Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ronald Reagan, Enabler of Atrocities

By Robert Parry
February 6, 2011

When you’re listening to the many tributes to President Ronald Reagan, often for his talent making Americans feel better about themselves, you might want to spend a minute thinking about the many atrocities in Latin America and elsewhere that Reagan aided, covered up or shrugged off in his inimitable "aw shucks" manner.

Read on.


Kevin Ryan said...

Thanks for this, Bob.

The attempts to glorify Reagan represent another great example of how our media ignores or directly contradicts real history through the use of propaganda.

When you say "Reagan's atrocities," it would be good to make clear that it was his administration. That included...

VP, GHW Bush
Dep Sec of DOD and NSA, Frank Carlucci
WH Chief of Staff, Treasury Sec and NSC member, James Baker
Asst Sec of DOD, Richard Perle (and his asst, Douglas Feith)
Asst Sec of State, Paul Wolfowitz (and his asst, Lewis Libby)
Dep Dir of CIA, Robert Gates
Special Asst to the President, David Addington
Ambassador for "Counterterrorism", Paul Bremer
Asst Sec of DOD, Richard Armitage

So, you're really talking about many of the same people who brought us the 9/11 Wars.

Anonymous said...

Reagan truly was the fascist gun in the West! He was reprehensible in both his foreign and domestic policy--a truly evil man.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention what Reagan did domestically. We never had homelessness in American cities as we have since Reagan cut mental health benefits and publicly supported hospitalization for the mentally less- and incapable. That legacy lingers on and grows daily.

mario said...

No matter how many Mayans were massacred in Guatemala here in the US the majority of the population is oblivious to that terrible historical fact and, in the meantime, Reagan the enabler of those crimes is elevated to the Pantheon of the Greatest American Heroes.

As for that other criminal; the fanatic and genocidal General Efrain Rios Montt he's still alive and well and a dominant figure in the political sphere in Guatemala where neither local nor international justice can reach him.

Thanks for this, Mr Parry.

RangerTommy said...

Thank you for this summary, Mr. Parry. Having spent some time in Guatemala in '99, I was absolutely stunned to listen to firsthand accounts of the atrocities from the Mayan villagers who lived through them (primarily in the Ixil Triangle).

It's a little spooky to see how suddenly they stop talking and go on alert when they hear the sound of a helicopter. I asked them about that, and they said that it was usually helicopters that would come and drop explosives on the villages.

I could go on and on, but the country owes Guatemala (and other countries) a heck of a lot more than an apology.

Anonymous said...

I copied and pasted this comment from an opednews article about Reagan was neither a great or a good president and this comment says it all:

"I stood close to Reagan in 1974 and watched him speak and take questions. Even then he had no real sense of right and wrong or justice. The positions he took were given to him.

For god's sake he shilled for cigarettes. It is one of the great frauds in American history that he is held by some as a great president when he wasn't even a good man."

How very true. One can gage how far off track the moral compass the US has come when Reagan is idolized, airports and public buildings named after him. Soon Reagan's supporters will be clamoring for a Reagan national holiday and asking to rename UC Berkeley as the new UC Ronald Reagan campus.

Let's not forget how eager he was to dismiss the AIDS crisis that erupted in and eighties by doing nothing until so many gay men had died and infection rates were on the way down. He was the perfect President for those of great wealth and power who wanted to dismantle the US Government, and turn the media into propaganda for the rightwing. He was the President who laid the foundation for which other GOP Presidents have built upon.

M Lucky Gold said...

Yes, thank you very much for this excellent summary of a terrifying evil.

Will the truth will out?

The more power someone without a conscience has, the longer and deeper the repercussions.

God help us do better.

Barbara said...

As Special Assistant to President Reagan's Chief Domestic Policy Adviser, I was in the meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room not long after Reagan became President when Stockman formally presented the results of his 'burning the midnight oil' analysis of the future of the U.S. economy if Reagan were to successfully fulfill his campaign promises to the new President and his Department secretaries, so I know from direct experience that Stockman is either misremembering or not telling the truth when he says that Reagan's aim in passing massive tax cuts was to fix the slumping economy because he believed in 'supply side ('voodoo') economics.' Reagan's real and conscious aim -- which he explicitly said to Stockman at that meeting -- was to create massively increased federal deficits by combining massive tax cuts with massively increased defense spending, resulting in massive increases in federal borrowing necessitating a greater and greater share of the federal budget going to service the federal debt, and using the increases in debt servicing and defense spending to hammer down the domestic side of the federal budget. I will never forget, at the end of Stockman's presentation using charts to drive his point home -- I still have those charts -- that he protested to Reagan, who appeared to have nodded off during the presentation -- that if the Congress passed the tax cuts and defense increases Reagan wanted, that the federal debt would increase by $5 Trillion if he served out two terms. Stockman clearly expected Reagan to be aghast at his projections and cut back on his proposed defense increases or tax cuts, or a combination of both. Instead, the moment Stockman gave his $5 Trillion punch line and paused, Reagan suddenly opened his eyes, sat up, turned to face Stockman head on and said in a crisp authoritarian tone, "I'm afraid you misunderstand, Mr. Stockman. That is our intention." It wasn't long before Stockman, whom I hailed as 'Deep Cut' when he passed my desk on his way into see Reagan's Chief Domestic Policy Adviser who oversaw domestic and thus financial policy, resigned in protest of Reagan's real policies and wrote his book, though he never told the full, real story. The truth is, the Republicans rail against Democrats' alleged "Tax and Spend" polices, but their real agenda since Reagan has been to "Borrow and Spend." But there was a problem. Reagan's real goal -- to use the pincer of defense increases and tax cuts to try to suffocate the domestic side of the budget -- would only work if Americans believed that the Soviet Union was a real enemy. Thus Reagan's VP Bush's "Team B" hype of the Soviet defense threat as well as Gorbachev's otherwise inexplicable remark to the effect that "We're going to do the worst thing possible (for your goals). We're going to cease to exist," which the Soviet Union then did. Reagan's goal didn't again become achievable until the Republicans under George W. Bush manufactured a new outside enemy for its 'long' (they hope, endless) war on 'terrorism', a true purpose of which is, once again, to try to pincer-starve the domestic side of the U.S. federal budget.
Barbara Honegger
White House Policy Analyst and Special Assistant to the Chief Domestic Policy Adviser to President Reagan, 1981-83

Douglas Williams said...

Although a good history lesson on the legacy of the Reagan era, it has not clearly enough been stated that he did not himself wield the power to do all of the horrible things that happened during those years. Bearing in mind that George Bush was the VP, and also the ex-director of the CIA at the time, it is far more likely that he had the intelligence and connections to actually get the job done. And I have to say the man must have been born with both intelligence (unlike his son) and a teflon coating as he is rarely if ever even mentioned as being perhaps the spearhead of the entire operations during the Reagan years. He, of course, worked for the banking cartel who controls everything in this country and to whom we are so very deeply indebted (for many, many, future generations), while Reagan was little more than a paid Actor to play the puppet presidential role he was handed.
Bush's son went on to play the puppet presidential role later, and allegedly led the invasian of the sovereign foreign nation of Iraq while most would agree that it was the VP = Dick Cheney who arguably was the brains/cartel connection and spearhead of that administration in a much more public fashion than the mysterious first Bush was during the Reagan years.

Anonymous said...

Dear Barbara,

Wow! Thank you for writing such a great comment regarding Reagan's true response to David Stockman's presentation of "the results of his 'burning the midnight oil' analysis of the future of the U.S. economy". I wouldn't have known otherwise. It's pretty clear that the whole purpose of the GOP strategy is to bankrupt the US Gov and to be able to cancel any social oligations or domestic spending of any sort. The only kind of spending the GOP cares about is military spending and earmarks for their particular "base" and corporations. The rest of Americans, lower and middle classes, can go jump off a cliff, I think is the appropriate message along with the GOP's version of the strategy for health care: if you don't have insurance and have no money and you get sick, just die quickly, very quickly.

Reagan didn't care one whit about the middle class or the average American, he cared only about racking up more brownie points by the big boys who got him into power and who were continuing to enrich him and his family. He sold out to become Gov of CA and he sole out again and again as President of the US.

The US is very close to becoming a 4th world banana republic where the military goes thru a region and simply rounds up anyone who is unemployed or poor because their economic condition automatically means that their outlook, values are at odds with the predators who run this country, i.e. the very filthy rich.

The GOP should be tried for treason as all they want to do is shut the US down, cancel any domestic side spending (health care, education, social security) and use the Constitution as toilet tissue.

M Lucky Gold said...

Barbara --

Wow from me, too.