Moral Low Ground

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Oh, the Irony: Bloody Reagan’s Blood Up For Auction

A vial of former US President Ronald Reagan’s blood, taken during his hospitalization following a failed 1981 assassination attempt, is up for auction.

The Huffington Post UK reports that the online site PFC Auctions is selling the vial, which will be available until Thursday. The bidding commenced at £1,500 ($2,370) and is currently at £6,270 ($9,908).

Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981 just outside the Washington Hilton by John Hinckley Jr, who was trying to impress the actress Jodie Foster. As you might have guessed, Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has been locked up in institutional psychiatric care since his 1982 trial.

The current owner of the vial of blood up for auction, whose mother worked in the lab contracted by the hospital following the shooting, told the Huffington Post that he contacted the National Library as well as the National Archives, but neither was interested in acquiring it. An ardent disciple of “Reaganomics,” the owner decided to sell the unique artifact rather than donate it to the Reagan family.

And so it is that the blood of a man with the blood of countless innocent men, women and children around the world on his hands is now available to the highest bidder. Irony, it seems, has a macabre sense of humor.

For those Reaganites who think my previous remark smacks of hyperbole, allow me to refresh your memories.

It was Ronald Reagan who removed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1982, dispatching special envoy Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad and opening the door for billions of dollars of US and Western assistance in Hussein’s Reagan-provoked war against Iran. That aid included the transfer of deadly chemical and biological materials– including anthrax– from the US and its allies to Iraq, materials which Saddam Hussein promptly weaponized and unleashed on both Iranian troops and his own people.

Reagan knew all about this; in March,1984 the State Department declared “available evidence indicates that Iraq has used lethal chemical weapons.” Secretary of State George Shultz was briefed on Iraq’s “almost daily use of chemical weapons.” Yet Reagan restored full diplomatic ties with Saddam later that year.

Reagan was instrumental in the rise of Osama bin Laden and the Islamic terrorists who’ve killed thousands of innocent Americans. Eager to see the Soviet Union bogged down in its own Vietnam-style war in Afghanistan, Reagan approved a massive aid increase to the Afghan mujahedeen warriors– among them a young Saudi millionaire named Osama bin Laden– who fought the Soviet occupiers. The men we now call America’s mortal enemies were welcomed into the White House, where Reagan hailed them as “freedom fighters.” Yesterday’s “freedom fighters” have become today’s “Islamic terrorists.” Reagan also knew these men funded their insurgency through international drug trafficking and that Afghan heroin was flooding the streets of America’s inner cities, with the number of addicts doubling and heroin-related deaths soaring. But that mattered little to him. Reagan never did care much for “little people.”

And speaking of drugs, despite Reagan’s “War on Drugs,” with all its “just say no” rhetoric and its institution of draconian punitive laws which resulted in the mass incarceration of millions of Americans, mostly poor, mostly people of color, for non-violent drug offenses, Reagan supported some of the world’s most notorious drug kingpins. Chief among these was Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

In nearby Nicaragua, Reagan supported the Contra terrorists, who funded some of their insurgency by trafficking cocaine into the United States, often with the approval and assistance of top Reagan officials like Col. Oliver North. The Contras were an unbelievably barbaric bunch, fond of unspeakable acts of torture, murder and terror. Here is one eyewitness account of their brutality, as reported by The Guardian in 1984:

“Rosa had her breasts cut off. Then they cut into her chest and took out her heart. The men had their arms broken, their testicles cut off. They were killed by slitting their throats and pulling the tongue out through the slit.”

Reagan must have known all about their savagery, yet he called the Contras “freedom fighters” and “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers” as he increased aid to them and found a way to secretly continue that aid– the infamous Iran-Contra scandal— after a horrified Congress demanded an end to it.

Reagan also backed death squads throughout Central American that raped, tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of mostly poor, mostly indigenous people in the name of “fighting communism.” Many of the worst human rights violators in the Western Hemisphere were brought to the United States and trained at the US Army School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia in kidnapping, torture and assassination– all in the name of “freedom.” When revelations that students at the school were being taught using US-authored torture and murder manuals, Reagan dismissed the public backlash as “much ado about nothing.”

One of those trained at the School of the Americas was Guatemalan military chief Efraín Ríos Montt, who was in charge of troops who massacred entire villages of poor, indigenous peasants, including 201 people at Las Dos Erres in 1982. On the very same day that Ríos Montt’s troops tortured, raped and slaughtered their way through Las Dos Erres, tearing fetuses from pregnant women and bashing babies’ brains out with sledgehammers, Reagan met with him and called him “a man of great personal integrity who wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice.”

Salvadoran School of the Americas graduate General José Guillermo García was responsible for the slaughter of thousands of innocent Salvadoran peasants and even four American clergywomen who were kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered for working on behalf of El Salvador’s poor. After this horrific atrocity, which the administration was fully aware of, Reagan awarded Gen. García the Legion of Merit for “the exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.”

The day after a US- created Salvadoran battalion carried out the brutal massacre of more than 900 men, women and children at El Mozote, Reagan declared that El Salvador was “making a concerted and significant effort to comply with internationally recognized human rights” and “is achieving substantial control over all elements of its own armed forces, so as to bring to an end the indiscriminate torture and murder of Salvadoran citizens by these forces.” The administration then tried to cover up what had happened at El Mozote. Aid to the murderous Salvadoran regime was doubled.

It was Reagan, who seeking to exorcise the demons of Vietnam, invaded tiny Grenada on false premises in 1983. And it was Reagan’s dogged pursuit of “US credibility” that cost the lives of 299 American and French servicemen killed in the 1983 Hezbollah truck bombing of the multinational occupation force in Lebanon.

Reagan was an enthusiastic supporter of brutal dictators throughout the world, calling murderous thugs like Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko his friends and lavishing them with US aid. And Reagan shamefully supported South Africa’s racist apartheid regime, which murdered thousands of blacks fighting for the freedom and equality which Reagan claimed to champion.

This is but a partial list of bloody Reagan’s crimes.

Perhaps some justice-minded individual out there will win the auction of that vial of Reagan’s blood and give it to some of the millions of surviving victims of Reagan-backed atrocities. Heaven forbid some frothing Reaganite with plans on re-animating the man voted “Greatest American Ever” when the technology becomes available gets his hands on it. The world just couldn’t survive another Ronald Reagan.

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