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Hullabaloo


Sunday, June 01, 2014

 
The right wingers are still incontinent, all these years after 9/11

by digby

There is literally nothing they won't bitch and moan about. Even the release of an American POW:
“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.) and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, James M. Inhofe (Okla.), said in a joint statement.
The most famous POW in American history was also unhappy
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that the detainees transferred from Guantanamo to Qatar, where they are to stay for at least a year, “are hardened terrorists who have the blood of Americans and countless Afghans on their hands. I am eager to learn what precise steps are being taken to ensure that these vicious and violent Taliban extremists never return to the fight against the United States and our partners or engage in any activities that can threaten the prospects for peace and security in Afghanistan.”
It probably would have been better not to torture these people if that's a big concern. And the idea that releasing these prisoners will somehow put the nation at risk because they are "bad" is fatuous in the extreme. I hate to break the news but the world is full of bad people. Some are even ... gasp ... American. No lie.

By the way, McCain was all tangled up in Iran-Contra -- an illegal policy to sell arms to an enemy in exchange for prisoner release --- although it wasn't well known at the time. And while he pulled his usual "maverick" con during that period, he vociferously defended Ollie North and Ronald Reagan.

Ted Cruz is on TV right now, condemning this action and talking about foreign policy. Let's just say that if this Tea Party favorite is supposed to be a libertarian isolationist, I think people need to think again.

You really don't want this man to be president. Not that it seems likely. But history shows that even those who most people dismiss as clowns can actually come to power from time to time.

Update: Scanning the morning shows I see that the press is taking up these absurd arguments. Apparently, it's not necessary for the interviewers to point out that this is not the first time in history that the US Government has "negotiated with terrorists" for the release of prisoners.

Once more, with feeling:

The Iran–Contra affair also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or the Iran–Contra scandal, was a political scandal in the United States that was uncovered by Daniel Sheehan and the Christic Institute, and became national news in November of 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo. Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of several hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.

The scandal began as an operation to free the seven American hostages being held in Lebanon by a group with Iranian ties connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to Iran, and then the United States would resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of the U.S. hostages. The plan deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages. Large modifications to the plan were devised by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua.

While President Ronald Reagan was a supporter of the Contra cause, the evidence is disputed as to whether he authorized the diversion of the money raised by the Iranian arms sales to the Contras. Handwritten notes taken by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger on December 7, 1985, indicate that Reagan was aware of potential hostage transfers with Iran, as well as the sale of Hawk and TOW missiles to "moderate elements" within that country. Weinberger wrote that Reagan said "he could answer to charges of illegality but couldn't answer to the charge that 'big strong President Reagan passed up a chance to free the hostages'". After the weapon sales were revealed in November 1986, Reagan appeared on national television and stated that the weapons transfers had indeed occurred, but that the United States did not trade arms for hostages. The investigation was impeded when large volumes of documents relating to the scandal were destroyed or withheld from investigators by Reagan administration officials. On March 4, 1987, Reagan returned to the airwaves in a nationally televised address, taking full responsibility for any actions that he was unaware of, and admitting that "what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages"

Oh, and remember that George Bush St pardoned all those who were convicted in that scandal on his way out the door.


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