Hostages

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"Hostages"

Rudy Giuliani’s latest ad is really one of the most breathtakingly dishonest things I’ve seen in quite some time. Here’s the text:

I remember back to the 1970s and the early 1980s. Iranian mullahs took American hostages, and they held the American hostages for 444 days. And they released the American hostages in one hour, and that should tell us a lot about these Islamic terrorists that we’re facing. The one hour in which they released them was the one hour in which Ronald Reagan was taking the oath of office as president of the United States. The best way you deal with dictators, the best way you deal with tyrants and terrorists, you stand up to them. You don’t back down. I’m Rudy Giuliani, and I approve this message.

That’s not what happened. At all. Rather, as the New York Times notes “the complex deal that led to their release was brokered by President Jimmy Carter’s administration. The hostages were released because the United States agreed to return nearly $8 billion in frozen assets to Iran, most of which Iran used to pay off foreign creditors.” This then laid the groundwork for the Reagan administration’s later policy of selling weapons to Iran in exchange for their assistance in getting hostages freed. This thing where Reagan’s steely determination scared the Iranians into backing down never happened.

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