Floyd Brown

A Google search tells us that the most read commentary about what President Reagan would do in Iraq is from admitted Reagan critic Matthew Barganier at Anti-War.com. The article eloquently lays out the case that President Reagan would never have entered Iraq, and that he would pull our troops out immediately, were he still with us.

Faced with the same situation in the fall of 2002 as President Bush faced, these anti-war activists do not believe that President Reagan would have invaded Iraq. They may be right. But these critics of the War in Iraq go further and assert that, given current circumstances, President Reagan would: “cut and run”.

Repeatedly, in my research I come across quotes like this from Reagan Biographer Richard Reeves, writing in the Los Angeles Times: “On the night of Oct. 23, 1983, a suicide bomber drove a truck into the lobby of the Marine barracks, set off a huge explosion and killed 241 Marines. Reagan’s response was to talk tough about staying the course, then "redeploy" the Marines -- safely onto American ships in the Mediterranean. Cut and run.”

Reeves believes that President Reagan would not stay the course in Iraq, but instead he would pull out following tough talk. This is the approach favored by the recently released Iraq Study Group proposal.

This analysis about President Reagan is dead wrong. There have been volumes written about what President Reagan would say and do in the current War in Iraq, and most of them miss the genius of Ronald Reagan.

While none of us know for sure what President Reagan would do, let me add my voice to those that are attempting this impossible task. I have spent the last five years of my life researching this remarkable man at Rancho del Cielo, President Reagan’s Western White House, which is being lovingly preserved by Young America’s Foundation.

So while President Bush huddles with his foreign policy staff in Crawford to craft a new agenda, what would President Reagan do, given the status of our position in January 2007?

Most commentaries comparing President’s Bush and Reagan start with an incorrect premise. The commentators begin by comparing the struggle in Iraq with the struggle against the Soviet Union. The War on Terror is not the Cold War.

This comparison is nonsense. Iraq is a much smaller country, and we are not fighting regular soldiers. The Soviet Union was a nuclear power with the ability to project military and naval power from the Atlantic Ocean across Eurasia to the Pacific Ocean. To compare these adversaries is comparing an elephant to a peanut. It doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.


Floyd Brown

Floyd Brown is the Reagan Ranch Presidential Scholar for Young America's Foundation.

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