York, Tuesday, June 14 - Vinnie the Chin had a
great alibi. The New York mob capo shuffled down
the street in his bathrobe, unshaved, drooling
out the side of his mouth. When he got busted,
he pleaded he was too gone-in-the-head to know
about the Cosa Nostra running rackets from his
Reagan out-Chinned the Chin. When caught paying
ransom to Khomeini and his Hizbollah terrorists,
Reagan did his aw-shucks I'm just a ga-ga grandpa
routine, "I told the American people I did not
trade arms for hostages. My heart tells me that's
true, but the facts tell me it is not." Oh, OK
it were Jimmy Carter who'd been caught in such
an act of treason -- arming our enemy -- Republicans
would still be roasting his flesh today. You know
it and I know it.
Reagan Right has used the late President's funeral
for a shameless political victory dance, carefully
wiping the blood off the historical files. Before
the truth is interred, let us have a moment of
remembrance for the dubious doings in the White
House while Reagan napped:
South Africa's government went on a murder spree
to insure that Black folk would never vote. Reagan
blessed that police state with a smile, refusing,
despite the pleas of Nobel laureate Bishop Desmond
Tutu, to take even the small measure of limited
trade sanctions against the evil white empire.
Reagan's Secretary of Interior, James Watt, launched
a biological pogrom against trees. Before he was
indicted, the Environmental Protection agency
became a country club for polluters' lobbyists.
Reagan's heart told him it wasn't true, but the
screeching chain saws said otherwise.
AIDS was identified in 1981. Reagan's official
policy was to hit the research snooze button.
Our president did not mention nor act on the epidemic
until 1987 -- 30,000 funerals too late. The gay
death toll brought glee to Reagan's apocalyptic
allies, the mewling mullahs of the Christian Right.
(But As the Good Book warns, doing unto others
has a price: the same fruitcake fanatics that
slowed AIDS research also blocked the stem cell
studies that might have saved the dying president
from the horrors of Alzheimer's.)
Reagan politically fathered those rascally Rosemary's
Babies of the Bush junta: Dick Cheney, Ronnie's
appropriately titled Whip in Congress; Paul Wolfowitz,
the kind of Dr. Strangelove that scares even Henry
Kissinger; John Poindexter, convicted of abetting
Contra terrorists while in the Reagan White House,
later Bush's first Total Information Awareness
chieftain; and Reagan Treasury Secretary James
Baker, who tried his damnedest to bankrupt America
for Ron, and now, from his Bush White House office,
is doing the same for Iraq as "special advisor"
to the conquered nation.
there can be no more dangerous creature to have
burbled out of the Reagan Frankenstein factory
than his Cold War comrade, Osama bin Laden.
November 2001, with my BBC television and Guardian
newspaper colleagues, I reported that, during
the Reagan presidency, a US embassy official in
Saudi Arabia was, in his own words, "repeatedly
ordered by high-level State Department officials
to issue visas to unqualified applicants."
icky but not too notable until you learn the identities
of these "applicants." They claimed to be engineering
students who, when queried as to what school they
attended, answered they "could not remember."
They didn't have to. The unlikely "engineers"
had little helpers in the Reagan Administration.
investigation, the career diplomat, attorney Michael
Springmann, learned they were, "recruits, rounded
up by Osama bin Laden, to [bring to] the United
States for terrorist training by the CIA. They
would then be returned to Afghanistan to fight
against the then-Soviets."
oh. They returned to Afghanistan all right. But
terrorists are like homing pigeons -- they have
a bad habit of coming home to roost. In spook-world,
it's known as "blow back." The Reagan-bin Laden
killer brigade, skilled in such crafts as skinning
Russian prisoners alive, blew back with a sickening
story ran world wide at the top of the BBC nightly
news -- except in the USA where it bounced off
the electronic Berlin Wall. Our media was careful
not to wake America from its nap, to hide the
deeply disturbing truths behind Grandpa Gipper's
Reagan's loss of memory was, undeniably, a great
personal tragedy. But lost in this week's circus
of fakery and fawning for a failed president,
is the greater national tragedy: America's amnesia,
an unforgivable forgetting, a great sleep of reason
from which we have yet to awaken, even after September
Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller,
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, just released
in a new Expanded Election Edition.
Posted: June 15, 2004