Foley wrong on Thatcher, Reagan, USSR
April 16, 2013 10:02 PM | 1055 views | 9 9 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

You can tell when people were great by the controversy they engender upon their death from the left. I was bemused by CNN’s coverage of Margaret Thatcher’s death pronouncing how she had put millions of people out of work, while Fox defined how she had privatized numerous industries that were under government control, subsequently making these industries competitive and profitable.

Kevin Foley’s column in the Friday MDJ certainly dismisses Ronald Reagan’s success as happenstance of being at the right place at the right time. I lived through Reagan’s pronounced and defined agenda, having served in West Germany for over seven years. Reagan in no uncertain terms brought the Berlin Wall down by capitalizing on the Soviet Union’s weaknesses, its Cold War militarism, the Arms Race and non-productive labor.

The Soviet Union’s communist expansion following World War II had one espoused objective — world domination. Country after country fell to Communist authority and the Iron Curtain held captive millions and millions of enslaved laborers. Theirs was a real fear that as the Soviets built more and more weapons that they might be able to achieve a military advantage that could overcome Western Europe’s defenses. This was no game. This was the Soviet Union’s objective.

Over time however, the Communist system of government control and redistribution failed. As the Soviet Union brought more arms to bear on the border, the West in turn matched the Soviets’ firepower. This equality of forces preserved and defended Western Europe.

I was there in Europe when Reagan deployed the Tactical Nuclear weapon systems (Pershing and Cruise missiles) dramatically ramping up the arms standoff. Reagan took what was called at that time a “hollow Army,” modernized it and deployed it with such overwhelming swiftness and clear defined objective that the Soviet Union could not compete.

So I would say Mr. Foley is correct in some respects. The Soviet Union’s Communist economics were at the root of their collapse, but it was Reagan and Thatcher that made it blindingly obvious that a capitalist system based on sound economics would not relent. Their strength defined by their bold actions dramatically pushed on the Iron Curtain’s door and opened it. That’s no myth!



Lt. Col. John Woodward

U.S. Army (Ret.)

Marietta
Comments
(9)
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Kevin Foley
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April 21, 2013
@ Papermill gal - If you read my original column, then you know I made most all of these points in explaining why Reagan and Thatcher had very little to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Papermill gal
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April 22, 2013
To the contrary, Kevin, they had everything to do with it.

Had a wimp like Obama or Carter been in the office at the time, the communists would likely have made great gains into our country's affairs and gotten the upper hand on information such as with Star Wars. They'd have used that as their rallying point....made it their priority...and history would have been completely different. Instead, Reagan and Thatcher completely shut them down while appealing to their higher survival mentalities and allowed moderates like Gorby to come to power. Your understanding of how this all occurred is not based in reality.
Kevin Foley
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April 23, 2013
@Papermill gal - Please read my column Friday. And don't stop simply because you disagree with my thesis. I wrote it with misinformed folks like you in mind. The first step in recovering from conservative Kool Aid addiction is to admit you have a problem. I'm just here to help guide you ;-)
Nettie Helen Stemm
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April 18, 2013
Kevin, as always you are short on facts and long on accusations. Reagan served on active duty for 3 years. His acute near-sightedness disqualified him from service overseas. He did not avoid combat as you charge.

Reagan, like every other member of the Armed Services, served where the military thought he could do the most good. He did not "stay in Hollywood", as you assert. And whereever he served was at the convenience of the Army and not himself.

Quit taking all the liberal propsganda as gospel. Check out a few things. Then, maybe,you won't make a fool of yourself every time you write something.
George Middleton
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April 18, 2013
Foley, you said "Soldiers shouldn't get caught up in political posturing of politicians."

I aubmit, neither should clueless would be journalists who were still leaving yellow stains in their diapers when the Cold War was gong on.

Get off it, Foley, A historian you are not and a respectable columnist you will probably never be.
Kevin Foley
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April 18, 2013
Dear Lt. Col. Woodward - Thanks for your service and your thoughts.

The NATO forces were in Western Europe long before Reagan took office. If the Army was "hollow," the Soviets would have made their move. But they didn't because the NATO forces weren't hollow. In fact, the Soviets were pretty much a toothless bear after Kennedy backed them down in 1962.

Soldiers shouldn't get caught up in political posturing of politicians like Reagan who, during WWII, avoided combat and stayed in Hollywood to make military training movies like "Use Protection When You Go Ashore".
AmericanMale
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April 18, 2013
Kevin, though you open in a magnanimous way by thanking the Lt. Col. for his service, you immediately launched into personal attack on President Reagan.

It is pretty well known that President Reagan signed up with the Army, hardly an act of someone who wanted to avoid combat. When he was deemed medically unfit for front line combat (eyesight?), THE ARMY assigned him to making PR films, using his prior skills to good use. And, your pitiful attempt to deride his character by highlighting a film you deem embarrassing simply highlights your own shortfall in character.
Papermill gal
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April 19, 2013
While you were learning to work a camera, Kev, things were happening in the world. The Soviets did not make their move because of their involvement in Afghanistan. Soviet military forces were starving, their govt barely made payroll. Reagan and Thatcher squeezed them and kept up the Cold War on all fronts, economic, with Star Wars, with missiles deployed and for morale, in Poland with the Solidarity movement, a great psychological victory along with the Berlin Wall falling. Our forces were hollow after Carter, and our Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force was a defensive plan that might have worked, but everyone knew it probably could not have kept Soviet tanks from rolling into western Europe alone. Reagan and Thatcher did not back down, again. They put pressure, Reagan befriended Gorbachev and the old KGBers like Putins buddies were marginalized. Obama has allowed them to re-emerge, likely because he secretly believes in communism. Period.
Samuel Adams
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April 18, 2013
Foley was probably smoking dope at some northeastern froufrou college while you were serving, colonel. Poor guy thought he was taking part in history when he was one of the two liberals on his campus, scratching things about El Salvador into the student union bathroom stall.

Great letter. Go Reagan, go Thatcher. Godspeed.
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