Sunday, January 23, 2011

Glenn Reynolds to Ted Koppel: Wah! Leave Ronnie Alone!

Geez, what a WATB:
TED KOPPEL: 30 years after the Iran hostage crisis, we’re still fighting Reagan’s war. Um, wasn’t Jimmy Carter President when the Hostage Crisis began? And if he’d taken decisive action instead of dithering, we probably wouldn’t still be fighting this war, and doing badly enough that supporters of the current Democratic President are trying to blame Reagan. Instead, Carter temporized, much as Obama has been doing on numerous fronts.
Let's consider these points, one at a time.

1) What would "taking decisive action" have precisely entailed? Specifics, please. Wingnuts like Putz love to flog Carter for not nuking Tehran, but Carter did not want the hostages to die, and approved a military mission to free the hostages, which failed. How is the military's failure Carter's fault?

2) Obama has expanded the War on Terror into Pakistan, and doubled the number of troops in Afghanistan. By what measure is this "temporizing"?

3) On Reagan's watch, we lost 241 Marines in Lebanon and his response was to retreat, which Putz and his ilk would call "appeasement" or "fecklessness" if Reagan were a Democrat. Not to mention the fact that Reagan sold weapons to the country we're supposedly "at war" with.

The fact is, both parties have been a disaster in the Middle East, including Carter, who tried to fight off the right with his ill-conceived Carter Doctrine. Reagan wasn't any better, and probably should've been impeached for Iran Contra. And we know now that his bombing of Libya led to the Pan-Am Lockerbie attack, which killed hundreds of Americans. HW Bush launched a war with Iraq after winking at Saddam, and left Saddam in power. Clinton bombed a defanged Iraq mercilessly and then supported the Bush/Cheney invasion.

To be sure, the worst of all was Bush/Cheney, who were asleep at the wheel on 9/11 and managed to lose two wars in the region, one of which was totally unnecessary -- all resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. But Putz's post shows how you have to twist yourself in knots to blame one side.

Pretty flexible for a "non-partisan libertarian."

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