Obama, Reagan and the Americans still held in Iran

2015-07-15-ABC-Obama-1

In his press conference Wednesday, President Obama had an interesting exchange with Major Garrett of CBS:

GARRETT: “As you well know, there are four Americans in Iran — three held on trumped-up charges, according to your administration; one, whereabouts unknown.  Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content, with all the fanfare around this deal, to leave the conscience of this nation and the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?”

OBAMA: “I got to give you credit, Major, for how you craft those questions.  The notion that I am content as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails — Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better.

I’ve met with the families of some of those folks.  Nobody is content.  And our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out. 

Now, if the question is why we did not tie the negotiations to their release, think about the logic that that creates.  Suddenly, Iran realizes, you know what, maybe we can get additional concessions out of the Americans by holding these individuals.  It makes it much more difficult for us to walk away if Iran somehow thinks that a nuclear deal is dependent in some fashion on the nuclear deal.  And, by the way, if we had walked away from the nuclear deal, we’d still be pushing them just as hard to get these folks out.  That’s why those issues are not connected.  But we are working every single day to try to get them out, and won’t stop until they’re out and rejoined with their families.”

Not surprisingly, the contentious nature of the exchange drew a lot of attention, with conservatives applauding Garrett for confronting Obama and others condemning him. It was perfectly legitimate to question the president about the fate of American citizens still held in Iran, especially in the wake of the just completed nuclear negotiations. Just as clearly, though, Garrett framed the question in a highly accusatory and even insulting manner, suggesting that Obama was content to let the United States abandon the hostages.

But let’s talk about the substance of the exchange.  Writing in The Washington Post, Dana Milbank suggested that Obama’s inability to free those four Americans, including a bureau chief for the Post, represents a new reality in which America “recognizes the limits of its power and acts less ambitiously.”

Which is just nonsense.

Thirty years ago, in an era when American power was perceived to be at its height, President Reagan faced much the same dilemma after Iranian-allied terrorists in Lebanon kidnapped a series of Americans.  The CIA bureau chief in Beirut was kidnapped and eventually tortured brutally and killed. A Marine colonel was taken hostage and murdered. Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, was held for more than six years, and several other American civilians were seized as well.

Reagan’s response? He began to negotiate with the terror groups who were kidnapping, torturing and killing our people, eventually shipping more than 1,500 missiles to Iran as ransom to get the surviving hostages released.

It worked, at least at first. As the arms began to flow to Iran via Israel — in complete violation of an international embargo as well as U.S. law — three hostages were indeed released. But the flow of missiles also convinced Iran that hostages were a valuable commodity, so after the first three hostages were released, three more were kidnapped to replace them. That’s precisely the dynamic that Obama is attempting to avoid.

Context is also important. All of the above was occurring just two or three years after the assault on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that had killed 242 Marines, an attack perpetrated by the same terror groups with whom Reagan was exchanging arms for hostages. It occurred five or six years after Iranian revolutionaries seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans captive. That was the era and these were the people to whom Reagan was sending arms.

Now, by any objective, historic standard, which president was acting from a position of strength and resolve, and which from a position of weakness? Which was willing to make and stick by difficult decisions, and which was willing to surrender and give our enemies what they sought?

 

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

1413 comments
lvg
lvg

US has had a terrorist problem ever since St. Ronald bent over and said thank you for the kick in the rear to Hezbollah and Iran after 247 marines and soldiers were killed in Beirut 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Did 53 really claim that there's no legitimate threat of abortion being banned?

Really?

So every GOPer who's signed on to a Personhood amendment, they're just making stuff up?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

...when Candidate McCain proudly proclaims in answer to the question "when does a baby [sic] get civil rights" with a hearty "at the moment of conception", before a live national audience, he was just making stuff up?

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

@Visual_Cortex what a shame that no one wants to play your stupid game...  Funny that you answer your own question...  Guess that means you lose...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Look, you libs, it is not being ruled by your emotions when conservatives do it. 

When are you going to get that through your bleeding hearts?

LeninTime
LeninTime

So, what does the right wing trash have for us today? 

Calls for the destruction of the destruction of minimum wage and the introduction of quasi-slave labor? 

Rounding up all immigrants to ship them off?

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

@LeninTime what lies are you running up the flag pole today...  The Liberal blog is so entertaining

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Listen to the video of Dr. Nucatola.

Then listen to the defense that PP put out there for her.

You will see the viciousness and sheer inhumanity of the abortion (aka, Body Snatchers) industry.

I

King_of_Kolob
King_of_Kolob

Why dont cons put the same effort on making sure nut-jobs cannot get guns as they are making to shut down Planned Parenthood? Becuase you are all luike O'Keefe and Breitbart.

Baby killers bad! School children killers and grown up killers? OK!

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, has crossed a line of morals and ethics that goes beyond comprehension.

What type of person can defend their actions???

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Brosephus @Bulls_3y3
Are you suggesting that our Bullseye might've been fed and repeated a talking point without bothering to verify its veracity?

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

I see the trash is already piling up...

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"awjeez, so the wingers have a new Planned 'Renthood iz BAYBEE KILLUHZ talking point to cry about now?"


Here you go, VC.  Take a good look at what the "choice" you defend really looks like.  http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/05/07/abortion/


Make sure you scroll all the way down so you don't miss any of those "choice" photos you sick bastage.  

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@DownInAlbany @HeadleyLamar @fiftythreepercenter No not really


Both are medical procedures and therefore not very pleasant. 


Id much rather a mother have an abortion in a clinical setting where all options have been given to her. Adoption etc


Than using a clothes hanger or dumping the baby in a dumpster. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@fiftythreepercenter Make sure you scroll all the way down so you don't miss any of those "choice" photos you sick bastage.


I did


Ever seen heart surgery

It ain't pretty either. I'm sorry these shock value pictures are enough to sway your tiny brain. 

Brosephus
Brosephus

@fiftythreepercenter 

Okay, I saw the photos.  It is still a matter of a woman's right to choose.  Unlike you, I don't allow emotion to cloud reasoning.  I even saw this little gem tucked in the photos...

"Tonya Reeves, murdered in a botched abortion at Planned Parenthood"

Now, how many times would you see such a statement written after a botched heart surgery?  a botched brain surgery?  Isn't this what malpractice suits are all about?  The ones that some people want done away or clamped down with tort reform as part of an overall health care reform deal?

I remember Scout always talking about conservatives reason while liberals deal with emotion, or something to that effect.  Throwing that blog up and talking about looking at the photos is about as emotional as one can get.  I guess I don't reason by emotion then.  I'm not a good lib.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"Republicans have no problem sacrificing the lives of the poor and needy here in the US "


As I've said many times before.... You liberals absolutely refuse to figure out the difference between someone who is needy and someone who is lazy.  If you would make some attempt to do that, this whole welfare thing would be a lot easier to talk about. 

fedup52
fedup52

@fiftythreepercenter You are the lazy one here.  Sitting in front of a computer pontificating is not work.  Get in the real world.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

And just like clockwork the libs confirm exactly what I said.  Nice job libs.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@LeninTime @fiftythreepercenter 

to the petty bourgeois shopkeeper enforcer, 'lazy' is anybody not willing to get on board with the new low wage (read: slave wage) system. 

Heh. I was going to mockingly post "you commie, you" but I see 53 was quicker on the Redbait draw than I could manage!

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@fiftythreepercenter 

"You liberals absolutely refuse to figure out the difference between someone who is needy and someone who is lazy."

Fair enough.  What test do you use to tell the difference, 53?

LeninTime
LeninTime

@fiftythreepercenter 

You liberals absolutely refuse to figure out the difference between someone who is needy and someone who is lazy.  

***
Ah yes, to the petty bourgeois shopkeeper enforcer, 'lazy' is anybody not willing to get on board with the new low wage (read: slave wage) system.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@fiftythreepercenter 

You liberals absolutely refuse to figure out the difference between someone who is needy and someone who is lazy.

I don't think there's any way "we liberals" could ever play Punch the Poors in a manner to your liking. 

Brosephus
Brosephus

@DownInAlbany 

When you follow "You liberals..." with this statement here "They have a broad brush for every application.", Home Depot and Lowes have to temporarily close shop to restock inventory on irony meters because every single one in the world redlined and broke at the same time.

Just sayin'