Sunday, November 25, 2007

1986: When U.S. Was Arming Iran

For those of you who only hear the GOP rewriting of history.... especially the Ronald Reagan presidential-greatness fable.... today is a perfect time to shine some sober light on the myth.

On this day 21 years ago.... November 25, 1986.... Reagan finally fessed up in a press conference.... he had not been in full control of his administration's Iran policy, and as a consequence up to $30 million intended to pay for American arms had been secretly diverted to rebel forces in Nicaragua. (NYTimes)

At the same time, another now mythical figure was also outed as Reagan announced that Lieut. Col. Oliver North had left his post after "serious questions of propriety had been raised."

Yes... Reagan's administration had been shipping clandestine arms to Iran and the money from this sale of arms to Iran was diverted to the Nicaragua contras.... even though Congress had barred military aid to them.

Attorney General Edwin Meese, Reagan's Alberto Gonzales, was quick to shield Reagan, announcing that "The only persons in the United States Government that knew precisely about this--the only person--was Lieut. Colonel North,".... but when asked if he would name a special prosecutor to examine the matter Meese answered with a quick "no."

Meese contended that the first United States-sanctioned arms shipment to Iran took place in 1985 without Reagan's knowledge and was approved by the president only after the fact.

A distinction without a difference it would seem to all but the White House.

A tense Reagan devoted less than four minutes to this revealing and explosive press conference and then briskly walked out of the briefing room, leaving Meese to field questions.

Here ended the Reagan fairy tale.... and, our country did not live happily ever after Reagan's "shadow government," budget-busting administration.

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