reagan is dead and im sad

I found out that Reagan had died yesterday afternoon as I was sitting in my friends backyard, talking to the mother of an Army major about how little respect our men and women in uniform have for their civilian leader, Donald Ill show you how to wage a war Rumsfeld. (She was saying that, according to her son, quite a few people didnt show up for the graduation speech that the Secretary of Defense had just delivered at West Point.) As I recall, we were just sitting there, drinking beer and wondering whether or not Rumsfeld had taken note of the empty seats, when someone sitting across the patio offered the non-sequitur, And Reagans dead.

No one broke down crying, but a few of us did start to reminisce about the good old days when Reagan was president and the Iran-Contra affair was the worst thing that we could imagine. I wouldnt have thought it possible back then, when I was protesting in front of the White House every few weeks (I was living in DC from 86 to 88), but I no longer think Reagan was that bad of a president. The Evil Empire nonsense, the na�e just say no to drugs campaign, the support of apartheid in South Africa, the Arms for Hostages scandal, trickle down economics, the enormous deficit, and all the rest of it, just dont phase me anymore. They seem almost quaint by todays standards. Reagan, for all of his saber rattling, never took us to war under false pretenses, and, for all his talk of God, never really believed that he had been called to do his work here on earth.

I could go on and on, but it makes me sad… I never thought Id see the day that Id respect Ronald Wilson Reagan, but here it is.

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One Comment

  1. Anonymous
    Posted June 8, 2004 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    A quote from Christopher Hitchens

    Ronald Reagan claimed that the Russian language had no word for “freedom.” (The word is “svoboda”; it’s quite well attested in Russian literature.) Ronald Reagan said that intercontinental ballistic missiles (not that there are any non-ballistic missilesa corruption of language that isn’t his fault) could be recalled once launched. Ronald Reagan said that he sought a “Star Wars” defense only in order to share the technology with the tyrants of the U.S.S.R. Ronald Reagan professed to be annoyed when people called it “Star Wars,” even though he had ended his speech on the subject with the lame quip, “May the force be with you.” Ronald Reagan used to alarm his Soviet counterparts by saying that surely they’d both unite against an invasion from Mars. Ronald Reagan used to alarm other constituencies by speaking freely about the “End Times” foreshadowed in the Bible. In the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan told Yitzhak Shamir and Simon Wiesenthal, on two separate occasions, that he himself had assisted personally at the liberation of the Nazi death camps.

    There was more to Ronald Reagan than that. Reagan announced that apartheid South Africa had “stood beside us in every war we’ve ever fought,” when the South African leadership had been on the other side in the most recent world war. Reagan allowed Alexander Haig to greenlight the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, fired him when that went too far and led to mayhem in Beirut, then ran away from Lebanon altogether when the Marine barracks were bombed, and then unbelievably accused Tip O’Neill and the Democrats of “scuttling.” Reagan sold heavy weapons to the Iranian mullahs and lied about it, saying that all the weapons he hadn’t sold them (and hadn’t traded for hostages in any case) would, all the same, have fit on a small truck. Reagan then diverted the profits of this criminal trade to an illegal war in Nicaragua and lied unceasingly about that, too. Reagan then modestly let his underlings maintain that he was too dense to understand the connection between the two impeachable crimes. He then switched without any apparent strain to a policy of backing Saddam Hussein against Iran. (If Margaret Thatcher’s intelligence services had not bugged Oliver North in London and become infuriated because all European nations were boycotting Iran at Reagan’s request, we might still not know about this.)

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