The selective amnesia of the right when it comes to
God Ronald Reagan is the sort of thing that gets written up in medical journals. It’s definitely a pathological condition. That selective amnesia was on full display on January 19 in a conversation between the immaculately coiffed Tony Perkins of the American Family Association, and Texas Tea Party Congressman Ted Poe.
Perkins and Poe were discussing the recent prisoner exchange between the United States and Iran. While both expressed their pleasure that the five American prisoners being held in Iranian jails were coming home, of course, they were unhappy that the Obama Administration had achieved a victory with the deal. Both saw the swap as opening a Pandora’s Box that would cause other governments hostile to the United States to hold Americans in exchange for ransoms of cash or terrorist prisoners.
The two were certain that conservative hero
God Ronald Reagan would never have done such a terrible thing. Perkins observes,
Long gone are the days of Ronald Reagan when we said, ‘We don’t negotiate with terrorists.’
Yes, thank goodness for that! Reagan wouldn’t negotiate a prisoner exchange with terrorists, he just sold them weapons. Perkins and Poe manage to conveniently forget this little thing known as the “Iran-Contra Affair.”
It’s easy to understand how folks on the right might have forgotten their history of 30 years ago, given they have been so concerned over the “scandals” and “corruption” of the Obama administration. So here’s a little refresher for your right-wing friends, as they sip their beer and lament about “dictator” Obama.
Congress passed this pesky little law that the Reagan administration didn’t like, called the “Boland Amendment.” That law forbade the U.S. government from assisting the “Contra” rebels who were fighting the government of Nicaragua. Reagan told his national security advisor, Robert McFarlane, “I want you to do whatever you have to do to help these people keep body and soul together.” And so McFarlane did.
Following the Islamic revolution in Iran, and the taking of American hostages, the U.S. placed an arms embargo on the new Islamic government. But Iran was engaged in a war with Iraq and wanted to buy arms from America. There were seven hostages being held by Iranian-backed terrorists in Lebanon that Reagan desperately wanted to get released. Reagan approved an “arms for hostages” swap.
This is where a guy named Lt. Col. Oliver North comes into the picture. The Iranians had paid some $30 million for the weapons the U.S. sold them. But only $12 million of that money made it into the U.S. treasury. What happened to the rest? It was funneled by North and his cohorts to the Nicaraguan Contras.
This was a disaster of epic proportions for the Reagan administration, and the number of people who worked for him who were indicted and/or convicted of crimes related to it helped make Reagan’s presidency one of the most corrupt in American history. (Compare this to the “scandals” of Obama, where so far, no one has been indicted, tried, or convicted of anything.)
Not only did Ronald Reagan negotiate with terrorists (even though he denied it, no one believed him), the result of his negotiations was far worse than a prisoner swap. He actually supplied a sworn enemy of America with weapons that could have potentially been used against Americans.
How soon they forget.
Here’s the conversation between Tony Perkins and Ted Poe, via Right Wing Watch:[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/242909973″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=’166′ iframe=”true” /]
Featured image via Wikipedia