That Time Ronald Reagan Hosted Those 'Freedom Fighters' At The Oval Office
This photograph is from 1983, when Reagan and the CIA were dancing around the idea of arming Mujahadin fighters in order to fight back against Soviet incursion in Afghanistan. The result was a well-armed, well-trained group of jihadis who resisted (some say defeated) the onslaught of superior Soviet weaponry.
Once the Soviets retreated, the U.S. lost interest and pulled the funding. Osama bin Laden took interest, and filled the vacuum, later fathering the
The rest, as they say, is history.
Often erroneously paired with this photo is a Reagan quote, "These gentlemen are the moral equivalent of the founding fathers."
Reagan was in fact referring to Nicaraguan fighters and another initiative to arm them, this time against the U.S.'s own treaties.
We all know how that worked out as well.
The U.S. recently cut its fleets in the Persian Gulf from two strike groups to one. A
President Obama, though denying he armed rebels in Syria, has sought a softer approach to international relations — one where obligations, strings, aren't as easily attached to the U.S.
This is a new reality, for better or worse. Looking at this photo, we remember. Maybe a smaller footprint is for the better.
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