(Sen. John Tower . . . more or less)
The Reagan years saw Americas fair share of military excursions overseas. Between a disastrous stay in Lebanon, an invasion of the island of Grenada, the ongoing skirmishes with Libya, our clandestine involvement in Nicaragua and El Salvador - the list is pretty endless. All were done under the veil of the Cold War - the eternal "good fight" against Communist insurgency throughout the world. But more and more the real motives were being revealed and they had more to do with sources of raw materials (i.e. oil) than they did with Moscow. Russia was knee-deep in their own Afghanistan, and we were busy supplying arms to the Mujahadeen (i.e. Taliban) - but our "tinkering in internal affairs" was the subtext, while the Media attention was drawn to the splashier pictures - Mohammar Khadafi, Yuri Andropov and the Evil Empire. CBS News program Face The Nation had a panel featuring Senator John Tower (R-Texas), Chairman of The Senate Armed Services Committee discussing our latest set of situations and our Foreign Policy on August 7, 1983.
Sen. John Tower: “I think it should be understood that the United States is committed to the protection of its vital interests abroad . . . we don’t want to find ourselves more or less isolated in this world from important sources of raw materials.”
George Herman (CBS News): “Are you concerned at all about the issue of legitimacy, for example the side that we are supporting, that of President Hissene Habre` is a government which took over and forced out the previous President whose name was Goukouni Queddei, as I recall. So that we are really supporting rebels or insurgents ore revolutionaries against what was a legitimate government . . . .”
Tower: “The fact is, that is the recognized government of Chad. It is the government that is accredited to various capitals throughout the world. It is the government that is recognized by the Organization of African States.”
Herman: “But it’s a civil war, shouldn’t we . . . .?”
Tower: “I understand that . . but the point is, not involvement in the civil war, but . . trying to prevent the intrusion of others in the civil war and turning it to their own uses. Don’t think that Colonel Khadifi has any great philosophical notions about who should be in charge in Chad. Colonel Khadafi would like to be the dominant influence in Chad. And the implications for other African states and the implications for the United States and Western Europe and our interests there are very obvious to me . . . “
Eventually the lid would be blown off the Iran-Contra affair, but in 1983 it was Business As Usual.