Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

6/08/2004

Reagan's "Strength" and "Moral Clarity"

Lest we forget...

During a 1987 deployment, the USS Stark was struck by two missiles fired by Iraqi aircraft. The fires that resulted claimed 37 lives, and only the heroic action of the crew saved the ship...

Reagan was under fire from Congress and the press for putting American servicemen in harm's way on a vaguely defined mission. "We need to rethink exactly what we are doing in the Persian Gulf," said Republican Senator Robert Dole. The Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution, sponsored by Dole and Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, that demanded the president explain to Congress the strategy and goals of the Persian Gulf mission -- and the risks involved. Congress was also unhappy with Saudi Arabia for what it viewed as a lackadaisical response to the request to pursue the Iraqi Mirage...

The administration argued that to withdraw from the gulf would be to surrender America's role as leader of the free world, and that if oil shipments were disrupted, prices would soar, adversely affecting the U.S. economy. ..."We will not be intimidated," said Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. "We will not be driven from the gulf." He described the attack on the Stark as a "horrible error," and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was quick to apologize for the "unintentional incident." Evidently, the Mirage pilot had mistaken the Stark for an Iranian tanker. Iraq promised to pay compensation to the families of the 37 slain seamen, and reparations for damages to the frigate. Officially the United States was neutral in the Iran-Iraq conflict, but the administration had decided that geopolitic considerations required that Iraq not lose the war.


So keep up the canonization!

1 Comments:

At 6/08/2004 11:36:00 AM, Blogger Matthew Cheney said...

I just got back from the post office, where a sign said, "We will be closed June 11 to honor the national day of mourning for President Reagan". Mourning, indeed. I think I'll spend at least a few minutes of the day reading "The Death of Ben Linder", a magnificent book about an American killed by the Contras in Nicaragua....

 

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