A lot of people are writing about Reagan’s birthday, with various political slants. Here are my thoughts.
Under Reagan, the CIA spent millions of dollars funding, arming, and training the Contra army in Nicaragua. The Contras opposed the Sandinista government. Many of the Contras were former military from the overthrown Somoza dictatorship. Among their activities: torturing and murdering civilians. We can reasonably say that this was our tax dollars at work. A CIA training manual for the Contras was found that recommended the assassination of judges, police, and other public officials. Was Mr. Reagan totally ignorant of what we were paying for, or did he approve? Either answer brings shame on his presidency and our country. Our activities there were condemned by almost every country in the U.N., including the UK under Thatcher.
After Congress prohibited funding of the Contras in 1983, the administration illegally and secretly funded them by selling weapons to Iran’s fundamentalism Islamic government run by Ayatollah Khomeini. It’s hard to count how many different ways this was a horrifically bad idea.
The above activities to overthrow the Sandinistas continued even after the 1984 election that gave them legitimate rule. European and Canadian observers declared it a free and fair democratic election. Which tells us all we need to know about much Reagan loved democracy.
There is more that could be said. For example, was it really wise to send billions of dollars worth of weapons and support to Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan who were attacking their Soviet invaders? Osama Bin Laden is said to be among those who received U.S. aid. Remember when Reagan vetoed an anti-apartheid bill in Congress and even the Republican-controlled Senate knew he was wrong and voted to override the veto?
I’m not saying other presidents, including Democratic presidents, have not made and don’t continue to make mistakes. I’m just saying that Reagan’s legacy is a shameful one when it comes to regard for human life and democratic values. And don’t get me started on Nancy Reagan setting her husband’s schedule based on the prognostications of her astrologer!
These things are what occur to me when I see and hear all the Reagan worship going on for this birthday. Rant over. You may resume normal blogification.