Talk:Ronald Wilson Reagan

From Conservapedia
This is an old revision of this page, as edited by Learn together (Talk | contribs) at 09:05, 8 May 2007. It may differ significantly from current revision.

Jump to: navigation, search
! Due to the controversial nature of this article, it has been locked by the Administrators to prevent edit wars or vandalism.
Sysops, please do not unlock it without first consulting the protecting sysop.


If someone is there who has had luck uploading image files here, please replace that unviewable picture with the following, please? Thanks! --~ TerryK Talk2Me! 01:29, 24 March 2007 (EDT)

Done. I can't upload it though, as the page is protected. Vossy speak 05:55, 24 March 2007 (EDT)

I'm a little confused. I see why many of Undelia's edits were removed, but why the part about Reagan opposing government aid to the poor? Isn't that a component of opposing big government, trying to cut welfare programs that would benefit the poor? I don't think that all of Undelia's edits should have been removed wholesale, since some of what was added seems factually accurate.

Why do you dislike my references?

Why were my edits unceremoniously and completely undone? Most of the edits were adding book citations so that claims were supported by some sort of sources. Does Conservapedia dislike facts and evidence? Or does it just dislike citations to viewpoints that don't harmonize with its own narrow agenda?

The question of whom to credit for the end of communism is a major one for historians and scholars. And there are a lot of scholars (I would say it's an accurate characterization to say most scholars) who disagree with those who credit Ronald Reagan for the end of the Cold War. I would've thought Conservapedia of all places would've appreciated trying to teach the controversy in a fairly even-handed way. Providing references to the "other side" in this debate doesn't strike me as contrary to Conservapedia's purportedly educational mission.

Obviously Conservapedia has its own conservative bias, which it is proud to wear on its sleeve. However, where I'm "biased" is that I'm not satisfied with assertions lacking grounding in sources. But it seems like Conservapedia is undermining its own objective of being "educational" by eschewing sound scholarly practices of documentation, references and -- gasp! -- presenting multiple sides of an issue, all so it can engage in unsubstantiated opinion. Wikipedia, for all its faults, likely would not arbitrarily remove several references and citations. One of their major flags, after all, is for articles with unsourced statements. Such articles appear endemic to Conservapedia, which one could attribute simply to it being so new and experiencing rapid growth, but given the way this particular entry has been butchered by administrators, it looks like unsourced statements might simply be official policy.

You do a great disservice to potential users by not only tolerating but encouraging such slipshod methods of scholarship. More than anything else, this will cause large numbers of people to reject the information in Conservapedia prima facie, and will lead more people to trust Wikipedia because it at least appears to uphold more rigorous standards. While I haven't prevented students explicitly from using Wikipedia (though I've strongly discouraged its use and urged them to consider its problems as a source), you have me leaning toward banning the use of Conservapedia outright, because the standards appear so low as to not even warrant further discussion.

Also, in simply removing my edits wholesale, I should point out that you removed several minor changes that had no business being expunged. For instance, adding "was born" in the sentence about how "Reagan was born and raised in Illinois ..." Also, I corrected the capitalization of "American president," since "president" (like other titles) should only be capitalized when used as an appositive before a proper name (e.g. President Lincoln, but Lincoln was elected president). See a style guide (Strunk and White, Chicago, etc.) for more on that.

Please sign your comments if you can, using the signature button, so we know with whom we're speaking. Thanks.
I did revert this entry because it tried to take credit away for Reagan for the fall of communism. I apologize if other edits were also removed in the reversion (rollback), but such is the nature of the Wiki software.
We welcome well-supported facts here. We don't censor alternative views. But an entry is going to give credit to conservatives or Christianity or American where credit is due. If you want to insert a liberal view that attempts to deny credit to Reagan for the fall of communism, then it should be well-supported and near the end, after the credit is fully given. It can't be inserted in a manner suggesting that the issue is unresolved, or that we have no way of knowing whether Reagan deserves credit. He obviously does.--Aschlafly 14:18, 10 March 2007 (EST)

Rekjavik, the Freeze, and the fall of Communism

Well, no. It isn't obvious that Reagan deserves credit. One hypothesis is that Reagans presence in the White House played a significant role in the eventual fall of the Soviet Union. But you would have to test that against a counter hypothesis that the Soviet Union would have ended roughly at the same time and in the same manner if Reagan had not been president. Of course we can't revert history and control for that factor so any argument regarding causation is tenuous at best. However, there is a whole body of research looking at multiple explanations for the end of the Cold War and most of this research looks at mult-causal explanations. Social scientists generally are wary of monocausal explanations and especially monocausal explanations that single out any one individual. It is for this reason that the Reagan hypothesis is largely rejected--it has little to do with Reagan himself, but mostly to do with the complex nature of large-scale political processes. That isn't to say that Reagan and his policies weren't an important variable, it is just not certain whether he holds the most explanatory power.--Jack 03:47, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
Well Jack, we have cites to demonstrate Reagans Defense spending in the early 80s virtually spent the Soviet Union out of existence, because they could not keep up. Gorbachav has virtually admitted as much. RobS 11:39, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
I have cites that say Reagan's spending extended the length of the Soviet Union's existence, I have cites that say internal social movements in the Eastern Bloc ended the Soviet Union, I have cites that the Peace movement in the United States was what brought about the changes in Reagan's attitude change that led to his willingness to open up negotiation space. However, I wouldn't make the claim that any of these provide the strongest explanatory power. Having cites doesn't confirm or disconfirm anything, it only provides one plausible explanation for an event. Selective citing is just as biased as no citing at all and, in fact, is more academically dishonest.--Jack 00:15, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
Well, when I say I have cites, I don't mean it in the common Wikipedia sense of WP:V that any lie anybody told somewhere so long as it got in print is a valid citation. Not at all. I'm refering to a credible witness who has been properly vetted to stand up against cross examination. And I wouldn't make the reference if it were not so. Junk science, for example, does not qualify as a cite. RobS 00:26, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
Neither do passing observations. And people who are directly involved in an event will sometimes hold the most biased explanation for how that event happened. (By the way how does someone virtually admit as much?) Especially when you are talking about huge sociopolitical changes. Behavior is complicated, especially political behavior and, like I said before, monocausal explanations are generally weak.--Jack 00:40, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
That Soviet Communism was pathologically ill and doomed to an end sooner or later there's no question; indeeed, Ronald Reagan may have been the only guy in America who saw that & believed it in 1980. And he certainly hastened it's demise. What's more, many who opposed him, actively sought to prop up the existing status quo. And here the Nuke Freeze Movement suspects we can cite in particular. If they had their way, the Soviet Union would still exist and all the Nuclear weapons would still be frozen, intact. They cannot pretend now that they did not take those positions, or hold those views, then. RobS 01:19, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
I think you would enjoy reading the book the Reagan Reversal by Betsey Lamb (I think). It is very favorable to Reagan but does a good job breaking through some of the myths about him that are propogated by both the left and the right. BTW, Ronald Reagan wasn't the only one to recognize that in 1980 and his policies after 1983 were in many ways more in line with the Freeze movement than it was with the Arms hawks.--Jack 12:45, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
On that question, the Reykjavik summit is key; while widely reported as a failure, it really was the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union, and the begining of the cooperative agreements that came later. Gorby basically was begging for an opportunity for Soviet institutions to survive through perestroika, and when he walked out, he knew it was the end of the Soviet Union. The Jackson Hole signing between Baker & Shevardnadze was the death warrant. RobS 14:04, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
  • I will find you the sourcing, Rob...but Reykjavik was a calculated gamble, quite deliberate on Reagan's part. Besides, he said when home, he had a terrible sinus and was testy.  ;-) --~ TerryK Talk2Me! 19:12, 21 March 2007 (EDT)
Gorby came to Reykjavik holding absolutely no cards. Unlike Khurschev's bravado, all Gorby could do was plead for time to let Perestroika work, cause everyone knew if 100% of the Soviet economy had been shifted to defense spending, it still could not compete with Reagans defense build-up and next genreation Stars Wars etc. When Gorby walked out, he knew it was the end of the Soviet Union. RobS 19:30, 21 March 2007 (EDT)

Where's your evidence?

An interesting approach to documentation and sourcing. You accept a hypothesis (in this case that Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War), then refuse to tolerate any alternative explanations, no matter how well grounded. You claim that such "liberal" views require substantiation, and yet, when substantiation for them is offered, you excise the substantiation altogether. I'll note that no documentation whatsoever is offered in support of the hypothesis that Reagan brought the end of communism in Eastern Europe.

I should add that "liberal" is a very misleading and damning characterization of these views, since the thesis that Reagan wasn't responsible for the fall of communism derives more from any number of factors in which Reagan had no bearing whatsoever. The references provided and then unceremoniously removed without explanation explain these in more detail. For instance, Jan Kubik's work on the emergence of civil society and Solidarity in Poland shows how important the Catholic Church and especially the election of a Polish pope, John Paul II, helped to galvanize opposition in Poland. The pope's first visit to Poland in June 1979 provided a major source of inspiration and rehearsal for the opposition and the blossoming of civil society. The fruits of that emerged in the summer of 1980, when a wave of strikes gave birth to Solidarity, the independent trade union that played a major role in undermining Communist authority in Poland, and also in fostering opposition in other parts of Eastern Europe. You'll note that John Paul II became pope in 1978 and Solidarity emerged in August 1979, both of which occurred long before Reagan became president. Moreover, the work of Solidarity had little support from the United States, or from outside of Poland in general. Much of the limited American support lent to Solidarity (and I place emphasis on the idea that it was limited and had little bearing on Solidarity) actually came from the AFL-CIO, which provided some funding and supplies (things like printing presses). Even though Solidarity was forced underground when Poland came under martial law in December 1981, it continued to exist and function as an illegal organization, and civil society continued to develop beyond it. The reemergence of Solidarity in early 1989 came not as the product of external factors, but rather from a recurrence of the persistent economic problems that dogged the Communist regime throughout its existence. The regime reached out to Solidarity. To the extent that pressures from without even played a role, these would've been marginal, and would have emanated mainly from the Kremlin. But, in truth, even that was negligible, since Moscow did little more than to tell the Polish regime that it was on its own.

Similarly, works by Timothy Garton Ash, Gale Stokes and Vladimir Tismaneanu point to the systemic weaknesses of communism within Poland. Some of the important factors they cite are economic weaknesses and a growing crisis of legitimacy that prevented Communist regimes from persisting in hardline methods of repression. At the same time, these factors also led to the genesis of opposition movements within Eastern Europe (groups like Solidarity in Poland, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, the Prayers for Peace in East Germany).

The United States and Ronald Reagan don't receive credit in these explanations not due to pervasive "liberal bias," but rather because these factors that are seen as more important (and I should add as someone who has read widely in the scholarship, these are the most commonly cited explanations for the collapse of communism) and the role of the United States or of Ronald Reagan could only have been peripheral at best. It was limited largely to symbolic acts (such as Reagan's speech at the Berlin Wall), but even these symbolic acts were directed more at the West and American constituents than at the people living in Communist countries.

I believe this very point was made in one of the edits that an administrator purged.

To give primary credit to Ronald Reagan or the United States for the end of the Cold War would to engage in staggering ignorance of the domestic and systemic factors that undermined Communist regimes, and to marginalize unfairly the many ordinary people and dissidents in Eastern Europe who helped to bring down communism from within. In addition, Reagan in particular deserves little credit for these developments because he was relatively late to the scene. The systemic factors, and in many cases the opposition movements as well, long predated Reagan's presidency, which had little bearing on them.

Now, call me biased, but I think that offers a very well-developed and -substantiated account of other explanations for the end of communism. Nothing in that strikes me as excessively "liberal." Indeed, the only "liberal" thing about it is that it doesn't engage in the same sort of pooh-poohing of Reagan that blindly credits him without offering substantiation.

If someone cares to offer more substantive reasons (citing references for this explanation would be a welcome change) for why Reagan deserves credit, then this entry and discussion can go somewhere.

But simply asserting that Reagan ended communism because you said so, then placing the onus on critics of this position to refute it using evidence, and then suppressing evidence that contradicts the a priori thesis/assertion: this doesn't exactly give Conservapedia's entry the ring of truth, or much in the way of credibility for that matter.

It would seem, based on the actions taken with respect to edits on this entry, that Conservapedia's "educational" mission would be more accurately described as disseminating conservative propaganda rather than presenting facts and seeking "truth."

You may castigate me for propagating a "liberal" viewpoint, but my true "bias" is that I like some sort of substantiation for sweeping generalizations and disputed claims. I merely attempted to present the alternate explanations that are mostly widely accepted among experts and scholars. You can criticize those groups for "liberal bias," but as I've made clear, there's nothing inherently liberal in these approaches. Moreover, a better response would be to offer your own facts and sources to support your claims, rather than engaging in knee-jerk censorship of someone who deigns to cite references and offer substantiation.

And your request for a signature is laughable. It has echoes of "Big Brother," and given the fascistic censorship witnessed in this article, I'd rather not risk being unceremoniously blocked for not blindly toeing the party line. The truth may not be determined democratically, but the authoritarian methods on display in Conservapedia have proven no more reliable.

-- "Karol Wojtyla"

None of us are perfect, probably all of us have overlooked signing our edits or our discussion at some time or another. But it is common procedure and helpful in discussion. Even months later, it is helpful in reading through a discussion to see who is making what points in what sequence. Terryeo 23:49, 12 March 2007 (EDT)
I made the edits turning "most" into "some" and "other". The reason being is that it is more accurate to say that than to claim "most historians". There is plenty of literature that supports the claim that Reagan's willingness to meet the Soviets expansion-by-proxy and military buildup forced the Soviets into an arms race that they could ill-afford, and that this helped to break an already-faltering Soviet economy. There is also plenty of personal commentary from citizens of the former Soviet client-states who say that Reagan's opposition to the Communists gave them hope.

Your entry wasn't expunged; your points are still there. Personally, I think they are valid ones and that you simply overstated the level of agreement amongst historians.

I hope this helps you to understand why I made what I considered to be minor edits. --Dave3172 15:41, 10 March 2007 (EST)

Agreed, although I'd still like to see some references for the literature that credits Reagan's policies. But I would add that there's substantial agreement, at least among historians who study the Eastern bloc, on the question of whether Reagan's role was that important. Reagan appears very little in that literature, so I'm wondering where the sources/references are that give him so much credit. After all, the Second Commandment says sources must always be credited and cited. We can continue to debate those sources on the discussion page, but I think the bigger point is that there's no widely accepted monocausal explanation for the end of communism, so it would be more appropriate to provide sources for the different theses, and to also expound on those interpretations. In other words, rather than simply saying "Reagan ended the Cold War," someone needs to elaborate on the reasoning behind that. Otherwise, it violates the Sixth Commandment (don't give personal opinions in entries).

I agree with your central contention - there is no monocausal explanation for the fall of Communism. There were several separate forces that converged to break a flawed system. In fairness, though, I think that if you re-read this article you'll see it is more even-handed than you give it credit for. Most every single acclamation given to Reagan is qualified. And, as I pointed out before, your alternate sources were not deleted.
I would go so far as to say that, for a Conservative site, it is close to the most balanced article on the site. Perhaps you would like to write an article on the Fall of Communism that explores the other causes? --Dave3172 16:13, 10 March 2007 (EST)

My apologies to Dave3172. I wasn't accusing you of censorship. Rather, it was an earlier iteration of this page [[1]], which user Aschlafly rolled back wholesale. In that iteration, there were several references to texts supporting some of the alternative explanations for the fall of communism. While Dave3172 is right to note that the fall of communism would warrant an entry unto itself, what seemed more inappropriate was Aschlafly's decision to expunge many book citations (the earlier version was even more substantiated than the current version), with his stated reason:

"But an entry is going to give credit to conservatives or Christianity or American where credit is due. If you want to insert a liberal view that attempts to deny credit to Reagan for the fall of communism, then it should be well-supported and near the end, after the credit is fully given. It can't be inserted in a manner suggesting that the issue is unresolved, or that we have no way of knowing whether Reagan deserves credit. He obviously does."

User Aschlafly refuses to accept that, contrary to his personal opinion, the question of Reagan's credit for the end of communism is, in fact, unresolved. As other users have also tried to indicate, there are a wealth of alternative explanations that don't lend support to the "credit Reagan" thesis. And, at least in scholarly circles, it could be argued that there is substantial agreement that Reagan was not the primary or even a significant factor.

What I think is lacking for this entry, and would be worthy of inclusion on a separate entry for the fall of communism as well, would be some substantiation for the argument that Reagan deserves credit. As the article currently stands, and at least in the various iterations I've seen previously, it hasn't provided any support for this argument, aside from the anecdotal evidence of Reagan's speech in front of the Berlin Wall, the importance of which, I might add, seemed more to bolster Reagan's standing as a Cold Warrior and anticommunist in the West, rather than to make any significant impact on developments on the other side of the Iron Curtain (a point I recall seeing in an earlier, since censored version of this entry).

I'm not the one to provide such documentation. Frankly, in my studies of this question (and it was a subfield for one of my M.A. exams, so I've read in the scholarly literature quite extensively) I'm yet to encounter anyone who has presented a very extensive or, in my opinion, compelling argument for crediting Reagan. I am generally familiar with some of the reasons conservatives have given in support of the "credit Reagan" thesis, which user Dave3172 recounted above. But I have not encountered and cannot think offhand of what sorts of books, articles and other sources might lay out this argument at greater length. I would strongly encourage someone -- anyone -- to present those reasons more lucidly. As a teacher, I want to present my students with as many different interpretations as possible, and with the reasoning behind such arguments, so I can teach them to evaluate claims and sources more effectively. It would only be appropriate to include such material in Conservapedia, and I would think that especially on Conservapedia there would be contributors better able to provide that dimension of the debate.

As it stands, I do agree with user Dave3172 that the Reagan entry is rather even-handed and balanced. And in general I think the two of us are on the same page in terms of what we'd like to see.

But as a matter of course, I think it's always better to have too many references rather than too few. This is especially true for encyclopedias. In my mind, an encyclopedia should serve as a quick reference for basic facts, but also as a mere starting point for finding more extensive treatments of various issues and questions. Even if an editor happens to doubt the credibility of a source, it's better to allow users to know what sources are being used and to enable users to access those sources and make assessments of their credibility for themselves. If only more people learned those skills and the ability to read critically, and with a healthy skepticism, my job as an educator would be infinitely easier.

The real source of my aggravation lies in user Aschlafly's cavalier attitude toward sources and evidence that don't support his personal opinions. And while such attitudes are bound to be endemic on any wiki (whether Wikipedia or Conservapedia), which was part of the stated reason for the launch of Conservapedia, I find it troubling that Aschlafly of all users, as a founder or administrator of Conservapedia (if I understand correctly) is engaging in precisely the same behaviors that Conservapedia's founders deemed so troubling and problematic in Wikipedia. It just strikes me as highly hypocritical for user Aschlafly to be just as guilty of censoring viewpoints with which he disagrees.

-- "KW"

Evidence that Reagan helped to end the Cold War.

I assume this stuff is copyrighted, so I'll just give names and page numbers. These aren't historians, mind you - they're witnesses to history.

Margaret Thatcher on Reagan's impact with ending the Cold War "Statecraft" p. 10-11. Also included in this passage is testimony from the last Soviet Foreign Minister Alexandr Bessemertnykh.

A quote from Lech Walesa, leader of Solidiarity on the back of Peter Schweinzer's book, "Reagan's War."

I can provide more evidence, if necessary.

By the way, when the Soviet Union imposed martial law on Poland because of Solidarity, Reagan did take crucial action, and the results can not be underestimated. He revoked Poland's most favored nation trading status, which meant Polish goods faced a high tariffs on exports to the US. Most importantly, he banned the sale of oil and gas technologies to the USSR. Both of these actions put tremendous pressure on the Soviets to settle the strike on terms favorable to the Americans.

You got that last part absolutely wrong. The Soviet government didn't impose martial law on Poland. The Polish regime of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski declared it because the alternative was to watch its own collapse and allow Poland to descend into complete chaos. The Soviets were not a factor -- repeat: not a factor -- in the end to the Solidarity crisis. In fact, we now know based on documents in archives in Warsaw and Moscow that have become available since the fall of communism that the Kremlin was prepared to allow Poland to "go its own way" in 1981. This was not Moscow's preference, for obvious reasons, but after Soviet leaders assessed the likely outcome of a crackdown (a la Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 or Afghanistan in 1979), they ruled out the military option. Some of the reasoning behind this was that Soviet leaders feared the repercussions of intervention, which they surmised would have brought an end to detente. However, equally important was their conviction that the Poles would fight back, and that the Polish Army could not be trusted to remain loyal to the Communist regime in the event of a Soviet invasion. The decision to crack down on Solidarity was left entirely to the Polish leadership. (For more elaboration on this, see Vojtech Mastny's article "The Soviet Non-Invasion of Poland in 1980-1981 and the End of the Cold War," and Matthew Ouimet's "The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy.")

The irony, of course, was that the West widely believed (rather erroneously, as we now know) that Moscow had been calling the shots in Poland. So, despite the fact that it hadn't ordered the crackdown and resigned itself to the possibility of a non-Communist Poland, the Kremlin still faced the loss of benefits that had come with detente.

I'm also perplexed by your claim that the end of the legal Solidarity movement (and it's much more accurately characterized as an independent trade union and opposition movement than a strike, since hundreds of strikes occurred in this period in Poland) saw the Soviets "settle the strike on terms favorable to the Americans." Martial law was about the last thing the Reagan White House would've wanted. Or perhaps the next-to-last thing, since only a direct Soviet invasion of Poland could have been worse from an American standpoint.

However, even if you point to the end of detente and the economic hardships this brought to the Soviet Union as a major causal factor in the fall of communism, it's still debatable how much credit Reagan deserves for that. Many of the moves in that direction, such as the end of American food relief to the Soviet Union, had been initiated by Jimmy Carter following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and prior to Reagan's presidency. Under Reagan those policies may have been pursued to an even greater degree, though it is likely that, had he won a second term in office, Carter would have followed much the same course (especially if you recall that his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was a Pole). Much of the basis for crediting Reagan with the collapse of communism seems to dwell on his outspoken opposition to communism, and to having been in the right place at the right time. Given the array of systemic weaknesses, the developing opposition movements and the long-brewing crises that culminated in East-Central Europe in 1989, and in the Soviet Union over the following two years, it is highly probable that communism would have collapsed roughly when it did regardless of who lived in the White House in the 1980s.

Furthermore, I'd be interested in seeing the verbatim quote from Walesa. A professor said that Walesa gave a talk in Seattle some years ago where one of the audience members asked him if he thought Reagan or Gorbachev deserved the most credit for the collapse of communism. Walesa replied, "No, it was the Holy Father!" by which he meant Pope John Paul II (since Catholics refer to the pontiff as the Holy Father). So from the perspective on someone who obviously "witnessed" (and also shaped) history, you can see what people on the ground thought.

-- "KW"

McCarthy reference

Reagan tesitified in 1947 before the HUAC -- even before the Hiss & White episodes; McCarthy didn't produce his list til 1950, and was a Senate Committee. RobS 18:03, 12 March 2007 (EDT)

Flipping through some of the history pages, I see that PraiseTheLard mentioned Reagan's role as head of SAG in blacklisting supposed Hollywood Communists. However, I notice that this was repeatedly removed by other editors.

My question: why? This really happened, and I don't think the facts are in dispute. Thus, shouldn't it be included in an entry on Reagan, especially as it was one of the more notable (or notorious, depending on one's perspective) things he did in the years before he became governor*, and it can be seen as a stepping stone to politics, as well as an early sign of his zealotry as a Cold Warrior.

  • Unless, of course, you consider the classic Reagan film "Bedtime for Bonzo" (1951) to meet these criteria. But it's already in the entry under miscellanea.
Why? Yes, Reagan did testify in 1947 regarding subversive communist influence in SAG; Joe McCarthy started his investigations in 1950 of government employees and contractors doing business with government. Now, unlike Wikipedia, we can't fit a square peg in a round hole. For example, for several months I was in dispute resolution over things like people who died in 1948, 2 years before McCarthy, who nevertheless were victims of McCarthyism. Or all the atomic physicists who ended up on the Hollywood Blacklist. Or McCarthy, who never served in the House, sat on the House Un-America Activities Committee. Now these are quite simply facts any child has access to, nonetheless, it is the policy of Wikipedia not to allow some of this information into the sum total of human knowledge. So unless you can somehow prove that 1947 = 1950, Ronald Reagan in no way shape or form can be said to have any conection with "McCarthyism". RobS 23:42, 12 March 2007 (EDT)

  • If you read my comment on the removal more carefully, you'd notice that I never mentioned McCarthy or McCarthyism (I had nothing to do with the edits that included and removed that information, which is why I was questioning the actions of those involved). What I was trying to call attention to (and clearly failed to do so) was why information on Reagan's anticommunist activities, such as his role in blacklisting people in Hollywood for alleged Communist sympathies, was removed. What I suggested ought to have happened was that the incorrect information linking Reagan to McCarthyism could have been removed, but the other information outlining his anticommunist activities in conjunction with SAG and the Hollywood Blacklist should have been retained. Something about not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. -- "KW"
KW, Thanks for the clarification. There is much confusion regarding the so-called Hollywood blacklist. What you find is (A) deliberate efforts to cite HUAC as the source of the blacklist (B) deliberate efforts and distortions to cite McCarthy as serving on HUAC at the time.
The simple fact of the matter is (A) the "blacklisted" actors and writers were blacklisted by the MPAA (the same group that issues movie ratings and the Oscars); (B) the US government did not blacklist the Hollywood actors; (C) McCarthy's Committee, which had nothing to do with the blacklist in the first place, would not possess legal authority to investigate anyway. McCarthy's Committee only had legal jurisdiction to investigate the US Government or government contractors.
Now, it is argued that some Hollywood films had business relationships with the US Government in the making of films in WWII. Yes, this is true. To that extent, if there were a pretext to investigate Hollywood studios, screenwriters, and actors who were acting as government contractors, why didn't McCarthy investigate them.
Needless to say, unravelling the a half century of deliberate distortions and deceptions is messy indeed. RobS 18:19, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
P.S. Reagans credentials as an anti-Communist aren't really something we need to speculate about; attempts to "link" Reagan to some of the unpleasant aspects of "McCarthyism" is something we need to be concerned about.
  • Something our younger members might want to keep in mind, it is totally revisionist thinking to view the House Un-American Activities Committee, its investigations and Congressman McCarthy as evil. I think the genocide of the Soviet Communist Party, and its leaders are very well documented. So are the hundreds of spies sent to the U.S. It is a proven fact that many true-believers, as opposed to those who were easily mislead or naive, did actively get jobs in the film industry. What you know today as "transparency" didn't exist in the 50's and 60's. Nuclear bombs were new to us, the leader of the Soviet Union announced on TV that they would "bury" us. These are things you need to take into consideration when examining the period. --TK 19:35, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

Can we limit the speculation and the removal of facts/sources to include unsubstantiated opinion?

Someone earlier today inserted a line at the end of the survey of various interpretations of the end of communism to the effect of "Nevertheless, Reagan was the personal driving force behind the fall of communism." Given the multitude of other interpretations presented in this article and elsewhere on the talk page, it seemed inappropriate to add that line as a way of denying the existence of controversy in this debate and asserting a personal opinion as manifest fact. As it stands, and as I reverted it, the article never claimed that any single interpretation was "right." Instead, the main idea (and what I would hope would be more important for an encyclopedia) is that the issue is not clear cut, and to present the basic contours of the debate.

Similarly, I noticed that a user changed the section on the presidential legacy regarding SDI/Star Wars, removing the information about how the principle of atmospheric-based missile defense (the foundation of SDI) has never been tested successfully. Moreover, the same user changed the line that said (and I paraphrase from memory), "Even though many conservatives claim SDI gave the U.S. considerable leverage vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, most analysts of Soviet policy note that such considerations were of minor concern and that internal considerations played the paramount role in Soviet policymaking." In its place, the new line (again, I paraphrase) said simply that "SDI gave the U.S. considerable leverage against the Soviet Union." Any notion that the existence of leverage is disputed was summarily excised.

While I understand that many (most?) of the users of Conservapedia likely believe Reagan to have been the driving force behind the end of the Cold War, and to have though that SDI brought the Soviet Union to its knees and spurred the collapse of communism, I underline that these are only individual opinions. They may be based on certain sources, but they remain interpretations and not cut-and-dry facts. At the very least, there should be documentation and evidence to support these sorts of assertions. But I also think that, given the level of contention over these questions in academic and political debates, a better approach for Conservapedia, or any encyclopedia for that matter, is to present the controversy and the various sides, rather than unilaterally presenting one perspective as absolute fact.

It's my understanding that this was a major motivation for creating Conservapedia as an alternative to Wikipedia, to include viewpoints that were being summarily removed on Wikipedia. I'm all for presenting alternative viewpoints, but I think what's essential to give Conservapedia any broad credibility is to not provide only the viewpoints lacking on Wikipedia, but to present all the viewpoints. If you only want to present certain viewpoints, well, it is called Conservapedia, but you should probably stop claiming to be encyclopedic in nature.

**Reagan, while President of SAG, opposed Communist infilteration of the guilds in Hollywood, however he was also instrumental in fighting for actors who were painted by McCarthy's broad brush, and got their names removed. He did just that in helping a young actress, Nancy Davis, who he eventually married. --TK 21:07, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

Good observations. With reference to,
"Even though many conservatives claim SDI gave the U.S. considerable leverage vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, most analysts of Soviet policy note that such considerations were of minor concern and that internal considerations played the paramount role in Soviet policymaking."
the subtle thing said here is trying to separate "conservatives" from "most analysts", i.e. moderate or manistream. Facts are so-called "conservative analysts" are very mainstream given the subject under discussion. The so-called "moderate analysts", or others this referes to, are journalists and opinion makers, not defense policy analysts. This sort of subtlety needs to be watched for. RobS 22:47, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
But I think you're falsely interpreting a statement that says "many conservatives" to exclude conservatives from or the "mainstream." Perhaps the issue was in the paraphrase I believe the exact language said something to the effect of "many political scientists and historians," or "scholars," or something a bit more specific. But when I said "analysts," I meant this merely as a shorthand for a variety of groups, which included many relevant scholars, and did not mean it in the narrow sense of defense policy analysts. I certainly don't think defense analysts had a monopoly on wisdom or insight regarding Soviet policymaking. We know from documents and materials available after the fact that as much as analysts and observers got right, they also got many things wrong. And this assessment applies equally to academics, scholars, journalists, politicians and opinion makers as it does to defense experts, policy analysts, etc. Likewise, I meant policymaking in a broad sense for the Soviet case, having in mind domestic political and economic policies as much as military and foreign policies. --SmithHall 01:03, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
In fact, here is the verbatim passage: "While supporters of Reagan claim SDI gave the United States a large amount of leverage in its standoff with the Soviet Union, most political scientists and historians note that Star Wars played a fairly minor role in the calculus of Soviet policy-making, where internal structural problems were paramount."
I think you'll agree that the language here is much less problematic. And while there are undoubtedly Reagan supporters in the ranks of political scientists and historians, I think it's accurate to suggest that more of them aren't Reagan supporters than are.
Anyway, my apologies for having been lazy and not citing the exact passage earlier, which I think was a source of much confusion. --SmithHall 01:08, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
most political scientists and historians note that...."
How about, many [or some] political scientists and historians are of the opinion that ... RobS 16:53, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

I am somewhat skeptical of citizens from another country being able to tell fact from fiction, when quoting Soviet citizens, who were or are a part of that government, being as their vested interest is in denigrating any accomplishments by Reagan. Likewise the part about military service, which I removed, was completely inaccurate, in that it failed to mention that he did indeed enlist, was an officer, and contributed to the raising of millions of 1940's Dollars on behalf of the war effort. Likewise his fighting of the black lists, which his own future wife, Nancy Davis was put on. Cannot the Sysops here block this highly inaccurate and troubling information being listed? It troubles me users cannot contact anyone about this, in a easily identified manner. Someone put up these web pages, it belongs to someone. Someone is ultimately responsible, no? If not, perhaps I need to refer all this BS to the likes of Ed Meese or Mike Deever, for rebuttal. --TK 23:29, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

Reagan actually served two non-contiguous active military stints, if I recall. RobS 16:53, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
Reagan entered military service in 1942 and served for three years in the U.S. Army, for which he made training films, and he was discharged with the rank of captain. [2] --TK 10:47, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
Reagan states in his 1965 autobiography [3] he served in the Cavalry, confirmed here Ronald Reagan, Cavalry Lt/USAAF Capt, FMPU; personnel officer 9th AF; Peggy Noonan likeqwise cites it. RobS 13:19, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

Explain to me what was "inaccurate" or "troubling" in saying that Reagan, as head of SAG, was involved in naming members of the film industry on the Hollywood Blacklist? He was involved. He answered questions in HUAC hearings and kept the FBI informed about "disloyal" members of his union. These are facts.[4] I can't assess the veracity of the statement that Reagan also tried to shield actors victimized by McCarthy, which would certainly make Reagan's a complex and difficult-to-read character.

But the main points to make are 1) nothing in the statement that Reagan played at least a contributing role (by testifying before HUAC, informing the FBI, etc.) in the Hollywood Blacklist is factually inaccurate; 2) if Reagan did try to clear the names of actors caught up by McCarthyism, including Nancy Davis, then it needs to be cited (see the Conservapedia commandment if you're unclear on the reason why); 3) whatever role Reagan may have played in vindicating those unjustly accused by McCarthy, it still doesn't make it any less true to note that earlier he played a part in the anticommunist persecution of individuals who wound up blacklisted in Hollywood.

Also, I find it maddeningly ignorant and offensive to make such a blanket statement as to claim broad skepticism regarding the ability of "citizens from another country being able to tell fact from fiction," whether quoting Soviet citizens, or in any other context. First, I don't know why the whole "immediately distrust foreigners" is even relevant to this discussion, or to the edits on the Reagan article. Second, ignorance, like wisdom, knows no national boundaries. Americans hold a monopoly on neither. You can love this country and think it's the greatest in the world, but that doesn't preclude you from recognizing the intelligence of non-Americans, or the ignorance of many Americans. Rather than making such a blanket condemnation, try to point to specific examples of bias, ignorance or what have you, instead of speaking in such vague generalizations. -- "KW"

Ok, so by Reagan giving testimony to HUAC, then a separate non-governmental entity, the Motion Picture Association of America blacklists actors, that makes Reagan "involved". Whereas in fact, the actual involvement of the MPAA is suspect, because it appears to be coincidental that the members of MPAA are the ones who refused to extend contracts, not the MPAA itself.
Reagan did try to clear the names of actors caught up by McCarthyism, including Nancy Davis...
I beleive you may be misusing the term "McCarthyism here; and can you provide a cite for the specific reference. RobS 16:53, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
  • By the way, HUAC stands for "House Un-American Activities Committee" which was an official body of the United States Congress. It was Chaired by Congressman Joesph McCarthy, of Wisconson. As for extending contracts, the motion picture studios are the true villians here, in caving into pressure from the Congress. Not excusing Congress's actions but it wasn't the Government refusing the contracts.--TK 15:40, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

You make my point for me. It is ignorant, in the extreme, to give half-answers as "fact" like about Reagan's testimony before the HUAC, without explaining further, his other actions. To ignore, or leave them out is bias indeed. It proves my point, because most anyone from the Untited States, politically involved, knows the story about how Ronald Reagan met Nancy Davis!! You are using clearly liberal, left of center sourcing material, and passing it off as fact, just because you provided a source. Go to, and you can get those types of "facts". You have a very revisionist view, imo, almost of someone too young to remember, prersonally, the period. It was not considered heinous at that time, to oppose Communist infiltration of the entertainment industry, and while most people did not agree with McCarthy's tactics, they did not oppose the goal. --TK 01:30, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

My omission of the story about how Ronald met Nancy was based on ignorance, yes. I didn't know the story behind it, but that doesn't reflect willful or malicious neglect on my part. I couldn't tell you how any president met his wife, which is more a product of my priorities, or "bias," as you term it: I simply don't care much for personal gossip of any sort. There, you know my personal "bias" regarding the matter at hand.
But, again, if I made an omission, then the correct move on your part is to correct it by adding the missing fact, not expunging other facts that don't tell the story you like. That's all I requested. I don't profess omniscience, and I'm certainly not an expert on the intricacies of the Reagans' courtship. But since you apparently have knowledge of that and consider it so essential to the story of his involvement with HUAC, then add that to the entry and share your particular wisdom with everyone. Balance is a good thing, and that's what I was trying to urge you to provide. Obviously I want as complete a picture as possible, but I also don't know every side of the story, and I know I don't know.
And you're right that I don't have personal recollections of the period. However, my age or experience make my contributions no less valid. I don't discount the very real sense of fear and terror that pervaded the era. But while you might consider this a hindrance or claim this forces me into "revisionism," I can respond by saying that your personal experiences and recollections dooms you to your own "bias," in that you evidently feel like you have a stake in the matter, whereas I didn't have anything to gain or lose based on its outcome. Neither approach is necessarily "wrong" or more "objective." It's just a way of noting that no one is immune from bias, and that bias takes a number of forms. This, among many other reasons, is why I place such emphasis on including as many different dimensions as possible. Clearly you have a perspective that I don't, but your perspective might cause you to focus on certain things to the exclusion of other factors that seem noteworthy to me. Why not use our different perspectives to mutual advantage? -- "KW"
I think you confuse this place for Wikipedia. This is the Conservative version. Therefore like values are tensed more than those which oppose, otherwise what is this place for? I also think you mistake personal things for purely historical ones. I am not making you, personally less valid, however this place is the place for debating your personal ideas, and the failure to go the extra mile and inform the people who will use this as a resource, of the whole story, not a fragment of it. You are using, in my opinion, the same tired liberal sources those of us in the States have grown to mistrust. --TK 03:11, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
Evidently I confused this place for an encyclopedia interested in facts. I see you arbitrarily removed the information about how Honecker could and did ignore Gorbachev's entreaties for reform. The fact that several Soviet troops were stationed in East Berlin was quite ancillary to the issue at question, namely the status of the Berlin Wall. Were, as you (or whoever added the line about the Soviet troops) suggested, Gorbachev to have exercised military pressure on Honecker to reform, he would've ceased to be a reformer. You can't force through those sorts of liberalizing measures through violent and oppressive measures. The French Revolution attempted that, and in ended in the Reign of Terror and, later, with military rule under Napoleon. Your decision to willy-nilly ignore the realities of internal dynamics, both within the Eastern bloc and within individual countries of the bloc, makes your own opinion regarding the importance of Gorbachev (and what he potentially could have done) to the fall of the Berlin Wall exceedingly groundless and unsubstantiated. Even though the first incarnation of the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 with Soviet assistance, this was what the East German government at the time wanted as well, in order to triage the massive population loss and brain drain of East Germans who went to West Berlin and from there to the West. Those desires held true into 1989, and it was only when popular pressures began to mount within East German for opening the borders that things began to change. Moreover, the fall of the Wall itself was not the product of deliberate policy on anyone's part; on November 9, 1989, the party head in Berlin read (or perhaps misread, as scholars have debated) an announcement on television in somewhat unclear language (if you see a clip of the broadcast, you can even see him looking a bit surprised and what he thought he was reading) to the effect that the border would be opened for private trips abroad, which the East Germans watching on television interpreted to mean the complete opening of the border, prompting thousands to storm the checkpoints and begin tearing down the Wall. In the end, not Gorbachev nor Honecker nor Reagan, for that matter, played a key role in tearing down the Wall. Credit a bureaucrat's vague words and the initiative of the thousands of East Germans who made it so.
And I don't know why you keep making thinly veiled illusions suggesting that I'm some sort of foreigner. You keep using that canard to try to discredit me, but it only reflects poorly on you because 1) I'm an American, born and raised, and 2) your implication that anyone who bothers to learn about the other side of an issue (or in this case to pay attention to what was actually happening on the other side of the Iron Curtain rather than accepting a bunch of poorly supported opinions as the gospel truth) must not be American suggests that anyone who's American is also ignorant with respect to the rest of the world. -- "KW"
KW, these are all good points you make above and well researched. However you may be argueing the substance on the page. Let's find somewhere to put all that research in. How about East Germany? RobS 17:01, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
Done. It's a fragmentary entry, by necessity, but at least there's the beginnings of an entry. -- "KW"

Citations from Wikipedia....

Since the Conservapedia is billed as an alternative to Wikipedia, which is deemed by the Founders as culturally, religiously and politically biased, why in God's name are editors using information from that source to substantiate their information/edits here?

Many of us start from the premise Wikipedia is a suspect source. Please find alternative source information, otherwise there isn't really a point to this "alternative" is there?

  • You're right. Wikipedia is NOT an acceptable source or authority. Please edit the offending pages and alert the contributors. The mistakes could have been innocent, of course.--Aschlafly 19:32, 15 March 2007 (EDT)


I think the reorder is somewhat cumbersome, and not putting most of the information at the top, perhaps? --TK 23:41, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Check out this link: --TK 03:10, 16 March 2007 (EDT)


For this edit,

although the U.S. government under Reagan gave direct support to Iraq during the war. President Ronald Reagan stated that the United States "could not afford to allow Iraq to lose the war to Iran", and that the United States "would do whatever was necessary and legal to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran."

we need (a) a date; (b) source. RobS 10:31, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

A report by a presidential commission, released in February 1987, depicted Reagan as uninformed, and concluded that his relaxed "personal management style" had prevented him from controlling his subordinates. House and Senate committees, conducting joint hearings, heard testimony that Reagan did not know of the diversion of funds. Most committee members signed a majority report in November 1987 asserting that although Reagan's role in the affair could not be determined precisely, he had clearly failed to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Poindexter, North, and others were indicted in the affair in 1988. [5] --TK 11:03, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

The U.S. restored formal relations with Iraq in November 1984, but the U.S. had begun, several years earlier, to provide it with intelligence and military support (in secret and contrary to this country's official neutrality) in accordance with policy directives from President Ronald Reagan. These were prepared pursuant to his March 1982 National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM 4-82) asking for a review of U.S. policy toward the Middle East. One of these directives from Reagan, National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 99, signed on July 12, 1983, is available only in a highly redacted version [Document 21]. It reviews U.S. regional interests in the Middle East and South Asia, and U.S. objectives, including peace between Israel and the Arabs, resolution of other regional conflicts, and economic and military improvements, "to strengthen regional stability." It deals with threats to the U.S., strategic planning, cooperation with other countries, including the Arab states, and plans for action. An interdepartmental review of the implications of shifting policy in favor of Iraq was conducted following promulgation of the directive.

On April 5, 1984, Ronald Reagan issued another presidential directive (NSDD 139), emphasizing the U.S. objective of ensuring access to military facilities in the Gulf region, and instructing the director of central intelligence and the secretary of defense to upgrade U.S. intelligence gathering capabilities. It codified U.S. determination to develop plans "to avert an Iraqi collapse." Reagan's directive said that U.S. policy required "unambiguous" condemnation of chemical warfare (without naming Iraq), while including the caveat that the U.S. should "place equal stress on the urgent need to dissuade Iran from continuing the ruthless and inhumane tactics which have characterized recent offensives." [6] --TK 11:03, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

Thank you. Good research. Now as to specifics, your language "depicted Reagan as uninformed" is stated perhaps more precisely as "Members of the National Securirty Council staff, along with CIA Director William Casey, persuaded Reagan...".
  • Rob, "uninformed" in government parlance, is not what you think. It means the subordinates did not inform him. Those are raw quotes, which would need re-phrasing. I sent you an email, did you get it? There are lot of things most sane people wouldn't feel comfortable posting about themselves on public pages. --Terry 23:28, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
Got it. Yes a private discussion can help facilitate where we wish to go with this and save time. I responded, did you get it? RobS 11:20, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
  • No, Rob..I haven't reveived anything from you. Did you send it via email through this board? I'll email you, with my IM info.
The two NSDD cited deserves treatment in context, however after Reagan's reelection (and the reestablishment of relations with Iraq) the overture to Iran to sell weapons from Israel was given more focus, as the Tower Commission Report clearly gives detail. Also, feelers were sent prior to the second term regarding contact between Teheran and the hostage takers in Lebenon.
The language "dissuade Iran from continuing the ruthless and inhumane tactics" referes to the use of the Iranian Mahatma Ghandi and proginator of Human Rights reforms in Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini, use of children to clear minefields.
A proposal: lets complete a good review of the Iran/Contra affair here, in the Reagan artcle, which then perhaps could be spun off into its separate article with only a summary left behind. RobS 14:04, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
Not from me, Rob! I put up material here, someone takes it, re-compiles it, slaps it back up as their edit, after the same thing was added by me a day or so ago! Is there some commandment about NOT communicating here? You invited participation, yet everyone is running around like chickens with their heads off, never communicating! --Terry 23:28, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
Let me make two observervations: (1) the stuff about it being outed on Nov. 3 1986 (we need to check if that is prior to election day 1986 when the Democrats regained the Senate and were in a position to hold public investigations, or after election day) is well researched, and we can put it in at the point it belongs. (2) The stuff about Iraq is going to need some clarification, because this narrative picks up "after Reagan was re-elected", i.e. after Nov. 84, and his swearing in Jan. 85; NSDD 139, 5 April 1984 is prior. While all this material is extremely (a) valid and (b) relevent, we are writing an historical narrative of events, not doing a hit piece with piecemeal material out of context. So this is what I'd like to discuss, gaining some structure to events.
Let me add, as an after thought, all accounts I read all over the web dismiss this all as a "scandal" of a bunch of greedy arms dealers and other assorted low-lifes which either includes Reagan, or Reagan gave his assent to. That POV has been explicitely stated eleswhere. So what we are examining is the motives for Reagan's giving assent to this matter. And beginning with a conclusory premise, that (a) Reagan's just another greedy corrupt Republican (b) this is just more evidence of the currupt aims, motives, and duplicity of Republicans in power and why you can't trust them, will fail. RobS 11:20, 17 March 2007 (EDT)


--TK 03:35, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

Comment on this inclusion:although the U.S. government under Reagan gave direct support to Iraq during the war. President Ronald Reagan stated that the United States "could not afford to allow Iraq to lose the war to Iran", and that the United States "would do whatever was necessary and legal to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran.");

this may warrant inclusion at some point, and it no way contradicts US policy aims as stated by Henry Kissinger upon the outbreak of the Iran-iraq War in 1981, "All we can do is hope they both loose." RobS 11:31, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

Being old enough to remember this time really good but too old to remember exactly where I heard this: The CIA, in shipments of Iran's weapons, would include "faulty" munitions such as hand grenades that would explode as soon as the handle was released, killing the thrower. Not all, but like 15-20% were "defective". I'll see if I can find a source.
primea facia this may be faulty; you will recall CIA was not involved in Iran/Contra; and using Israel & private arms dealers is what the matter was all about. Please, do not come here with warrantless, unqualified speculation. Get legitimate source documents first, then bring it to our attention. RobS 11:46, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

  • Reagan said, "could not afford to allow Iraq to lose the war to Iran..."

This is the same problem that confronts President Bush today, i.e. allowing Iran to gain ascendancy over the majority Shia in Iraq, and the region. I'm sorry if this conflicts with journalists and scandalmongers aims to sell newspapers to paint Reagan in bed with the fascist Ba'athists, but this is not a propaganda vehicle, and we are here to write factual biography of Mr. Reagan. RobS 16:26, 18 March 2007 (EDT)

Exactly, RobS. In the secular, political world, sometimes the person you end up in bed with, well...the reason you do is just because there isn't room anywhere else, or you are simply too tired to look elsewhere.  ;-) --TK 21:25, 18 March 2007 (EDT)
So the point here is, the crazies in Iran gaining hegemony in the Gulf needed to be detered (then, as now); then in Reagan's second term the fear that if a militarized Iraq survived the War intact, it might turn it's attention elsewhere, like Kuwait, which it did.
What do we know? Journalists blew the story wide open to sell headlines, and partisan Democrats looking to make a scandal, hastened (1) the Gulf War of 1991; (2) the fact that Iran still isn't an ally, and remains hostile with nuke capabilities. And if Iran hasn't got a nuke yet, they got the money to buy brainpower or an operational bomb from cash starved North Korea.
All this so partisans could create a scandal. RobS 01:03, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
  • Indeed. Welcome to my world. I console myself knowing that sooner or later (usually later) the public gets damned mad, and there is literally political hell to pay. I have been waiting for that now about 7 years. Look at for American Solutions....something is being done, and the ground work being layed. --TK 03:35, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
The public wouldn't get mad if they stopped eating up all the journalists and the paid purveyors if lies lies. Truth is, news items have a shelf life, and a "sell by" date. Journalists do not care if (1) four years later Saddam indeed invades Kuwait as Iran/Contra tried to head off, or (b) 20 years later Iran still isn't an ally and now is a hostile power seeking nuclear weapons. All these scandalmongers wish to do is build careers, create and sell interesting news items, and the world be damned if consequences down the road surface as a result of thier actions. They're always in the postion to blame others. And as P.T. Barnum said, there's a sucker born every minute to buy thier lies. RobS 21:51, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

NSDD 139

Here are portions of the relevent context of NSDD 139 5 April 1984 extracted for discussion.

  • In light of recent developments in the Iran-Iraq War and the threat which an escalation of that conflict or a terrorist campaign could pose for the vital interests of the U.S. and its Allies, measures must be taken now to improve our immediate ability to deter an expansion of the conflict in the Persian Gulf and, if necessary, defend U.S. interests...
  • In the recognition of the growing threat of Iranian-sponsored terrorism...
  • ...prepare a plan of action designed to avert an Iraqi collapse.
  • The Secretary of State will ensure that the policy of the United States Government condemning the use of chemical warfare (CW) munitions in the Iran-Iraq war is unambiguous and consistent, with the 1925 Geneva protocol. Our condemnation of the use of CW munitions by the belligerents should place equal stress on the urgent need to dissuade Iran from continuing the ruthless and inhumane tactics which have characterized recent offensives. (TS)

Here are extracts from Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), < >

Iraqi Retreats, 1982-84

  • The Iranian high command passed from regular military leaders to clergy in mid-1982....
  • In July 1982 Iran launched Operation Ramadan... near Basra...the clergy used "human-wave" attacks... Ranging in age from only nine years old and up, these eager but relatively untrained soldiers swept over minefields and fortifications to clear safe paths for the tanks...
  • the end of 1983, an estimated 120,000 Iranians and 60,000 Iraqis had been killed. Despite these losses, in 1983 Iran held a distinct advantage in the attempt to wage and eventually to win the war of attrition.
  • Beginning in 1984, ...according to Jane's Defence Weekly and other sources, Baghdad used chemical weapons against Iranian troop concentrations...
  • In April 1984, Saddam Hussein proposed to meet Khomeini personally in a neutral location to discuss peace negotiations...
  • ...Iraq launched a new series of attacks on shipping on February 1, 1984.

The War of Attrition, 1984-87

  • By 1984 it was reported that some 300,000 Iranian soldiers and 250,000 Iraqi troops had been killed, or wounded....
  • In early 1984...
  • ...the Iranian command again resorted to the human-wave tactic. In March 1984, an East European journalist claimed that he "saw tens of thousands of children, roped together in groups of about twenty to prevent the faint-hearted from deserting, make such an attack."
  • Despite Iraqi denials since the war started, in February 1984 the Iraqi command ordered the use of chemical weapons. Within a four-week period between February and March 1984, the Iraqis reportedly killed 40,000 Iranians and lost 9,000 of their own men...
  • Ranging in age from only nine years old and up, these eager but relatively untrained soldiers swept over minefields and fortifications to clear safe paths for the tanks.
  • Within a four-week period between February and March 1984, the Iraqis reportedly killed 40,000 Iranians and lost 9,000 of their own February 1984 the Iraqi command ordered the use of chemical weapons....between May 1981 and March 1984, Iran charged Iraq with forty uses of chemical weapons.

If anything is missing from the source documents to add to, or clarify context, please bring it forward. RobS 21:21, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

  • Some very valuable additions, Rob! --~ Sysop-TK Talk2Me! 22:05, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

Reagan & Shamir

  • Reagan, though he once told Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir that he had personally liberated concentration camps

this is total bull, and you should know better. RobS 16:06, 22 March 2007 (EDT)

Reagan's participation in the liberation of concentration camps is bull, yes.

However, he did claim later in life, telling both Shamir and Simon Wiesenthal that he had personally liberated camps, when in fact he had merely seen film footage.

So much for being different from Wikipedia?

I noticed that Conservapedia now has a page explaining how it's different from Wikipedia [7]. Reason No. 2, to quote it verbatim, is:

We do not allow opinions of journalists to be repeated here as though they are facts. Instead, we require authoritative support. Wikipedia presents as facts numerous assertions that are based merely on journalists' (biased) opinion.

Now, I think this is a commendable policy. One journalist's view should not necessarily be taken as fact. And this holds doubly true in the case of columnists, editorialists and other commentators whose work regularly appears on the Op-Ed pages of newspapers. By definition, these kinds of journalists are presenting opinions, and often selectively use or disregard facts.

So I find it particularly troubling to see how many times this entry violates this policy. The opinions of Peggy Noonan, Cal Thomas, et al, are presented here in the guise of factual statements, used to justify specific opinions on Reagan's legacy, involvement with the Hollywood Blacklist, the end of the Cold War, etc. It just doesn't lend much credibility to the entry or to Conservapedia, particularly in light of the claim that Conservapedia "does not allow opinions of journalists to be repeated here as though they are facts."

And, I'd add that presenting the views of Henry Kissinger, Margaret Thatcher or other officials and politicians in a similar manner is just as problematic. While these sorts of individuals may have a unique perspective on events, having been personally and directly involved in ways most journalists and other observers have not, their views are still opinions, and should be presented -- as in the case of the op-ed columnists mentioned above -- as the opinions of interested parties, rather than given as fact.

Certainly, the same can be said of the academics and scholars cited in the entry. However, those viewpoints are clearly presented as individual interpretations (and are not upheld as the simple truth). Moreover, in general I'd feel more comfortable citing an academic book than a newspaper columnist or insider because there's usually a rigorous standard of methodology and research being used that just isn't there for journalists and politicians. If you cite an academic book, you can usually point to the fifty pages of sources and references at the back to show what it's based on. You're lucky if columnists even name their sources (much less the specific place where they found their information), while politicians are wont to simply refer to each other for credibility, which means the foundation for their opinions is often lacking in substance.

Now, I'm sure that pointing out this blatant contradiction of policy won't lead to its rectification for this entry, or for Conservapedia in general. But, I feel compelled for some odd reason to point out why the site will likely want for credibility, and to suggest some ways in which the standards and quality of submissions can become a bit more robust. The site is still young, and it's possible that with a concerted effort Conservapedia can achieve its purported goals. I just won't be holding my breath. --SmithHall 12:06, 23 March 2007 (EDT)

  • Well, whilst everyone is entitled to keep whatever opinions one wants to, it should be pointed out that most of that Journalists "report", these days, are just opinions as well, at best, and outright propaganda at the worst. In the end, what one's peers say about them, and the job you've done, is what counts in history. An automobile mechanic, being praised by other mechanics, is much more valuable to the rest of us, than praise from me. If you are laboring under the delusion that journalists, or academics are somehow "fairer" than other humans, you would be wrong.--~ TerryK Talk2Me! 17:26, 23 March 2007 (EDT)
    • That's certainly debatable. The reason historians and scholars tend to view memoirs and other ex post facto recollections with considerable skepticism is that people often rewrite or whitewash their past deeds to portray themselves in the most flattering light possible. Or, often they do so to flatter their friends and allies. There's nothing inherently evil in this; it's human nature. After all, we've all heard a few "fish stories" in our day.

My main point, however, was not that any particular kind of source was inherently better than others. Rather, it was to note that the opinions of columnists presented in the Reagan entry violate the Conservapedia policy cited above. I'd remove the quotes, but I'd get shouted down for "liberal bias" when all I want to see happen is Conservapedia actually abiding by its stated policies. The preceding unsigned comment was made by SmithHall

  • There is only one quote from a columnist, which is, in the US, a different category than Journalist. Peggy Noonan was an Assistant to the President, a member of his administration. --~ TerryK Talk2Me! 23:36, 23 March 2007 (EDT)

Requested edit

Could someone add this article to Category:Actors? Thanks. --Interiot 15:58, 31 March 2007 (EDT)

  • That catagory is inappropriate. Should we add "Painters" or "House Painters" to Hitler? --~ TerryK MyTalk 23:17, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

Second thought, it is appropriate. --~ TerryK MyTalk 01:06, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Iran Hostage Crisis

Should there be some mention of the Iran Hostage Crisis in the foreign policy section? There isn't even a casual one-sentence dismissal of 444 days of captivity experienced by dozens of Americans. Completely left out. Reaganomist 16:38, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

  • The Iran hostage crisis was on Jimmy Carter's watch, however you are right in saying it needs mention here as well, for the World knows that they turned them loose because they understood what Reagan would do to them if they didn't.--~ TerryK MyTalk 19:25, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Yes, they released them moments after news of his election. Heck, if I was a terrorist I'd be terrified of Reagan too. We could use another Reagan. Reaganomist 19:35, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

Saint Reagan

I know he's a saint and all, but could we cut down the opening paragraph and make the dek more of a summary than a glowing review? Thanks Flippin 12:00, 7 May 2007 (EDT)

  • Flippin, you have crossed the line several times recently, with sarcastic, intemperate remarks, especially dragging Andy's family into your vendetta. I am sure you have many pairs of socks, so you shouldn't mind when I block you. Please be productive, and find another hobby aside from merely tweeking Conservatives, like producing articles, if you wish to remain here. --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 19:03, 7 May 2007 (EDT)

Fixing Iran-Contra Section

At the *very least*, can we please get the name of the Bolan amendment right? That is a brutal blow to any pretense of competency on this issue. Also the argument that it is an impingement upon the power of the executive is highly tendentious; can it be fixed? Brainslug 12:28, 7 May 2007 (EDT)

1976 Election, running against Ford

There's a section that says that Reagan withdrew his nomination because he could have beaten Ford and didn't want to be the spoiler. I'm sorry, but that's not true. Reagan almost pulled it off, but he came up short when the electoral count was being tallied. If he could have won the Republican nomination in 1976, he would have. No one runs for months of hard campaigning just to withdrew because they would win. Learn together 04:32, 8 May 2007 (EDT)

  • I'm sorry, I was there, that is what happened. There isn't an electoral tally at conventions. If he had stayed in, and once the first rounds of votes had been taken, the state delegates are then free from their commitment to vote per the primary. At that point hundreds would have voted with their hearts, which were always with Reagan. Recognizing the problem it would cause in the general election, he put a stop to it. --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 04:43, 8 May 2007 (EDT)
Well if you were there, then that trumps my knowledge. I was with my parents watching on TV and it didn't come across that way, but I was younger and TV isn't exactly going to report what happens in the trenches anyway, nor would I necessarily have the memory recall of someone dedicated enough to go to the live event. Learn together 11:05, 8 May 2007 (EDT)