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Ari Fleischer occasionally likes to pose as a man who values comity and respect in partisan politics. But that, naturally, is a self-authored fiction. So, ungracious as we'd expect, Fleischer offered this nugget of anti-wisdom upon the second inauguration of Barack Obama:

What were the Iranians scared about following President Reagan's second inaugural?

That they wouldn't have enough room in their arsenal for all the military-grade weapons Reagan's administration was going to sell them in exchange for hostages (a.k.a. "negotiating with terrorists")?

That the film rights to the scheme -- which involved Swiss bank accounts, paramilitary Latin American forces, a President shown lying by his own Defense Secretary's handwritten notes, the Sultan of Brunei, and a price-gouging third party arms contractor -- might be licensed by Disney, and the Iranian government might miss out on some sweet royalties?

From Wikipedia:

The following arms were supplied to Iran:

August 20, 1985. 96 TOW anti-tank missiles
September 14, 1985. 408 more TOWs
November 24, 1985. 18 Hawk anti-aircraft missiles
February 17, 1986. 500 TOWs
February 27, 1986. 500 TOWs
May 24, 1986. 508 TOWs, 240 Hawk spare parts
August 4, 1986. More Hawk spares
October 28, 1986. 500 TOWs

It's a small thing. But it's worth noting that even in the midst of their sourpuss Twitter outbursts, they can't even come up with an insult that won't backfire on them. Ari delves into the genre of Reagan fan fiction to pretend Iran was afraid of the United States in 1986. No, they were so unafraid of Reagan's United States that they were able to successfully demand thousands of anti-tank missiles in exchange for releasing several hostages.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Iran was scared that Reagan might renege on (8+ / 0-)

    his promises to them.  If we wish to look at American actions that strengthened the rule of the Mullahs, Reagan and Ollie North certainly number among the enablers

  •  How do you know he was referring to (0+ / 0-)

    Mr. Reagan's second term?

    •  Why would he be comparing... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, Eyesbright

      ...Reagan's first term inauguration to Obama's second term inauguration? That would be pretty inane.

      But let's say that's what happened, and he's going to posit that because Carter was able to negotiate the release of the hostages in  1980-1, that means that Iran was afraid of Reagan.

      The Iran-Contra arms sales still occurred. Is this mythical fear the Iranians had somehow more important than the fact that the fear was totally misguided, that the US President would sign off on allowing the sale of thousands of anti-tank missiles to the Iranian military?

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:32:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  About the inane part . .. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nuclear winter solstice
        Why would he be comparing...

        ...Reagan's first term inauguration to Obama's second term inauguration? That would be pretty inane.

        did you forget who we're talking about?

        In any event, I suspect the Iranians very well may have been afraid of Reagan - you know, what with supporting Saddam Hussein at the same time they were providing them with weapons .. . .

        IIRC, close to a million people died on both sides of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s - a true triumph of US foreign policy (if you are one who revels in cynicism .. . ).

        •  Eh, believe what you want... (3+ / 0-)

          ...they delayed the release to humiliate Carter for his support of the deposed Shah, not because they were afraid of Reagan. And if they were truly afraid of Reagan during the 1981-86 period, they would not have managed to get thousands of anti-tank missiles in exchange for the release of several hostages. It's absurd to view that as the action or position of a scared party.

          it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

          by Addison on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:38:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not my beliefs, it's well documented (0+ / 0-)

            e.g., from wikipedia:

            Starting in 1982 with Iranian success on the battlefield, the United States made its backing of Iraq more pronounced, normalizing relations with the government, supplying it with economic aid, counter-insurgency training, operational intelligence on the battlefield, and weapons.[3][13]

            President Ronald Reagan initiated a strategic opening to Iraq, signing National Security Study Directive (NSSD) 4-82 and selecting Donald Rumsfeld as his emissary to Hussein, whom he visited in December 1983 and March 1984.[14] According to U.S. ambassador Peter W. Galbraith, far from winning the conflict, "the Reagan administration was afraid Iraq might actually lose."[15]

            In 1982, Iraq was removed from a list of State Sponsors of Terrorism to ease the transfer of dual-use technology to that country. According to investigative journalist Alan Friedman, Secretary of State Alexander Haig was "upset at the fact that the decision had been made at the White House, even though the State Department was responsible for the list."[3] "I was not consulted," Haig is said to have complained.

            Howard Teicher served on the National Security Council as director of Political-Military Affairs. He accompanied Rumsfeld to Baghdad in 1983.[16] According to his 1995 affidavit and separate interviews with former Reagan and Bush administration officials, the Central Intelligence Agency secretly directed armaments and hi-tech components to Iraq through false fronts and friendly third parties such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait, and they quietly encouraged rogue arms dealers and other private military companies to do the same:

            [T]he United States actively supported the Iraqi war effort by supplying the Iraqis with billions of dollars of credits, by providing U.S. military intelligence and advice to the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to make sure that Iraq had the military weaponry required. The United States also provided strategic operational advice to the Iraqis to better use their assets in combat... The CIA, including both CIA Director Casey and Deputy Director Gates, knew of, approved of, and assisted in the sale of non-U.S. origin military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to Iraq. My notes, memoranda and other documents in my NSC files show or tend to show that the CIA knew of, approved of, and assisted in the sale of non-U.S. origin military weapons, munitions and vehicles to Iraq.[17]

            So, if the reference Ari made was to Reagan's second inauguration, then all of what is described above that had already transpired quite rightly would/should have make/made the Iranians rather afraid of him IMHO.

            Whether or not they're afraid of Obama is an entirely separate issue (for me, if they're not, that's a good thing because foreign policy based on fear isn't really the way to go . .. ).

            •  Before and during the second inaugural... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              ...Iran was getting arms thanks to President Reagan's administration. Support of Iraq doesn't undo that. In late 1985 and 1986, Iran shouldn't have been afraid of Reagan because of support of Iraq, given that his administration was assisting them beyond their wildest dreams in fighting off Iraqi tanks.

              it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

              by Addison on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:52:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  From everything I've seen, the Reagan (0+ / 0-)

                administration's support for Iraq was much more substantial than for Iran during that era.

                Indeed, how else could have Iraq fought Iran to a veritable standstill?

                To me, if somebody claims to be my friend/ally and then at the same time is supporting my mortal enemy to a greater degree - I'd be afraid, very afraid of them.  You know, what with the inherent treachery and all.

                But you seem to feel quite differently. I don't understand why, but whatever.  

        •  Why on earth would they be afraid of Reagan? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          more to the point, whomever that they would be dealing with the new administration.

          They are certainly not naive political neophytes, they saw an opportunity to stick a thumb in the eye of the US and took it by using one political party against another.

          I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

          by wretchedhive on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 11:37:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe he is referring to Dick Cheney's all time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nuclear winter solstice

    buddy and cohort Saddam Hussein.

    Notice: This Comment © 2013 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:43:53 AM PST

  •  The records shows Iran considered Reagan a clown (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, Addison

    as for Ari, Iran was so terrified of Reagan that, in the the midst of a bloody war with Iraq, they threw their full support to the Shi'a in Lebanon and ignored the Gipper.

    The Gipper several hundred marines to Lebanon. This was part o the Gipper's Potemkin Battles (like Grenada) where he would show force against some feeble  (or non-existent) enemy.

    Alas, for those Marines, the Iranian supported Hezbollah didn't follow the Gipper's script.

    And the Gipper's response to the killing of hundreds of Americans in 1983? Shipping the perpetrators of that most heinous crime American weapons.

    As Mike Ditka would say, "Ari Fleisher, who are you crappin'!"

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