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Back to the Future

10:31 AM, Dec 19, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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The "scary" theme of today's piece by Richard Cohen is an old one for the Washington Post columnist. Cohen, who supported the invasion of Iraq, penned many columns on the "militant mood" that ushered Reagan into power and the "scary" policies the president pursued with the Soviets, on nuclear weapons and SDI, and in Central America. Here's a taste from a March 23, 1982 column, "The Bomb":

In the car the other day, my son started to talk about nuclear war. He thinks it's a possibility, and since he is young and does not want to die young he considers nuclear war "unfair." It is his favorite word, but there is for the moment, none better….

Ronald Reagan and Alexander Haig and Caspar Weinberger, with their talk of limited nuclear war and firing nuclear warning shots, their tough rhetoric and their incessant military posturing, have given the whole country the willies. They seem to have doused hope, made you wonder why you thought in the first place that things were getting better -- that nuclear war could not happen….

All this has revived and exacerbated fears about Ronald Reagan that came out during the presidential campaign. Now, suddenly, little kids talk of nuclear war in their own way and lawyers in theirs. Mothers organize and the New England towns meet and the reason is that something has gone dreadfully wrong. Ronald Reagan set out to scare the Russians, but he's scared us instead.

Some things never change.