Reagan: Right or Wrong on Terror?

Earlier today, Rob examined a piece at WILLisms about Reagan’s legacy regarding terrorism.

Reagan did far more — both by commission and omission — to foster the current crisis with Islamist terrorism than any other president.

That’s a heavy charge. To outright blame Reagan for the current terrorism is definately pushing the line that used to seperate the far left from those of us who still subscribe to the concepts of the Reagan Revolution.

His arms-for-hostages deal with Iran (and its proxies, Hezbollah) established the currency for the lives of the innocent, and prolonged the Iran-Iraq war. His support for the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan gave militant Islam its first real victory against a Western power, planting the seeds for the rise of the Taliban and the genesis of Al Qaeda. (Osama Bin Laden got his first taste of violence in that war.)

I would ask the author of this piece, Jay Tea: “How does this differ from the Left’s claim that we are creating terrorists by fighting terrorism?”

Reagan was fighting the Soviets. Yes, he employed the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” doctrine. But that was classic strategy. That notion was replaced by the “your either with us or against us” doctrine that President Bush created.

His sending US troops into Lebanon under absurd rules of engagement as “peacekeepers” placed far too many Americans in harm’s way with no reasonable way to protect themselves, and the sudden retreat when the inevitable Hezbollah attack occurred sent the unmistakable message: if you kill enough Americans, we will retreat.

I wonder what Jay thinks of President Bush’s peace plans.

Yes, in a certain sense, the current problems can be laid at the feet of Ronald Reagan. But it must be recalled that those were part of the price paid for ending the far greater threat that was the Soviet Union.

Is this code for “Of course we can’t take on all out enemies at once?”

Regardless of my political views, my ideological leanings still go back to Reagan. It is my belief that he was the closest thing we have ever had to a Libertarian President.

No matter what the Republican Party becomes for political reasons, our ideological views must be rooted in that of Reagan, and Goldwater before him. All we should take from the differences between Reagan and Bush is that ‘times change’. While morality is not relative, situations and their place in history are.

If Reagan was President today, I would be willing to wager he would be even tougher on terrorism that President Bush is. Fact is, Reagan’s world was a different paradigm and the rules were much different.

Clearly, Reagan pulled out of Lebanon because he thought it was a lost cause. All that proves is that we must examine our commitments and put our resources where they are best used. More conservatives should re-examine our national commitments and priorities around the world.

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