Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Mitt Romney and Reagan's campaigners compared

Mitt Romney begins his op-ed piece in The Washington Post today with the following:
Beginning Nov. 4, 1979 , dozens of U.S. diplomats were held hostage by Iranian Islamic revolutionaries for 444 days while America’s feckless president, Jimmy Carter, fretted in the White House. Running for the presidency against Carter the next year, Ronald Reagan made it crystal clear that the Iranians would pay a very stiff price for continuing their criminal behavior. On Jan. 20, 1981, in the hour that Reagan was sworn into office, Iran released the hostages. The Iranians well understood that Reagan was serious about turning words into action in a way that Jimmy Carter never was.
Here are some links to articles from people who believe that the Reagan campaign actively worked to keep the Americans as hostages in the 1980 campaign in order to win the election, paying the Iranians with weapons in the effort.

The fact that the Reagan administration later traded weapons for hostages with the Iranians makes the claim more credible, as does the fact that Reagan administration officials used funds raised by selling weapons to the Iranians to fund its military adventures in Central America, breaking the Constitutional requirement that funds must be appropriated by Congress. I find it entirely credible that people  campaigning for Reagan delayed the hostage release, and that the Carter administration did eventually succeed in negotiating that release. It did so without starting a war.

Now Mitt Romney, a man with no history of foreign policy experience at all, is charging that the Obama administration is ineffective in negotiating with Iran, and Romney is doing so to win an election.

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