Following President Obama’s historic deal with Iran over its nuclear program, a fusillade of predictable Republican rabble emanated from every corridor of Obama Derangement Syndrome centers (IE, Fox News). But since revisionism is the only history that Republicans care about these days, it’s important to note Republican hero Ronald Reagan’s notorious dealings with Iran.
Now, Iran has forever been a hot Persian mess ever since the U.S. backed a CIA coup d’etat in 1953 to topple the then-democratically elected President of Iran, mostly because the Iranian president did the unspeakable act of trying to nationalize Iran’s oil industry. The United States and the CIA eventually installed Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a pro-west dictator. This of course led to the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and the Islamic takeover of Iran by Ayatollah Khomeini, as well as the seizure of the U.S. embassy and taking of American hostages (it was in Argo). For the next thirty-plus years, Iran has remained an implacable foe of America, with its nuclear program only exasperating the situation and giving neocons a giant boner for war.
But what about that time the saintly Ronald Reagan made a dirty secret deal with Iran?
Back in the 1980s when we’re fighting communism and Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, Ronald Reagan was doing anything and everything to defeat the evil red menance, particularly in South and Central America. He went so far as invading a country (Grenada) with a freaking drink bead based economy, and teaching American-style capitalism to Chile’s murderous dictator Augusto Pinochet. Now, every kid growing up in the 80s remembers playing Contra on Nintendo. Hell, I can sooner remember the secret code used to give your player infinite lives before I can remember my significant others birthday. Well, that delightful game we were playing, though not specifically mentioned, was somewhat based on the political turmoil in the tiny Central American country of Nicaragua.
Ronald Reagan’s efforts to eradicate Communism spanned the globe, but the insurgent Contras’ cause in Nicaragua was particularly dear to him. Battling the Cuban-backed Sandinistas, the Contras were, according to Reagan, “the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.” Under the so-called Reagan Doctrine, the CIA trained and assisted this and other anti-Communist insurgencies worldwide. Assisting involved supplying financial support, a difficult task politically after the Democratic sweep of congressional elections in November 1982. First Democrats passed the Boland Amendment, which restricted CIA and Department of Defense operations in Nicaragua specifically; in 1984, a strengthened Boland Amendment made support almost impossible. A determined, unyielding Reagan told National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, “I want you to do whatever you have to do to help these people keep body and soul together.”
Of course what followed is what causes Republicans heads to spin in a race to revise history.
In 1985, while Iran and Iraq were at war, Iran made a secret request to buy weapons from the United States. McFarlane sought Reagan’s approval, in spite of the embargo against selling arms to Iran. McFarlane explained that the sale of arms would not only improve U.S. relations with Iran, but might in turn lead to improved relations with Lebanon, increasing U.S. influence in the troubled Middle East. Reagan was driven by a different obsession. He had become frustrated at his inability to secure the release of the seven American hostages being held by Iranian terrorists in Lebanon. As president, Reagan felt that “he had the duty to bring those Americans home,” and he convinced himself that he was not negotiating with terrorists. While shipping arms to Iran violated the embargo, dealing with terrorists violated Reagan’s campaign promise never to do so. Reagan had always been admired for his honesty.
So there you have it: Saint Reagan happily violated the law when he took money from America’s enemy, supplied it with weapons, and then ultimately kept it secret. And yet every right-wing nut and their mother are coming out of the wood ward, accusing Obama for starting World War III by creating a courageous pact at improving U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East. And, not surprisingly, their tiny little memories overlook their hero Reagan’s dirty little past regarding Iran. Maybe it’s because Reagan had dementia, so they think it’s patriotic to be absent-minded or something.
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