Trogan Horse (Vol. 47, Issue 3)
Some weeks ago, President Reagan was interviewed by the editor of a magazine known as “Pacific Monthly.” The President was under the impression that the entire conversation was off the record. It wasn’t.
Q. How have you been feeling, Mr. President?
Reagan: Oh, I’m just fine, I've been relaxing a lot, and getting plenty of sleep. You know, when I first took this job, people warned me about the pressures, and the long working days, but luckily, I haven't had any problem with either of those.
Q. But sir, what about the international incidents you've had to deal with so far in your administration, such as the Libyan dogfight and the death of Anwar Sadat?
Reagan: Well, as to the first one, I'll tell you a little secret ... uh, this is off the record, right?
Q. Certainly, sir.
Reagan: Okay. About two days before the dogfight, Caspar took me on a tour of our Strategic Air Command Headquarters, and showed me the plan for our naval exercises off the North African coast. But then he told me we wouldn’t be able to carry on any simulated land invasions. I wasn't about to stand for that. Look at the great American history of land invasions, Normandy, Anzio, Puerto Rico. So I told Cap’ point blank — I want an invasion somewhere. I could see that he looked a little confused, so I stuck a pin in the map, and told one of the generals to invade there the next night. Unfortunately, all they could come up with was a dogfight with the Libyans. Those Pentagon guys have forgotten how much fun a good land war can be.
Q. What about the assassination of President Sadat, and the effect it will have on our relations with Israel?
Reagan: Well, one of these days, Alexander and I are simply going to have to sit down and discuss that whole mess out there in the Mideast. But listen, I'm sure the regime of President Muma ... Muka...
Reagan: Right, Mubarak ... will remain stable. After all, we just sold his country those five AWAC’s, and I'm sure that will keep him out of trouble for a while.
Q. But Mr. President, the AWAC’s were sold to Saudi Arabia.
Reagan: Well, that won't matter. I plan to smooth things over with Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion as soon as possible.
Q. Mr. Reagan, Ben-Gurion died about ten years ago.
Reagan: Gee. When he came to Washington a few weeks ago, I thought he looked a little pale.
Q. No, Mr, President, that was the new Premier — Menachem Begin.
Reagan: Another one? That's the trouble with Parliamentary governments — no stability.
Q. If I may change the subject, President Reagan, I'd like to discuss the economy. Why don’t you accept the resignation of your budget director — David Stockman — who said publicly that your tax cut would only benefit the rich...
Reagan: Well, I'd like to set the record straight on that whole nasty situation. It seems that David was putting in some very long hours over at OMB, and them strain started to get to him. One day, he simply cracked, and began to tell the truth. But I had a long talk with him, and he assured me that would never happen again.
Q. Mr. President, recently you made some hard decisions on military policy. Could you give
us your views on the defense of the United States?
Reagan: No question about it, I'm for it. According to Caspar, we've got too much butter and not enough guns. Now that we're chopping all the dead weight out of our economy — like school lunches, welfare, and programs for the elderly and handicapped — We can really get going on some serious missile building,
Q. You support the B-1 bomber, which was scrapped some years ago after the conclusion that it couldn't penetrate Soviet air defenses...
Reagan: Look, everything has a weak spot. But if we don’t start um... if we don’t start winnowing our vulnerability . . . we'll be knee deep in our own rubble, pilgrim!
Q. You decided to kill the idea of a “shell game” MX system. Why?
Reagan: I'll tell you. I was in a movie once with Ingrid Bergman, Or was it Mae West? Anyhow, I played a boxer. This boxer was one of the best because no one could catch up with him in the ring. He always won, hut nobody really feared him. Don't you see, a shuttling MX would be the same kind of thing. Sure, we might avoid a nuclear war for a little longer, but no one would be scared of us. I’d rather send a direct message to Red City — “Go ahead, Comrade, take your ‘best shot. We'll be here.”
Q. You've said that you believe it’s possible to fight a limited nuclear war.
Reagan: Yes, I believe nuclear war is highly overrated. We've never even had one. How can we know for sure that it’s so terrible?
Q. Mr. President, do you, feel that we have sufficient energy resources to...
Reagan: I'm sorry, I've really got to go. It’s time for my afternoon nap.