Saturday, August 05, 2006

Today's Middle East Headlines Proving How Dumb Ronald Reagan Really Was

I often marvel at Bush supporters' ability to see greatness in Republican foreign policy. It's actually cute to me at this point, like when a child says they believe in the Easter Bunny. Since Iran and Lebanon are back in the news, let's revisit the second dumbest president in the last 30 years, Ronald Reagan. Look, I'll concede he was one heck of a movie star. Some of those movies are classics. Everyone talks about "Bedtime for Bonzo", but you can pretty much count on a Reagan appearance in a movie as a guarantee of cinematic greatness. Just a thought: I never call President Bush a chimp, but I wonder if fundamentalist Bush supporters view "Bedtime for Bonzo" as some sort of prophesy? Of course, the right wing spin is that Reagan was just about our greatest president. I liked him as a charismatic figure - he nodded and waved to me one time in a hallway - and he had outstanding timing delivering a joke. He was right there with some of his Hollywood buddies.
My question is about Iran-Contra. Like the Iraq War, it suffers from terminal dumbness - yet Republicans praise the administration that came up with it as being so skilled at foreign policy that it is a wonder we survived Bill Clinton at all. Let's look at the heart of the plan: Selling missiles to Iran. Now, in case you haven't been reading the paper the last few months, Iran is all over it. One big story is about Iran supplying Hezbollah. My question is what kind of presidential dumbass would sell Iran missiles? Does that make any sense? Okay this is overshadowed sometimes by the other Reagan plan of putting several hundred Marines in a high-rise in downtown Beirut, with guards that had no ammunition. Think about that next time a Republican tells you how swift they are at foreign policy. Still, we have yet to get to the heart of the dumbness: If you are making a deal that could really get your administration in trouble, why would you make it with sworn enemies? Did you ask them to promise not to tell? And no fair crossing your fingers? Wouldn't they want to use it to cause you trouble later? As a matter of fact, the Iran-Contra story broke in a newspaper in Lebanon. Gosh, what a surprise. You might remember, this led to quite a stir back home. At this point, it's typical of Bush supporters to say, "But that's old news." First, in Middle Eastern terms that was like yesterday. But second, it has all the hallmarks of the current Republican Party foreign policy which is also extremely dumb. It was not surprising, for example, that a former US ambassador said recently that President Bush didn't even know what Sunnis and Shiites were a couple of months before the war. Going into this Fall we will no doubt hear how we can't trust our foreign policy with anyone but Republicans, but how lame an argument is that? I will give President Bush some credit though. He has yet to sell Iran missiles, like his hero Ronald Reagan did. And spare me the defense that Reagan didn't know about it. You can't have it both ways: Either President Reagan was a kindly old bumbling fool or he was the greatest President of all - someone who knew what was going on in his own administration, especially on a matter as huge as Iran-Contra. Now I will concede that Reagan might have been so out of it, that his subordinates like Poindexter ran wild. You could try and blame the whole stupidity of Reagan Foreign Policy with regards to Iran, on Ollie North. That argument actually has some merit. I mean Ollie's so dumb he's now an analyst on FOX News.


At 1:04 PM, Anonymous butch said...

Oh sure. And the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, and Mogadishu were such smashing successes?

And Reagan wasn't dumb - he didn't know anything about it, remember?

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Diversion 101. Hey, what did you think about Iran-Contra? Clever?

At 1:54 PM, Blogger LaurelhurstDad said...

Love the photograph!

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous butch said...

Not a diversion at all. You were using Iran-Contra to illustrate that Democrats are stronger on defense and foreign policy than Republicans. I was just citing examples to show the opposite.

Iran-Contra was wrong - but clever. It accomplished three goals that were extreme importance to us at the time. It freed the hostages, in funded the Contras, and the weapons we gave to Iran were used to keep Saddam Hussein from conquering the region. That being said, they should have sought the approval of Congress.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

I think the Republican reputation for being good at foreign policy is mostly spin. This current administration just happens to be the worst, which means get ready for 20 years of spin about how brilliant George W. was.

At 11:42 PM, Anonymous butch said...

Bottom line: you cannot judge any contest wihout knowing its outcome.

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget the most important part of the Reagan Legacy: by pulling out of Beirut after the Marine barracks were bombed, he taught the world that terrorist tactics work. Oh sure, he spouted a bunch of tough talk, but within six months we ran away with out tail between our legs.

So much for the vaunted Republican Steely Resolve.


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