At this point, it should be taken for granted that anything President Obama does or doesn’t do will be met with hysterical outrage and scorn from Republicans and conservative media. Their most recent tantrum is over the handling of the two Navy patrol boats that drifted into Iranian waters, were captured, and promptly released the next day.
Of course, this was taken as an excuse to disparage the President and his whole foreign policy, blaming his historic nuclear peace deal for “emboldening” Iran and letting them “push us around.” Comparisons to Ronald Reagan were made posthaste; the situation was instantly turned into an excuse to provoke a war with Iran. Overcompensating machismo and vague appeals to strength through violence are the consistent themes of what can only be generously referred to as a “discourse,” rather than “jingoistic frenzy” that passes for
It will also come as no surprise that all those who were salivating over the thought of Ronald Reagan turning Tehran into a parking lot are very ignorant of how Ronald Reagan reacted to a much more serious standoff with Iran. The Senior Political Contributor at Forbes, Rick Ungar, took to Facebook to drop a proverbial truth-bomb on the rabid right-wing and correct a few of the serious misconceptions that they have about Reagan:
Sheer wonderment as to all those who are posting the photo of our sailors on their knees as Iranian Revolutionary Guard arrests them. Virtually each and every one of these postings are accompanied by a notice that Obama is a weak jerk for allowing the Iranians to do this to American soldiers and then reminding us that if Ronald Reagan was president, Iran would be a parking lot.
One of the advantages of having graduated high school with Abraham Lincoln is that I was quite present during the Reagan administration. I remember all too well when our Marine barracks in Lebanon was bombed during Reagan’s term of office, killing 241 Marines and injuring another 100. Reagan knew who did it- it was Hezbollah with the support of Iran and Syria. How did Ronald Reagan respond?
First, Reagan assembled his National Security team and hatched a plan to seek retribution by blowing up the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek, Lebanon, which housed Iranian Revolutionary Guards that were there to train Hezbollah fighters. The only problem was that Reagan ultimately decided not to do it because it would harm relations with other Arab nations.
Not only did he not do anything to avenge the deaths of our Marines, four months later he withdrew all of our Marines from Lebanon, never so much as firing a shot in retribution for our dead military. There was no shortage of people at that time who were incensed with that move, just like these armchair quarterbacks who are on Obama’s case because someone took a photograph they don’t like- forget killing over 200 of our finest.
Now, there were others who thought that Reagan did the right thing. You can think what you want but please stop with the “Reagan would have turned the place into a parking lot” when Obama’s response pales by a factor of a million or so when compared to Reagan’s decision. So, to those who like to pretend to be pundits but can’t be bothered to have so much as a clue when it comes to knowing what they are talking about, may I respectfully suggest that you STFU until you study just a little bit of history.
That’s right, Republicans – your beloved patron saint did nothing about the deaths of 200 Americans – not because he didn’t want to, or because he was weak, but because there was much more at stake than his pride or a petty need for revenge. Bombing Damascus and Tehran wouldn’t bring back the dead; it would only cause more strife and conflict in the long run and further damage his foreign policy agenda.
Now consider that without firing a shot, President Obama has disarmed Iran’s nuclear program and immediately defused a potential crisis by using simple diplomacy – but he is still roundly lambasted for it? It should be obvious that the right-wing’s campaign to trigger a war with Iran is nothing but a conspiracy by religious war-hawks, the Israelis, and defense contractors who all stand to profit from such a conflict; the losers would be our soldiers, our economy, millions of innocent civilians, and any possibility of peace or democracy in the Middle East for decades.
Thanks to Rick Ungar – check out his Facebook page here.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.