As the sportscaster, Chris Berman, would say: "Let's go to the videotape."
Ronald Reagan ordered PATCO air traffic controllers back to work, invoking the Taft-Hartley Act, which banned unfair labor practices. They were striking for better working conditions, newer equipment and a shorter work week. In spite of these reasonable demands, Reagan fired the workers on August 5, 1981. He quietly conspired with his Transportation secretary, Drew Lewis, to train replacement workers in order to crush the PATCO labor union. This was a classic case of bargaining in bad faith.
On October 23, 1983, a truck bomb blew up the Marine barracks of our Beirut peace keeping force, killing 241 soldiers. Reagan promptly withdrew the remaining forces. Two days later, in order to avoid being labeled a cut-and-runner, he invaded Grenada, the smallest nation in the Americas, on trumped up charges. In fact, the island was going through significant political instability at the time. The US cited the building of a long airstrip and the alleged danger to the lives of about a thousand American medical students as reasons to invade. Subsequently, Reagan got his war win, while fomenting the righteous indignation of the entire global community. During the 1980s, Reagan armed and funded rebel groups in several Central American nations. This was a morbid attempt to rid the area of communist governments and their socialist sympathizers. Massive numbers of innocent and unarmed civilians were murdered for little practical political advantage.
After the cold war ended, the defense budget was facing a deep cut in funding. Bush fought hard to pre-empt the proposed peace dividend by prodding Saddam Hussein into invading Kuwait. When the Iran-Iraq conflict ceased, Hussein was left with a million-man army, no jobs and a $75 billion external debt to Kuwait. Saddam discovered Kuwait was using slant drilling to steal oil from Iraq's Rumaila oilfield. So, Hussein decided to kill two birds with one stone by invading Kuwait under the ruse of restoring Iraq's sovereign historic right to the emirate's land. But, he needed US consent before he did so. Bush supplied that approval through US Envoy April Glaspie at a meeting with Hussein on July 25, 1991. She assured him we wouldn't interfere. He took the bait, giving Poppy Bush his reason to invade the Middle East. The rest, they say, is history.
Thousands of innocent Iraqis were senselessly killed during the assault. Over a million more died from the lack of food, medicine and clean water due to the ensuing savage embargo. Needless to say, "defense" appropriations continued to skyrocket.
George W. Bush will go down as the most hated man in history (there were fewer humans on Earth during Hitler's time). He started two illegal and immoral wars which he refuses to end. He used the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, although both nations had nothing to do with 9/11. Millions of Muslims have been murdered and driven from their homes as a result of these senseless wars of aggression and crimes against humanity. When you combine these heinous acts with Abu Ghraib, torture and kangaroo courts, we must ask: Why are these evil deeds being done in our name? A growing ocean of blood is on our hands.
Michelle Obama was viciously ridiculed for her remarks at a political rally. Later, it was discovered the videotape of the event, used by right-wing media, was doctored. The word, "really," was edited out of the audio feed. Since it was poorly altered, this ugly dirty trick was soon exposed. An unedited version revealed she said: "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country." Her intent was never to slander America in any way. But, when you review our woeful war and human rights records over the last 30 years, our nation leaves a lot to be desired. As we traverse this election season, are there genuine reasons for us to be proud of our country? Come November, we will soon be able to decide.
Franklin L. Johnson