast at the cold-blooded nihilistic manner in which we started and conducted that criminal war. I actually (tentatively) concluded it had been an entirely pretextual event aimed at providing a "fog of war" environment behind which not just the big arms merchants and military contractors but lower level larcenous conservative Republican zealots could loot the U.S. Treasury. These lower-level looters (I surmised) included both Government personnel and opportunistic independent operatives hundreds of whom swarmed into Baghdad, hung out shingles and promptly obtained lucrative contracts to build myriad “bridges to nowhere”).
The air-lifting of “between 12 and 14 billion” (with a B) dollars in CASH (from Federal Reserve Bank vaults into the Green Zone, where the vast majority of it ($11.7B) promptly disappeared and has remained unaccounted-for, strongly suggests this looting was one (among other) motivations for the Bush Administration's sociopathic invasion of Iraq. See:
• James Risen’s 2014 book: Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War http://nyti.ms/1EYuwyD
(excerpt of Risen’s book re “pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills” trucked from the East Rutherford New York Federal Reserve bank “to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, D.C., where the palletized cash was transferred to the cargo holds of air force C-17 transport planes” and flown to “Baghdad International Airport, where the cash was unloaded and counted in the presence of both American and Iraqi personnel. ¶What happened next is still one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Iraq war.”
• See also: https://www.opcofamerica.org/news/hidden-cost-war-james-risen%E2%80%99s-new-book-says-freedom-stake
: (review of Risen book stating that these so-called “jingle flights” (the Air Force pilots’ facetious name for them) “continued almost until the day power was turned over to the Iraqi government, with virtually no records or controls over where the money went. American soldiers passing out crisp $100 bills for contracts to rebuild soon noticed that very little rebuilding was going on, and began stuffing bills into their own rucksacks and footlockers. One marine went home to Arizona and was caught depositing $440,000 in cash in dozens of new bank accounts. A captain [was] accused of taking $700,000 spent $200,000 in cash on fancy cars and other toys.” The review further notes the paltry nature of these thefts compared to (in Risen’s phrase): “[t]he hottest way to make money” off the Iraq War. That was (in the reviewer’s synopsis of Risen’s text) to get in on “the billions being handed out for weapons, intelligence services and the everyday costs of fighting a war. ... [T]he war’s biggest beneficiary was Houston-based KBR, which held the contract to feed and supply U.S. troops, build their bases and perform all the rear-echelon tasks formerly done by the military services themselves. The Financial Times has estimated that the KBR contract produced revenues of $39.5 billion.”)
BUT (PER MS. WAGNER AND TOMLIN’S ADAGE) hindsight (of the entire sweep of recent history culminating in the recent events of Paris) reveals an even stronger and more sinister motivation for the Iraq War – the DESIRE on the part of MIC to provoke the formation of an ultra-extremist Islamist movement and militant national formation very much like the Islamic State (IS), opposition to- and containment of which could become a multi-generation mission of the MIC.
If THAT was the real objective it makes sense of everything we did in Iraq – NONE of which otherwise made any sense whatsoever and seemed utterly nihilistic in real time:
• The MIC KNEW that ousting Saddam Hussein, a Sunni dictator ruling over a predominantly Shia populace and dismantling all of Iraq's state institutions, would unleash a sectarian bloodbath.
• We KNEW that the Sunnis would ultimately regroup under jihadist (al qaeda-type) leadership in Anbar province (and helped them do so, via the “Sunni Awakening” project).
• We KNEW that following the withdrawal of American troops the Shia government would be no match for those Sunni al qaeda-type forces (who had recruited Saddam Hussein’s ex-generals) and that huge swaths of Iraqi territory would fall under the Sunni insurgents' control.
• And we KNEW that, due to the jihadists' fantasy of reinstating a Caliphate, etc., that attacks upon IS via Iraq War coalition air power and allied Kurdish ground forces would result in a terrorist offensive against those resisting the jihadists locally and internationally.
But these developments in Iraq proper were STILL insufficient to turn militant Islam into a credible substitute for Communism. For that the MIC needed the widespread replication throughout the Arab world of the kind of deadly fratricidal strife that occurred between the nationalist Algerian government and the Islamic-based parties there in the early 1990s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_Civil_War
Cue "the Arab Spring" in 2010-2011 and the first truly momentous event thereof: the (initially) "successful" peaceful mass protest that drove Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak from power. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring#cite_note-Egypt.27s_revolution_redefines_what.27s_possible_in_the_Arab_world-2
Predictably, the first (reasonably) free and fair election in Egyptian history produced a moderate Islamist government. For the MIC, however, that was a disappointment, because a government of democratically elected moderate Islamists obviously poses no threat akin to Communism (and indeed no threat whatsoever to anyone, except perhaps those opposed to honest government or arch-secularists opposed to government that included ANY overlap between mosque and state). So, within a year, the MIC gave the green-light to Egypt's military tyrants to viciously overthrow the elected Mohamed Morsi administration and wantonly slaughter and imprison thousands of protesters who came to the defense of the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood-led government.
If the hope was that Egypt would be seriously besieged by an al-qaeda like Islamist insurgency, that has not happened YET, but is presumably in the offing as the rest of the MIC's half-century game plan to make “expansionist” militant Islam the new Communism unfolds.
In Syria, the MIC appears to have changed tactics, encouraging initially peaceful demonstrators calling for democratization in Syria to quickly escalate to “armed struggle” when (evidently) met with unprovoked lethal repression by the Assad government. Aeschylus' dictum: “In war, truth is the first casualty” (also attributed to California Governor turned U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson) is pertinent to the competing claims about the origins of the Syria’s civil war, but the time-line is NOT in doubt. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Civil_War
(protests started on March 15, 2011; armed rebellion against the state began on June 4, 2011).
We then provided moral and materiel support to so-called “moderate” Islamist militants (an oxymoronic concept) so as not to be seen to be “on al-qaeda’s side”. And “the rest is history.” (Is it ever!)
In Libya we essentially dropped any compunction about being allied with extremist jihadist militants. There, the MIC deliberately exceeded the scope of a U.N. resolution authorizing limited military operations to protect Benghazi civilians. In a major step forward (from their twisted point of view) the MIC had NATO provide crucial air support and intelligence to the al-qaeda-type jihadis fighting Gaddafi's forces there.
In so doing, the MIC hit the proverbial jackpot: the jihadis deposed the Gaddafi government (murdering Gaddafi himself in cold blood after capturing him alive) and "liberated" vast quantities of the Libyan military’s arms and munitions and exported them to their Islamist militant fellow travelers in North Africa. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libyan_Civil_War_
The “collateral damage” from this damnable military adventure, one primarily instigated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was not only the destruction of Libya’s advanced social welfare state, and the multitudes of Libyan people it served (albeit at the expense of democratic freedoms), but the good name of the U.N.’s “responsibility to protect [civilians]” and humanitarian intervention doctrines.
BEHOLD THE “MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD” the MIC and Secretary Clinton have “mid-wifed” (in Maureen Dowd’s phrase): Islamist military jihadis are now fomenting and perpetrating horrific violence in France, Lebanon, and Africa (at this writing yet another terrorist attack in Mali). And, for me (and my wife, who is Muslim and a daughter of the Canadian Palestinian diaspora), they are hitting close to home:
• Nick Alexander of Colchester, England was at the Bataclan concert hall one week ago tonight. He loved and was very good at his humble job as merchandise manager for the Southern California (Palm Desert)-based Eagles of Death Metal, the band playing on stage when Islamic State terrorists detonated explosives and began shooting “machine guns and shotguns” at those in attendance. Alexander was among the 118 people executed in cold blood by these sociopathic serial killers, dying in the arms of his friend Helen Wilson, who was wounded and tried but couldn’t save Alexander. Nick was 36 years old. As a fellow musician told Rolling Stone: “...if you're going to see your friends' band play to a thousand usually super-liberal, open-minded people at a theater, it's the last thing you think could happen." http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/eagles-of-death-metal-merch-manager-nick-alexander-killed-in-paris-attack-20151114#ixzz3s0zGZhwC
• Nohemi Gonzalez, a popular Latina student (majoring in Design) at Long Beach State University who was studying abroad for a semester, went out to enjoy a meal with companions on a Friday night, and like many of the French victims, never made it back to her residence, dying in a hail of gunfire and pool of her own blood. She was 23 years old. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/20/world/europe/paris-terror-attacks-nohemi-gonzalez-cal-state-long-beach.html?_r=0
• Among my fellow tenants at my West Los Angeles office/apartment building (whence I am writing this text) is a very nice family from Cameroon, a country in Francophone Africa with a population that is 40% Catholic, 30% Protestant and 18% Muslim. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameroon
. The father of three (a visiting engineering graduate student) tells me about the menace his country faces from Boko Haram. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boko_Haram_insurgency
There are but a few degrees of separation (at most) between any victim of terrorism anywhere and people of conscience and goodwill everywhere.
“An injury to one is an injury to all”: That is the familiar slogan of the left, applied to evince solidarity when dominant elites oppress the vulnerable or less powerful. And it applies with equal force to the present moment in which (I'm convinced) elite Western hidden hands are at least tacitly encouraging "oppressed" deluded monsters to commit unspeakable crimes. Due to their unsophistication, most of these jihadist criminals do not realize they are being "played" by the West's elites and that they are (in Bob Dylan's famous lyric), just "pawns in their game".
Alas the MIC has now really gotten somewhere! Militant radical Islam has begun to SEEM like a world-wide movement, one destined to become a proper modern analog to bygone Communism. Obviously, in hindsight of Paris, SOMETHING is happening, and unfortunately, what happened there COULD (but, one must pray, won’t) be a preview of coming attractions here in the U.S..
FORTUNATELY HOWEVER, THE DEPICTION of militant Islam as a threat comparable to Communism is almost certainly a FALSE impression, possibly even a wholly concocted one wherein (possibly a mere several hundred or few thousand) brainwashed Muslim youths and (mostly) young adults world-wide are being managed by a combination of Western MIC-, police and intelligence operatives and/or sophisticated rightist underground elements determined to re-create a Manichean world.
Plainly, militant Islam can still be unwound (and fairly quickly) through the good offices of an "unbossed and unbought" American president devoted to the public interest, someone able and willing by temperament and personal "constitution" to:
• stare-down the conservatives and special interests, particularly including the Military Industrial/Intelligence Complex for whom the rise and “staying power” of militant Islam is continued “money in the bank” financially as well as politically, and
• to work cooperatively with Russian leaders.
Significantly, Hillary Clinton is the ANTITHESIS of that person. On the contrary, she is "all in" with the Establishment- and MIC-driven Orwellian status quo featuring endless war against a new allegedly "expansionist" enemy against which (it is said by the powers-that-be) we have a wage a NEW "long twilight struggle" for freedom. For Hillary, in the jargon of her Hollywood tv friends: "Militant Islam IS the new Communism."
NOT! Had Gary Hart been on the stage during last Saturday's Democratic debate I suspect (but am not sure) he would have rebuked Hillary for interjecting a hawkish swipe at Russia (about a futuristic drone submarine) when our country should now be looking for ways and means to maximally cooperate with Russia to end the chaos that Maureen Down called Hillary a "midwife to" in the Middle East.
Neither of Hillary’s two remaining rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination made this critique:
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders may (alas) partially subscribe to Hillary’s Russophobia himself (he has called, in sum: for “the world to unite to contain Russia” – a totally fatuous neo-conservative trope and one that now seems absurd in hindsight of Russia’s positive military intervention in Syria); and, in any event, Sanders does not appear to have much stomach for really confronting Hillary on such foreign and defense policy issues.
For better or worse Senator Sanders (who I admire and support overall) has framed his presidential candidacy almost exclusively with reference to his domestic policy agenda and the parts of an American president’s job description pertinent thereto. If Senator Sanders is comparably well-versed on foreign and defense policy he has certainly not demonstrated that expertise yet.
But in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, these latter responsibilities of the president have suddenly commanded public attention anew and will likely do so for the duration of the upcoming election year. In this new climate, Senator Sanders may or may not be electable, and if elected it appears he would be heavily dependent on advisors and his vice-president as he grapples with a troubled world.
Martin O'Malley, a mentee of Senator Hart, admitted during last Saturday’s debate that nothing in his experience as a Governor and Mayor in Maryland has prepared him to be president (and it doesn't help that he looks like he still gets "carded" when he buys beer). I don’t believe any presidential candidate has ever before acknowledged outright that his service as president (if elected) will constitute “on the job training”. And I commend Governor O’Malley for his candor. But the truth is that he similarly lacks the credentials to credibly critique Hillary Clinton’s Lady Hawk (conservative, MIC directed) foreign and defense policy agenda.
Moreover, objectively: Martin O’Malley’s campaign is running on fumes, and (although he has made a larger mark than they did) it is certain he will eventually join Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee in the ranks of the also-rans in the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination contest (and that he will likely do so the day after the New Hampshire primary, if not sooner).
But unlike Senators Webb and Chafee, Governor O’Malley can still earn a highly honorable mention from a grateful nation (and possibly even “make history” itself) by doing an additional yeoman service for our country: He can pass back to Gary Hart the “torch of hope” his mentor spoke eloquently of at the end of Hart’s 1984 Democratic Convention speech.
If and when Hart were to make a surprise entry into the 2016 Democratic presidential race as a dark-horse candidate, O’Malley could simultaneously suspend his own campaign and deliver all its (presumably meager) resources and personnel to Senator Hart.
I hope this happens. Because (in sum) U.S. Senator turned diplomat Gary Hart’s unique regard for Russia as a prospective U.S. partner in world affairs makes him THE most qualified national political figure to stand up to our nation’s arms merchants and related conservative special interest “shot-callers” of U.S. foreign policy who (in 20-20 hindsight:) have immorally worked for 25 years to provoke and stimulate the “expansionist” Islamic State into existence so as to justify continuing to do post-Cold War defense industry business-as-usual.
WHAT IS UNDENIABLE FOLLOWING the horror in Paris that took place this past Friday evening and its near repetition on Wednesday, is that the "world situation" has suddenly taken a major turn for the worse. And that the solutions to the present crisis are now far more in Gary Hart's knowledge, competency, experience and leadership wheel-house than within Martin O'Malley's or Bernie Sanders’ ken. Secretary Clinton, on the contrary, has long been the conservative Establishment and MIC’s woman in DC and is so imbued with anti-Russian bias that she cannot possibly be part of the solution.
It is not the main subject of this (already too-long) article (perhaps others will supplement it) but following his exile from presidential electoral politics, Gary Hart started a non-fiction writing, academic and (non-partisan) public service career in which he foresaw (in essentially every particular) the world that has emerged in 2015, one plagued by the cataclysmic aftermath of the sordid war in Iraq (a war that Hart adamantly opposed and Hillary Clinton ardently cheer-led for), a new nuclear arms race, terrorism, mass migration, environmental catastrophes, the corruption of the political process by monied and special interests, and related crises of governance and public morality as far as the eye can see. See eg. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/5/20/1386345/-Gary-Hart-was-right-on-Iraq-then-and-now
(Jon Perr’s reprise of Hart’s staunch opposition to the Iraq War).
Hart is also well prepared to hit the ground running (for president) anew by virtue of:
• his work as an appointee (of President Clinton) on a national commission – one that anticipated a 9/11 type terrorist attack; and
• most recently his diplomatic work as an appointee of President Obama to serve as Secretary of State Kerry’s Personal Representative in Northern Ireland, where Hart has been assigned the difficult task of shoring up a tentatively established peace between the rival camps of Irish Catholics and pro-British Protestants that have a long bitter history of enmity. There Hart has built upon his Senate colleague George Mitchell’s original work and made any thought by the parties of re-igniting “the troubles” essentially unthinkable. See: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/11/249612.htm
(Secretary of State Kerry’s statement of Nov. 17, 2015 praising Hart’s shuttle diplomacy between the rival factions sharing power over Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions.)
In his 1984 Democratic National Convention speech, the determined idealistic Senator from Colorado, in tacit acknowledgment that Democratic Party super-delegates had fixed the outcome of the nomination in favor of his rival Walter Mondale, promised his supporters in the Moscone Convention Center hall (myself among them) and his millions of supporters and voters watching and listening across the land: "This is one Hart you will not leave in San Francisco!"
If that were to yet be the case, the world could significantly change for the better in the space of a 1 or 2 term Hart presidency, beginning in January 2017. For starters: U.S. and Russian air-power in conjunction with proxy regional ground forces could and would eradicate IS and all its sociopathic and/or psychopathic solders and/or bring them to criminal court account in short order.
Behind a security shield provided by occupying ground troops from adjacent Sunni Arab nations, technocrats from throughout the Sunni Arab world could be imported and empowered to govern the territory currently occupied by the Islamic State for a several year interim period while viable political institutions based on the consent of the governed could be established. (By then Syria’s currently nascent peace-process may be far enough along as to provide a blueprint for an analogous outcome in the provinces of Iraq currently under IS control.)
The Establishment and MIC, deprived of its Communism-equivalent, will have to meaningfully downsize in keeping with the prevailing national mood favoring enlightened versions of populism, protectionism and isolationism -- though not to the point where (in the left's fond wish) the Pentagon will have to hold “bake sales” to raise budgets for future iterations of their war toys.
Using momentum from their joint operations to vanquish Islamist militancy as a threat to world peace, the American and Russian people, through renewed arms control negotiations and perhaps more involved joint defense operations, can both receive their quarter-century delayed peace dividends.
In the Middle East, instead of despicable deranged policies promoting dismal endless war and war-profiteering by the MIC, the Americans and Russians can make further sustained effort towards world peace: through justice, vigorous diplomacy and U.N. sponsored free and fair elections. And it is not impossible that President Hart might be able to deploy the acumen he has displayed during his recent stint as a diplomat in Northern Ireland to the problem of liberating the Palestinians from Israeli oppression while preserving in an a failsafe manner the personal security of all the residents of the former British Mandate.
A Hart presidency, which would commence shortly after his 80th birthday, would also “break the glass ceiling” for octogenarians in the White House. And for modern Americans would become a unique educational experience: having the equivalent of a sage founding father and his lovely wife of 57 years and counting, in the White House. See https://yds61.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/from-gary-hart/
Eric C. Jacobson is a public interest lawyer in Los Angeles. In 1983-88 he provided strategic and policy advice to Colorado Senator Gary Hart during Hart’s presidential campaigns.
In late 2003 Jacobson self-published a near book-length review of political consultant Raymond Strother’s autobiography, titled Falling Up: How a Redneck Invented Political Consulting, published earlier that year. In the 1980s Strother created paid media ads for Senator Hart, while also serving as a consultant to Bill Clinton, and a substantial portion of Strother's autobiography is devoted to his work for Hart and Clinton. Jacobson’s review of Strother’s book (which also serves as a memoir of sorts of Jacobson's experiences in Hart's 1980s presidential campaigns) is titled “Brave Hart, Wild Bill, and the Man Who Helped Create the Bush Family Dynasty While Trying to Elect Both of Them”. A like to it is found here: https://twitter.com/ECJLA/status/515156676874231808
, with a summary of its contents here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1TGN9LFX9JYZB
Originally just "for old times sake", in recent weeks Jacobson has contributed a few comments to stalwart Hart supporter Paul Galvin's Draft Gary Hart 2016 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mediaprimary/?fref=nf
A Los Angeles native born in 1954, Jacobson received a draft number but no one his age was drafted during the Vietnam War era. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UC Berkeley in 1978, where he wrote a senior thesis on the efforts of Progressive Era Governor Hiram Johnson to improve the conditions of agricultural farm workers in California. Jacobson earned a Juris Doctor degree from UC Davis in 1982.
In 1980-1981 Jacobson served as an intern in the district field office of U.S. Representative Ronald V. Dellums. In 1985-86 Jacobson did course work in the graduate political science program at UCLA, where he studied the American presidency in anticipation of the opportunity to work in a Hart Administration in some capacity beginning in January 1989.
In late 1991, following the Persian Gulf War, Jacobson enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserves, and served as an Intelligence Specialist petty officer in the active reserves for almost 3 years. Thereafter he served in the Individual Ready Reserves until his honorable discharge in 1999.
Jacobson sought public office in his own right twice: in 1986 as a Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Congress, a race he entered mainly due his strong disagreement with incumbent Rep. Anthony Beilenson’s vote to support President Reagan’s deployment of U.S. Marines to Lebanon, a vote that made Beilenson co-responsible for the deaths of 248 of these volunteer soldiers, who lost their lives in the first truck bomb incident of the modern era in August 1983.
Jacobson also sought a seat on the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, running on a progressive platform, in 1993.