Monday, June 07, 2004

Sleepwalking Through History

Before we all drown in the molasses of manufactured nostalgia pouring out of our media outlets, let us remember that Ronald Reagan was the person who increased the risk of nuclear war by greatly adding to U.S. stocks of nuclear weapons. He spent billions of dollars on that and other dubious high-priced defense programs. As a part of the process of throwing money at military industrial complex, he starved domestic spending and ran up record deficits that were not brought under control until Bill Clinton's administration. The deficits were, in fact, an attempt to de-fund the domestic programs he could not get Congress to abolish by artificially creating a situation where we could no longer afford to fund those programs.

Reagan presided over an administration that engaged in secret weapons sales to Iran in order to fund right-wing insurgents in Central America in direct contravention to laws passed by Congress. Characters such as Oliver North, John Poindexter, William Casey and that whole extralegal gang were not patriots, they were outlaws who refused to follow the will of the elected representatives of the people of the United States.

Reagan did not end the Cold War. Gorbachev did. There was no plan to increase defense spending in order to bankrupt the Soviet Union. That the Soviet Union's economy did go south had a lot more to do with its internal inefficiencies and contradictions than it did with any response to U.S. defense policy.

And also, as much as the conservatives complained about how the so-called liberal media unfairly highlighted Reagan's verbal gaffes, the man's grasp of reality was always in doubt. Trees don't pollute.

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