Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Are they Nixonians or Confederates?

47 Republican senators sent a letter to Iranian leaders warning them not to sign any nuclear agreement with President Obama, saying they would not honor such an agreement after Obama left office. This sort of thing is not supposed to occur. Party politics are supposed to end at the water’s edge. But this sort of thing has happened before.

Vox does a good job of summarizing here.

In 1968, the Nixon campaign worried that President Johnson’s peace negotiations would succeed in ending the Vietnam War and win Humphrey the election. So Nixon sent an envoy to South Vietnam and persuaded the South Vietnamese to scuttle the peace talks, saying Nixon would give them a better deal when he was elected. He was elected, probably because the talks failed (it was a very close election) and the war went on for several more years, costing hundreds of thousands more lives, and ripping our nation apart.

When the evidence became public years later, Politico reported it here.

In 1980 the Reagan campaign worried that President Carter might be successful in negotiating the release of the hostages held in Iran, helping his re-election effort. So Reagan sent an envoy to persuade the Iranians to hold the hostages because Reagan would give them a better deal when he was elected. He was elected. The hostages were released the day he was sworn in.

The fairly complete story of the Reagan scheme is told here.

Reagan went on to do other deals with the Iranians who took American hostages. He traded arms for hostages. Those arms were used by Mideast terrorists. The profits from the arms sales were funneled to our own terrorist death squads in Central America. When he was elected, George H. W. Bush pardoned everyone involved in this illegal activity. Some of them served in the George W. Bush administration, where they were involved in the justification of torture and other unAmerican policies.

Because the Iran Contra Affair played out in public, we can see the film footage. Reagan pled forgetfulness and was anointed a saint by the Republican Party.

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