Monday, December 14, 2009
I just got back from a tour of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library Museum. To be clear, going in I was already a fan of President Carter, and I think that for many years now, the Right Wing Media Machine has, very incorrectly, painted his presidency as a failure, mostly based on the Messiah Complex they have built around Ronald Reagan. I have always thought that was a bunch of nonsense, that Carter's presidency, while it had it's flaws, was very successful, especially at getting us out of the hole (again) that the Republicans had gotten us into (again). Towards the end of the exhibit, there were two video segments where Brian Williams was interviewing him about the Iranian Hostage Crisis. It was from the same interview posted above, and I can't find it anywhere online, so you'll have to go to the Museum to see it. The Right Wing myth is that the hostages were freed because the Iranians were so terrified of Reagan, that they let the hostages go to both appease him, and to give Carter a black eye. For those of you who don't remember, the hostages were freed within hours of Reagan becoming president. But the interviews on display basically outline the behind-the-scenes efforts of the Carter White House to freeze so much of the Iranian government's assets, both domestically and internationally, that they couldn't maintain their economy any more. He says that he did not sleep at all for three days before the inauguration, negotiating with banks and governments. I believe the figure was 12 billion dollars frozen domestically, despite the efforts of "greedy bankers", and at least that much internationally, including 2 billion in Iranian gold frozen in the Bank of England. So, the way I see it, the freeing of the Hostages was not the first act of the Reagan presidency, as is commonly and wrongly asserted, but the final act of the Carter presidency. President Reagan even asked President Carter to go over and greet the freed hostages in Germany, and he was nervous about meeting them, but they were not hostile to him, and greeted him very warmly. I think they knew that it was his efforts, not fear of Reagan that led to their release. Also, Reagan did not knock down the Berlin wall with one mighty punch, as the Right Wing Nuts keep telling the public is true. Reagan was neither messiah nor superman, just the best puppet the conservatives have ever had.