[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 135
NOVEMBER 14 1988
”The President did not know what was going on, and that’s not right. I think it will be seen in the context it should be seen in – that he was badly served by people on his staff.”
Nancy Reagan, NYT — Nov. 14 1988
In an interview published in The Los Angeles Times, Nancy Reagan said that she felt compelled to exert influence in President Reagan’s eight years in office because she did not believe that his staff served him well.
Mrs. Reagan added that she ”was hurt, surprised and disappointed by their actions.” She also acknowledged wielding power over her husband. ”In no way do I apologize for it.”
As the best example of the staff’s failure, Mrs Reagan pointed to the Iran-contra affair.
She was referring to White House aides having sold arms to Iran in hopes of freeing American hostages and having diverted the profits from the arms sales to rebels in Nicaragua.
Mrs Reagan is adamant that the President did not know what was going on. That is however untrue. The President was certainly ill-advised by his aides but Reagan knew full well what was going on regarding the dealings with Tehran.
As Nathan Thrall wrote:
“once Reagan could believe that […] Rafsanjani could be thanked for having the hostages released but not blamed for having them taken, it was but a small, casuistic step to believe what Reagan wrote in his memoir: that heavy arms could be sold to the moderate Iranians because they would use their influence with the Hizballah and try to get our hostages freed.” [1, 2]
In the first month of 1986, Reagan wrote in his diary, “I agreed to sell TOWs to Iran.”
By December of the same year, the Reagan Administration had provided Iran over $50 million in arms, the release of hundreds of Lebanese Shi’a, intelligence to help it defeat Iraq, and pledges to arrange for the freeing of the Da’wa 17.
At the end of Reagan’s arms-for-hostages negotiations with Tehran, there were more kidnapped Americans in Lebanon than there were at its beginning. Iran sponsor to terrorism did not stop and the US had outraged its few Arabic allies in the Middle East and sponsored acts of terrorism and unspeakable violations of human rights in Central America.
In a pathetic and ill-defined attempt to repair the damages caused by the Iran-Contras affair, the Reagan-Bush administration will then start a chain of events that will end in an even greater fiasco. That story however has yet to be told.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
Nathan Thrall has written on culture and Arab-Israeli relations for The Jerusalem Post. He lives in Tel Aviv and holds an M.A. in International Politics from Columbia University.
(2) Reagan, An American Life, p. 507.
(3) Tower and Muskie, The Tower Commission Report, p.38.
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