Correction: The Terrorist Refused to ‘Pal Around’ With Reagan.

I made a mistake and rush to correct it. The photo of the Afghan mujahadin does not include Gulbuddin Hekmatyar because, contrary to my contention in this post, he did not meet with Ronald Reagan in the White House. It was not for lack of an invitation, however. In fact, it was Hekmatyar who spurned the White House’s invitation.

Hekmatyar came to the U.S. in 1985 as part of a delegation of mujahadin leaders to lobby diplomats at the U.N. General Assembly. Despite enormous pressure by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which channeled a disproportionate amount of CIA and Saudi covert aid to him, Hekmatyar reportedly refused to meet with Reagan, arguing that any “palling around” with the leader of the Free World would be used by the Soviet Union and the Afghan secret police, the KHAD, to discredit his nationalist and religious credentials.

This doesn’t undermine the central point of the post, however: Reagan had intended to publicly meet with and presumably praise Hekmatyar as a “freedom fighter” — the moniker he used to describe the mujahadin depicted in the photo — at the White House and had invited him there for that purpose. But it was Hekmatyar, whose use of terrorism over more than three decades is undisputed, who turned Reagan down.

A propos, did anyone notice the elevation (due in major part to pressure from western embassies in Kabul, according to the New York Times) of a former KHAD special forces officer, Hanif Atmar, to head the Interior Ministry under President Hamid Karzai? What goes around comes around; one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. In any event, I apologize for the mistaken identity.

Author: Jim Lobe

Visit Lobelog.com for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service's Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

  • Isn’t this just beautiful? One of the biggest phonies to occupy the White House is meeting with a bunch of religious fanatics who despise freedom and everything freedom means. And they have the gall to do it in front of a picture of George Washington. I don’t know if anything regarding Reagan has made me feel more sick.

    • Andy

      The real question is what would George Washington think of U.S. foreign policy that has brought this all to be? Didn’t his farewell address say something about America minding its own business?

      • liberal

        Yes, I think it was Washington’s farewell address.

        That speech, and some speech or sayings by John Quincy Adams, sum up what America’s foreign policy should be.

    • Hrebeljanovic

      What exactly “freedom” is for you Chris? What exactly expression “everything freedom means” is in your opinion? When someone tosses around that word casually I hear the lyrics by K.K.: “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose”.

  • manzerm

    After they did all the work for us and kicked the Soviets out you are branding them as terrorists and religious fanatics. What a shame! Both Hikmatyar and Haqqani were offerred the highest office in Afghanistan even by the current Bush adninistration, but they refused. Would you say that Bush was palling around with the terrorists?

    • Andy

      Guess it all depends on how you define “terrorism”. If the British had won the revolutionary war Washington would have been hanged for treason to the crown, quite a different fate then his historical end. Was the bombing of Dresden not terrorism?

      • Hrebeljanovic

        Straight answer to your Q: no, no and no! Stop mentioning Dresden because Germans earned that bombing and then some by their SS troops barbaric, ruthless and bestial actions around Europe(not to mention them gassing innocent humans). “Oh, poor Dresden” is a revisionary history purported by Nazi fascist lovers around the world.

  • Eugene Costa

    Say what one will about the economic fine points (I personally am syncretist) of “Socialism”, Hugo Chavez is quite clear who the terrorists are and who should be prosecuted for War Crimes:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXQfnTjcXlk

    On the crimes of George Bush, mightn’t it be time for Congressman Paul to take a hint at last?

    In this talk in London, Chavez is quite eloquent, including on the subject of who are the true Christians, as opposed to the Pat Robertsons of the world.

  • Will Blalock

    Are you saying that Hekmatyar was unwilling
    to negotiate with terrorists?

    @Costa
    Speaking of Chavez, isn’t he the dirty commie
    that nationalized his country’s oil industry?

    Ha! Who needs oil companies when you have the banks?
    But poor GW. After having pulled off the greatest
    heist in history he was duped into handing it all
    over to underlings that are now gufawing up their sleeves.

    What a boob.

    Bush could have been the world’s first trillionaire.
    Instead, Paulson gets the title.
    (Face it folks, it’s HIS money now.)

    • Eugene Costa

      You are a simple-minded ideologue, Blalock.

      Chavez is an extremely intelligent man, and knows what he means when he calls himself a Socialist rather than a Communist.

      In fact, the more sensible oil executives are quite happy with Chavez for the nonce, because they realize the alternative, which you apparently don’t.

      US oil will be nationalized sooner of later, and not for ideological reasons.

      It would certainly have been more efficeint to do that than to hand $700 billion to Paulson.

      There is no other choice except complete disaster.

      Chavez has reservoirs of thought and “conservatism” a simple-minded, go-for-the-gold naif like Paul, Bbile and Locke in hand, cannot even grasp

      Watch the video over and over, you may get an inkling of it once you get over your White Man’s Burden ethnocentrism, hombre.

      By the way, Chaavez is still subsidizing US oil imports. But, depending on the game, perhaps not for very much longer.

      I would retail to you a conversation about “Communism” in Vietnam I had in the mid-60’s but it would be over your head I suspect.

    • Eugene Costa

      Incidentally, as will become clear soon enough, oil is much more reliable an investment than bank

      It is an illness of the Capitalist to believe that “money and investment” is actually productive, rather than parasitic.

      And however some of the more idealistic of the Libertarian “free marketers” try to avoid it, Paulson and Bernanke and so forth are the essence of Capitalists, who always buy the state wherever it is buyable.

      Free enterprise and “Capitalism” are two utterly different kettles of fish.

      • richard vajs

        Eugene,
        I have been a Libertarian for a long time. But, I am beginning to believe that I may have bought into a real line of crap. Libertarians generally believe that rich people are harder working (and hence more virtuous) than the poor. But, what if you have a clever, hard working, rich sociopath? Is he better than a stupid, lazy, poor sociopath? Probably not for the simple reason that the clever, hard working, rich sociopath can and does do infinitely more damage than his poorer less ambitious brother. I now realize how shallow Ayn Rand’s worldview was. All of those highly capable, principled capitalists in Galt’s Gulch and not a one of them was a greedy, lying, cheating bastard. Try finding that same distribution of character on Wall Street.

        • Lester Ness

          I must agree with you, Vajs.

          Lester Ness
          Kunming
          China

  • Will Blalock

    @Eugene
    You obviously missed my facetious intent in the comment about Chavez.
    I guess it was over your head or perhaps beyond your fascist sense
    of humor which incidentally is the first casualty of hubris.

    Get over yourself.

  • Tim R.

    The fact that Ronald Reagan met with the Taliban is a disgrace. No doubt about it. However, we must remember that at the time Reagan viewed the Soviet Union as an existential threat to the United States. The Taliban were fighting the Soviets (who had invaded their country lest we forget) and I suppose Reagan was following the dictum that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Nevertheless, I find that photograph to be disgusting. I don't care if its Reagan, Clinton, Bush or anybody else–the White House should not play host to ruthless barbarians like the Taliban, the Saudi Royal family or anyone of their ilk.

    • Lester Ness

      The Taliban as such did not exist at that time. It came into existence later, after the Soviets were driven out. Reagan’s guests were anti-soviet allies.

      Lester Ness
      Kunming
      China

  • Lear K

    Or the barbarians Israelis who at that time under the confessed terrorists Manchem Begin and Sharon were turninning most of Lebnanon and espacially Beirut into ghost town of destruction and death.

  • Lear K

    Sabra and Shatila massacre

    “The Sabra and Shatila massacre (or Sabra and Chatila massacre; Arabic: مذبحة صبرا وشاتيلا) was a massacre carried out between the 15 and 16 September 1982 by the Lebanese Forces militia group. It is alleged that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) allowed Lebanese Christian Phalangist militiamen to enter two Palestinian refugee camps, and that the militia massacred civilians inside. It was argued that the Israelis should have known that a massacre could occur, considering the assassination of Phalangist leader and prospective president Bachir Gemayel the day before, and given the long history of bad blood between the Palestinians and the Phalangists.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabra_and_Shatila_massacre

  • swan

    Hey, Israel is a mortal enemy of the USA, or what it has left us.

  • Isn't this just beautiful? One of the biggest phonies to occupy the White House is meeting with a bunch of religious fanatics who despise freedom and everything freedom means. And they have the gall to do it in front of a picture of George Washington. I don't know if anything regarding Reagan has made me feel more sick.