I’m a bit late with this, but for the love of the Angel Moroni, the eventual Republican presidential nominee is talking some dubious shit:
Beginning Nov. 4, 1979, dozens of U.S. diplomats were held hostage by Iranian Islamic revolutionaries for 444 days while America’s feckless president, Jimmy Carter, fretted in the White House. Running for the presidency against Carter the next year, Ronald Reagan made it crystal clear that the Iranians would pay a very stiff price for continuing their criminal behavior. On Jan. 20, 1981, in the hour that Reagan was sworn into office, Iran released the hostages. The Iranians well understood that Reagan was serious about turning words into action in a way that Jimmy Carter never was.
Wow, that Ronald Reagan fellow must have been one terrifying fellow. I’ll bet his acceptance speech at the 1980 Republican National Convention was brimming with fury, warning of the severe consequences for Iran if–sorry, say what now? He didn’t actually mention Iran at all? That seems weird. But OK, fine. Maybe he didn’t want to harsh the celebratory mood. Surely, though, his late October debate with Carter was filled with the species of aggressive, demonstrative rhetoric that alerted the revolutionary leadership to his resolve and showed the humiliated American public that a vote for Reagan was a vote against the weak and . . . um, wait a minute.
First of all, I would be fearful that I might say something that was presently under way or in negotiations, and thus expose it and endanger the hostages. And sometimes, I think some of my ideas might involve quiet diplomacy, where you don’t say, in advance or say to anyone what it is you’re thinking of doing.
Your question is difficult to answer, because, in the situation right now, no one wants to say anything that would inadvertently delay, in any way, the return of those hostages if there is a chance of their coming home soon, or that might cause them harm. What I do think should be done, once they are safely here with their families and that tragedy is over — and we’ve endured this humiliation for just lacking 1 week of a year now — then, I think, it is time for us to have a complete investigation as to the diplomatic efforts that were made in the beginning, why they have been there so long, and when they come home, what did we have to do in order to bring that about, what arrangements were made? And I would suggest that Congress should hold such an investigation.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue praying that they’ll come home.
Well now I’m just confused. I expected to hear the clanking of gigantic, novelty-sized brass balls, but this sounds like a load of pantywaisted hippie nonsense to me.
No matter. Once Reagan was elected, the Iranians must have been positively soiling themselves with fear, scrambling to reach a deal as word leaked out that the time for shit-taking had well-nigh reached an end. By January 8 — a mere twelve days before the Serious Turning of Words into Action so elegantly and briefly described by Mittens Romney — the forces of manly Republicanism would have been wiggling in their seats as the anticipation mounted and OH MERCY ME WHERE’S THE BONER JUICE?
None of the actions being considered at the highest Reagan levels contemplate military action against Iran. Not yet, at least. Reagan planning shows a fastidious caution about the use, or even the threat, of military force. The reason, as explained by one key actor in the unfolding hostage drama: “We will suggest nothing in the way of military action that we are not absolutely certain we cannot carry out.”
Because Romney is in fact an empty vessel willing to say anything that sounds like something Republicans might endorse, it’s not surprising that Reagan — the chap who denounced Carter for releasing billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets to get the embassy hostages back, then approved illegal arms sales to Iran in exchange for hostages in Lebanon who were never in fact released — receives undeserved credit for being tough on Iran. What’s remarkable, however, is that the guy whose relationship to Iran eventually led him to break the Constitution winds up sounding completely reasonable and cautious by comparison with the people who now claim him as their totem.