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Friday, June 11, 2004
I know that the former President, Ronald Reagan wasn't fully responsible for the downfall of the Soviet empire but he did have a role in its demise. I would like to tell you about another major event that Reagan also played a small but important part in.
This Reagan accomplishment isn't nearly as well known but extremely important none the less, since it has to do with saving many lives in the Middle East and possibly beyond. The event I'm talking about is the destruction of Saddam Hussein's Osirak nuclear reactor at al-Tawaitha, that was accomplished by the Israelis in the early eighties.
During the Carter administration the Israelis only had restricted access to America's top secret satellite, the KH-11. Carter only let the Israelis use the detailed imagery from the KH-11 for defensive purposes, by tracking Eygptian, Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese military movements within 100 miles of Israel's border. Surveillance photos of the entire Middle East and especially as far away as Iraq was out of the question and not available to Israel.
When Reagan came into office, this all changed. Reagan and then CIA director Casey were far more sympathetic to Israel than Carter ever was.They allowed the Israelis more access to the KH-11's real-time imagery than Carter ever had.
Up until Reagan took office, Israel only had ground level photos of the Osirak reactor, which had been smuggled out of Iraq by Mossad agents at great risk. The overhead imagery provided by Reagan played a key role in the decision making process of the Israelis, who had been debating if they should attack the reactor for some time before the photos were made available to them by the Americans. Destroying the reactor by air was extremely difficult and the photos proved to be very valuable to the success of the historic operation.
Who knows what kind of damage Saddam would have done had he been armed with nuclear weapons? He may have used them in attacks against Israel, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia or anybody else who stood in the way of Saddam's dream of controlling the entire Middle East. Who knows how many people would have died in his quest? It just goes to show how important the Israeli mission was, with or without knowing at the time, Reagan helped save many, many lives.
Most of the credit should go to the Israelis for the daring raid, but Reagan did supply the F-16's and the vital imagery the Israelis needed to pull it off. Much the same as his role with regards to the Soviet empire, Reagan played a small but vital role in the overall success of this world changing event. You have to give credit where credit is due and Reagan did more good than most, that's what Reagan should be remembered for.
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