Ronald Reagan, Enabler of Atrocities
By Robert Parry
When you’re listening to the many tributes to President Ronald Reagan, often for his talent making Americans feel better about themselves, you might want to spend a minute thinking about the many atrocities in Latin America and elsewhere that Reagan aided, covered up or shrugged off in his inimitable "aw shucks" manner.
After all, the true measure of a president shouldn’t be his style or how he made us feel but rather what he did with his extraordinary power, what were the consequences for real people, either for good or ill.
Yet, even as the United States celebrates Reagan’s centennial birthday and lavishes praise on his supposed accomplishments, very little time has been spent reflecting on the unnecessary bloodbaths that Reagan enabled in many parts of the world.
Those grisly deaths and ugly tortures get whisked away as if they were just small necessities in Reagan’s larger success “winning the Cold War” – even though the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union was already winding down before Reagan arrived on the national scene. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Reagan’s ‘Tear Down This Wall’ Myth.”]
Yet, Reagan’s Cold War obsessions helped unleash right-wing “death squads” and murderous militaries on the common people in many parts of the Third World, but nowhere worse than in Latin America.
In the 1970s and 1980s, as Latin American security forces were sharpening themselves into finely honed killing machines, Reagan was there as an ardent defender, making excuses for the atrocities, and sending money and equipment to make the forces even more lethal.
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