It is possible to be broadly supportive of the Contra’s without being cognizant of how they were being funded.
Except that the CIA – which is directly under the purview of the Executive Branch and under the scrutiny of the President – was the main sponsor of the Contra’s efforts to traffick cocaine into the US. Which means one of three things:
- He knew about the cocaine trafficking, and looked the other way. Not exactly honorable.
- He refused to look into CIA activity to maintain plausible deniability. Again, not exactly honorable.
- He did look into the reports but was unable to cogitate what they meant, which… reflects positively on him somehow? I would think the President of the United States being unable to even comprehend what his own intelligence services were doing would be a very distinct flaw when he’s using said intelligence services to fund terrorists.
Of course, the cocaine trafficking distracts from the Contra’s main activity: burning houses, mass rape, and murdering children.
Either the man supporting a group that uses these tactics is definitely not honorable, or he’s an imbecile. I wouldn’t call the Soviet and Chinese support of the Vietcong – who were, from the point of view of the Communists, freedom fighters against a decadent regime that regularly abused its citizens, as well as fighting an American expeditionary force that razed villages and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians – particularly honorable, either.
The view that the Contra’s main activity was burning houses, mass rape and murdering children was NOT the majority viewpoint in the US at the time. I remember a Konami 1st person shooter game named aptly enough, Contra, where young people could play a heroic Contra fighting the evil communist dictatorship. There was a common perception that those condemning the Contra’s were communist sympathizers all too willing to excuse the depradations of communist dictators while viewing everything the US and its allies did in the worst possible light. Weakness in the face of the US’s global adversaries was seen as the Democratic Party’s achilles heel as a result, and was a major contributing factor to the inability of the Democrats to capture the Presidency during the 80’s.
Except as the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan wouldn’t necessarily have the majority viewpoint, because he had more information to work with.
Except you weren’t fighting communists in a South American country. You were fighting literal aliens. In New Zealand. In the year 2633. Literally the only connection is the fact that you have guns, and the word Contra is in the title because Konami thought it sounded cool.
Which could have been altered by statements about the Contra from, say, the President of the United States. But that would have been painting reactionary forces in a less-than-purely-positive light.
So? Political strength is an excuse for funding terrorists? The paper tiger that the Soviet Union was in the late 80’s was worth propping up with the deaths of thousands and a drug abuse epidemic that would continue to shake the United States for over a decade, and has repercussions that can still be felt today?
And how does any of this make him honorable? How does any of this magically absolve Ronald Reagan of all responsibility?
To paraphase an LBJ quote.
“Crooked is where crooked goes.”
Communism was seen as a major threat to the US, and bad things happen in war. You can work to minimize those bad things, but you can’t let them paralyze you or you’re guaranteed to lose.
It depends on which version of the game you played. The American version of the game depended heavily on the mystique of the Contra fighters, which the game creators tried to wrap the game around, setting the opening stages in a jungle akin to Nicaragua with heroes dressed in the same style as Contra’s, even though, as you say, the game was originally designed to be about defending the world from aliens. I probably should have linked to the series page instead of the game page, since the series page says a little more about the connection that was made to the Contra-Sandanista’s in order to increase the game’s popularity.
Communism was perceived to be the greater threat.
I wouldn’t exactly call the Soviet Union a paper tiger. It couldn’t match the US’s technological or logistical prowess, but it had more than enough nukes to destroy the world several times over, and sufficient conventional military might to make the US uncertain of a war’s outcome anywhere near its borders, and that included Europe.
You’re assuming that the Left’s perception of the Contra’s being the greater evil is absolutely true and that Reagan’s aides transmitted this absolute truth to him. Given his mental deterioration, his aides were acting increasingly independent of him as his presidency progressed.
The Soviet Union was falling apart due to its transition to state capitalism. Sattelite nations were falling off left and right. Communist nations had already been weakened overall from the division in spheres between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. The Soviet Union, once considered the main bastion of the Communist cause, was dead long before it was officially declared.
And, more importantly, communism had zero political traction in the US, with the post-Reagan New Left being even further from what anyone would consider socialism before.
I’m skipping the point about the Contra video game, because honestly it seems superfluous at this point. Other than the fact that the conservative propaganda machine was desperate to invent threats where there were none.
And that’s better? That he was incapable of seeing an absolute truth due to his own addled mental state? Or that he manipulated the truth to support his agenda, which included sponsoring dictatorships in South America through assassination and political sabotage? Or, as you suggest, that he was a weak puppet being propped up by his aides?
The Second Reagan Term should never have happened. As for personal politics
I’m obviously not too thrilled about the first either, but the only real way to avoid that would probably have been to make sure Ford and by extension the Republican Party would have swallowed the poison chalice that was the 1976 presidential “win”.
That would also have meant Carter couldn’t have started many of the Reagan lite and ill advised supply side economic experiments.
Then again I think Trump is much more mentally unbalanced than “Ronnie Raygun” ever was.
All that proves is the gatekeepers of the mainstream media had a much tighter lock on propaganda then they do today. Which is why people are getting hellbent about muzzling the internet and turning it into some sort of cable-tv 2.0.
Depends on how diligent he would have been in reading his “homework” and his ability to absorb and retain the info from his briefings. We all know W. was lazy in that regard and Trump seems to be categorically unable to pay attention to policy and security details unless his name is inserted literally every other line.
As far as I can see it was and is at least very close to being just that.
Cheney in the W. administration does prove that one can profit from and even at times bypass a negligent, lazy or in Reagan’s and possibly Trump’s case mentally unqualified President.
Also true, I have been a political aide and faced with lazy or inept politicians in effect getting to put your own stamp on policy without any of the normal scrutiny or oversight is a temptation we do occasionally face, as does the civil service and all modern lobbyists, mind you.
The thing is not being able to control your aides, or your cabinet or the civil service or overpaid lobbyists and consultants doesn’t usually absolve you, if anything it condemns you (sometimes even in the legal sense for corruption or even treason) and your judgement. If Reagan was mentally disqualified enough to not be able to discharge the responsibilities of his office he should have resigned and let Bush Snr. take over a couple years early.
Satellite nations didn’t start falling off until the year after Reagan left office. Hindsight is 20/20 and it’s pretty easy now, well after the fact, to look back and say the Soviet Union was falling apart, but this was far from clear at the time given how secretive the Soviet Union was.
Yep, it had been successfully neutered as a cultural force inside the US. Nevertheless, the flirtation of some on the left with communism made the left suspect.
Alright. I only brought it up as an illustration of the popular support that existed for the Contra’s at the time.
I’m going to reserve judgment on the Contra’s at this time because I haven’t yet been able to look into your allegations. I will only say that I find it very hard to believe that Reagan would have turned a blind eye if he believed the Contra’s were guilty of all the atrocities that you do. It does not fit with his personality. He may have tolerated some bad stuff as the unfortunate price of war, but not to the level that you clearly believe occurred.
Either Reagan was an honest politician and was also the shittiest judge of character of any of your presidents, apart from maybe Grant or he wasn’t…I don’t know enough about the man to have any great insight on that. Anyway it is damning in either case and that is before the disqualifying Alzheimer’s.
Personally I think Trump is the “shittiest judge of character” among all of the American Presidents I’ve lived through. Reagan certainly made some mistakes in terms of personnel, but so did every other President I can think of.
Trump is either extremely mentally disabled, obviously malignant or both. Trump’s personnel and personal choices go way beyond just being a shitty judge of character into the deliberately petty, vindictive and spiteful and most likely obviously malignant territory, imho. He is certainly the most malign president you have had in modern history.
Speaking as a Trump supporter, this is quite the introduction to see.
At the time, Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer. The coordination comes as no surprise. John Podesta, for example, sure wasn’t saying anything damaging about Hillary, and I’m sure he had plenty of subject matter there.
But Cohen has pretty brazenly betrayed Trump since that time, and this admission now comes as no surprise either.
I’m just gonna say this. As an American, our politics is nothing but a huge mess that needs to be cleaned up. Trump, not much to be said here. Everyone knows what he’s been saying and doing lately. Then there’s the whole “DNC being rigged for Hillary to win”, everyone is pointing their fingers at Russia, and… Well, we’re going to be stuck in this hole for a loooooong time unfortunately. And I’m not even interested in politics but I am horrified at what’s going on in DC.
Scuttlebutt is that Trump used to ridicule Cohen in a scathing manner in front of Trump’s other friends and acquaintances. As a result Cohen developed deep insecurities regarding his relationship with his most important client, and Trump’s perceived willingness (by Cohen) to throw him under the bus has triggered Cohen, causing him to turn on his former patron. Why Cohen didn’t have the self-respect to walk away when the abuse started I have no idea, but their relationship clearly seems to have been a bit dysfunctional with Cohen effectively reduced to the status of a minion at Trumps’ beck and call. Cohen was so aggrieved that he didn’t even try to work out a deal first before turning on Trump from what I’ve heard. His testimony against Trump was driven more by bitterness and anger than a desire for self-preservation in the face of prison time.
Trump is such a Mean Girl.