|1864, America Re-Elects Lincoln|
THE ELECTION OF 1864
In the fall of 1864, during the height of the US Civil War, the United States held an election (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Election_of_1864). This was the first election held during wartime since the War of 1812. Abraham Lincoln, denounced by many revisionist historians as a tyrant (see earlier post Lincoln in London, Revisionist History and the Ron Paul Campaign 3/17/12), upheld the constitution by NOT declaring martial law and foregoing an election. This act, ignored by Spielberg's Lincoln film (see earlier post Spielberg's Lincoln, 2/6/13), set the best precedent for subsequent crises that the nation would face.
Lincoln was opposed by Democrat George McClellan. General McClellan ran as a "peace candidate" though he did not personally accept his party's platform position on the war. There were many "Copperhead" Democrats who supported an immediate cessation of hostilities. Had the Democratic party prevailed, the Confederacy and then institution of slavery would likely have survived; the 13th amendment would have been doomed in a McClellan administration.
Instead, the American electorate chose Lincoln by a 55 to 45 per cent margin over McClellan. The American people, therefore, chose to see the war through to its victorious conclusion -- the preservation of the Union and the elimination of the scourge of slavery.
The prosecution of the war to its bitter end was the humanitarian choice and the wise choice of the American people.
|Churchill steps out|
|Queen's House, Tower of London|
Hess spent four days here in 1941
|Commander K. and his "Special Relationship" buddies, London|
FDR also cultivated a relationship with King George VI (see earlier post, Hyde Park on the Hudson, 1/19/13) even before the war broke out.
Churchill's refusal to parlay with Hitler and FDR's support for Churchill were the best and most prudent choices to be made at the time. Continuation of the war was the only humanitarian and principled choice.
|Obama says: "Not today"|
As I write today, over 60,000 people have been killed in Syria by the ruthless dictator Bashar al-Assad (See earlier posts Syria Burning 10/12/12, Are Syrian Babies not as Cute as British Babies? 11/18/12). Over 400,000 refugees have been driven into neighbouring countries. Assad's forces have lobbed mortar shells into Turkey killing civilians in a NATO ally. Assad is the greatest regional ally of the Mullahs in Iran, where the centrifuges continue to spin as they labor to develop nuclear weapons. US inaction on Syria sends precisely the wrong message to Iran.
Understandably, after years of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, neither Presidential candidate was eager last year to speak out in favour of supporting the Syrian Rebels. The focus group testing, no doubt, proved that humanitarian intervention in Syria was a losing gambit with the American electorate. After the election, however, many expected things to change.
It has been President Obama himself who has refused to support the Syrian revolution http://www.dw.de/obama-blocks-help-for-syrian-rebels/a-16609732. Those who oppose arming the rebels have suggested that weapons could be turned against Western interests -- exactly the same argument that FDR and Congress rejected in the 'Destroyers for bases' deal with Britain in 1940 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/08/pentagon-supported-plan-syrian-rebels).
Needless to say, principled intervention in Syria need not require direct US military involvement or deployment. Simply providing arms to the rebels should be sufficient to topple the Assad regime.
Syria continues to burn and President Obama continues to dither. Obama professes great admiration for Lincoln, but he refuses to follow his principled humanitarian example. Nor does he emulate either Churchill or FDR.
Last fall American voters chose between Obama and Romney. On the question of Syria, however, it seems that the wackiest policy programs of Ron Paul seem to have prevailed in the Obama White House.
Senator John McCain asked, "How many more have to die before you recommend military action?"