Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

Commentary :: Peace & War

Ronald Reagan was a “great� president

I have to praise the Manhattan Mercury editorial on June 7, “The Legacy of Ronald Reagan,� because it used quotation marks on the word “great� to endorse the argument that Reagan was a “great� president.

This is not a trivial matter. Particularly when you think that Dinesh D’Souza, an academic of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, has endorsed the same argument without quotation marks on that word.

The Mercury editorial claims that Reagan was a “great� president because “he presided over – and probably created some of the conditions leading to – the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union,� and because he was the “Great Communicator� and advocated “the role of the individual� in American culture. Great!

I suppose that the author of the editorial used the quotation marks on that word because he/she was sensitive to the fact that the quoted word would evoke different meanings. If that’s the case, the editorial should agree, too, that Reagan was a “great� president because, as some have said, during his administration “increased the disparity between rich and poor� in America, and because “Reagan was buddies with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.�

“Anyone who thinks that former president Ronald Reagan deserves to be put on a dime or have his face chiseled into Mt. Rushmore,� says Gary Sudborough in his article The Reagan Legacy, “needs to read a book called Lost History by Robert Parry.� I haven’t read this book, but I am sure we would find in it even more “great� things about the legacy of the former president.

By 1981 for instance four American churchwomen were raped and murdered by the military in El Salvador. If one is correct about why the editorial used the quotation marks, it should agree, too, that Reagan was a “great� president because his ambassador to the UN Jeane Kirkpatrick “excused the murders by saying that the nuns had been political activists involved in leftist causes,� as Sudborough says.

So, the magic of the quotation marks is so prodigious that it makes the legacy of this man even more impressive: He was a “great� president because he called the Contras “freedom fighters� – those who practiced horrendous abuses of human rights and mass killings of civilians in Nicaragua in the 1980s.


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