An interesting new set of evidence shows an old controversial theory is turning out to be true: Ronald Reagan worked covertly to block American attempts to free their hostages in Iran, as a means to win the Presidency.
A Jacobin magazine article writes up the core issue:
[We don’t have a smoking gun for] Reagan striking a deal with the Iranians to delay the release of the American hostages until after the election, but simply working behind the scenes to thwart negotiations to free them.
Jacobin pulled that analysis from the following paragraphs in a hugely important NYT disclosure, generated from fresh “records of Project Eagle donated to Yale” that were unsealed upon Rockefeller’s recent death.
Mr. Rockefeller, a lifelong Republican with a dim view of Mr. Carter’s dovish foreign policy, collaborated closely with the Reagan campaign in its efforts to pre-empt and discourage what it derisively labeled an “October surprise” — a pre-election release of the American hostages, the papers show.
The Chase team helped the Reagan campaign gather and spread rumors about possible payoffs to win the release, a propaganda effort that Carter administration officials have said impeded talks to free the captives.
“I had given my all” to thwarting any effort by the Carter officials “to pull off the long-suspected ‘October surprise,’” Mr. Reed wrote in a letter to his family after the election, apparently referring to the Chase effort to track and discourage a hostage release deal. He was later named Mr. Reagan’s ambassador to Morocco.
That all should have been the introductory context setting for another new article in The Drive that gives an incredibly detailed look at Operation Eagle Claw.
Any judgment of Eagle Claw must be rendered within this context. Political partisanship aside, any fair, objective appraisal of the mission must also acknowledge that not only did President Carter’s strategy deliver the desired results in the end, that strategy was, in the words of Pollack, “the only one that could have worked [emphasis original].” Unfortunately, it took 444 grueling, stressful days to reach the desired conclusion.
The Drive fails to consider at all (in its “non-partisan” effort) whether Reagan’s “smooth, smooth, smooth” elite team of high-powered officials were effective at extending the grueling, stressful days. That seems essential to the story.
More importantly the Drive gushes with positive portrayals of Carter as a great leader, highly respected in the military, yet no harsh assessment of Reagan’s efforts to intentionally harm America and increase suffering of America’s high-profile hostages… harms done just to drive a great leader like Carter out and push himself and GOP into the White House.