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The lead story on Countdown tonight dealt with John McCain's temper, specifically an incident related by Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran and diaried here.

I was astonished to hear Rachel Maddow state that according to Senator Cochran, John McCain had assaulted a Sandinista rebel.

Rachel, I am disappointed in you.  A correction is in order. A brief history of U.S. - Nicaraguan relations between 1978 and 1987 follows.  To make up for the sketchiness I have included a couple of links where you can read more.

In 1978 the Sandinista National Liberation Front launched a guerrilla war against U.S. supported dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle.  On July 17, 1979, Somoza fled first to Miami then to Paraguay (where he was assassinated a year later).  On July 20, 1979, the Sandinista forces marched into Managua.  Many members of Somoza's National Guard escaped over the border into Honduras where they became known as contrarrevolucionarios or Contras.

After 1980 the U.S. began funding the Contras.  The CIA began covert attacks against Nicaraguan infrastructure such as bridges and fuel depots going so far as to arrange for Nicaraguan harbors to be mined in 1984.  The World Court in the Hague ruled that the mining of Nicaraguan harbors contravened international law.  The U.S. rejected the ruling but this incident lead to the strengthening of the Boland amendment.

U.S. and Contra activities provoked the Sandinista junta into declaring a state a emergency in 1982, however in 1984 elections were finally held.  Daniel Ortega received 67% of the vote for president and the Sandinista party won the majority of seats in the National Assembly.  International observers declared the elections to have been freely held.  So in 1987, whoever it was that John McCain grabbed by the collar, it was not a Sandinista rebel but a member of the democratically elected ruling party of a sovereign nation.

History of Nicaragua
Political History of Nicaragua

Originally posted to houyhnhnm on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 06:29 PM PDT.

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