Vinnie the Chin had a great alibi. The
Ronald Reagan out-Chinned the Chin. When caught paying ransom to Khomeini and his Hizbollah terrorists, Reagan did his aw-shucks I’m just a ga-ga grandpa routine, “I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart tells me that’s true, but the facts tell me it is not.” Oh, OK then.
If it were Jimmy Carter who’d been caught in such an act of treason — arming our enemy — Republicans would still be roasting his flesh today. You know it and I know it.
The Reagan Right has used the late President’s funeral for a shameless political victory dance, carefully wiping the blood off the historical files. Before the truth is interred, let us have a moment of remembrance for the dubious doings in the White House while Reagan napped:
* Reagan’s Secretary of Interior, James Watt, launched a biological pogrom against trees. Before he was indicted, the Environmental Protection agency became a country club for polluters’ lobbyists. Reagan’s heart told him it wasn’t true, but the screeching chain saws said otherwise.
* AIDS was identified in 1981. Reagan’s official policy was to hit the research snooze button. Our president did not mention nor act on the epidemic until 1987 — 30,000 funerals too late. The gay death toll brought glee to Reagan’s apocalyptic allies, the mewling mullahs of the Christian Right. (But As the Good Book warns, doing unto others has a price: the same fruitcake fanatics that slowed AIDS research also blocked the stem cell studies that might have saved the dying president from the horrors of Alzheimer’s.)
* Reagan politically fathered those rascally Rosemary’s Babies of the Bush junta: Dick Cheney, Ronnie’s appropriately titled Whip in Congress; Paul Wolfowitz, the kind of Dr. Strangelove that scares even Henry Kissinger; John Poindexter, convicted of abetting Contra terrorists while in the Reagan White House, later Bush’s first Total Information Awareness chieftain; and Reagan Treasury Secretary James Baker, who tried his damnedest to bankrupt America for Ron, and now, from his Bush White House office, is doing the same for Iraq as “special advisor” to the conquered nation.
But there can be no more dangerous creature to have burbled out of the Reagan Frankenstein factory than his Cold War comrade, Osama bin Laden.
In November 2001, with my BBC television and Guardian newspaper colleagues, I reported that, during the Reagan presidency, a
Sounds icky but not too notable until you learn the identities of these “applicants.” They claimed to be engineering students who, when queried as to what school they attended, answered they “could not remember.” They didn’t have to. The unlikely “engineers” had little helpers in the Reagan Administration.
After investigation, the career diplomat, attorney Michael Springmann, learned they were, “recruits, rounded up by Osama bin Laden, to [bring to] the
Uh, oh. They returned to
That story ran world wide at the top of the BBC nightly news — except in the
Ronald Reagan’s loss of memory was, undeniably, a great personal tragedy. But lost in this week’s circus of fakery and fawning for a failed president, is the greater national tragedy: