The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 22, 2013

Republicans natter about 'I' word


Some are arguing that Obama, Clinton or somebody is guilty of a crime for “allowing” the attack on the consulate.

By that standard, Reagan would be guilty for the three attacks on U.S. facilities just in Lebanon: a suicide truck bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on April 18, 1983, killing 63 people including 17 Americans; another suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives at a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983, killing 241 U.S. Marines and injuring more than 100 others; a third truck bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy in Beirut again on Sept. 20, 1984, killing 24 people.

In addition, a suicide attack on the American embassy in Kuwait on Dec. 12, 1983, killed five people and injured more than 80 others.

No one talked of impeaching Reagan for “allowing” three attacks in Lebanon in less than 18 months, but then, this was back when Republicans blamed the perpetrators for attacks, not the other party.

If terrorist attacks constitute impeachable offenses, what about the bizarre invasion Reagan engineered in 1983 and his belligerent “evil empire” rhetoric that almost provoked a nuclear war?

Nineteen Americans died and 119 were wounded in his unilateral invasion of Grenada, a member of the British Commonwealth with Queen Elizabeth as its sovereign, another slap at Britain and Thatcher after Reagan’s refusal to support them in the Falklands war. The U.N. condemned the invasion, 108-9.

The nuclear crisis, in November 1983, resulted from a military exercise (Abel Archer) that simulated a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. Russian participants confirm that Moscow believed that a bellicose Reagan had ordered a nuclear attack and they came within minutes of launching a “counterattack.” (See “Soviet War Scare 1983,” The History Channel.)

Watergate and Iran-Contra involved probable “high crimes and misdemeanors” by the president — impeachable offenses. Benghazi involves no such thing, and nothing approaching Reagan’s dangerous, costly foreign policy blunders.

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