Ghosts of 1986

From US sales of arms to Iran to fund a secret Latin American war and the bombing of Libya to the Challenger and Chernobyl disasters, the ghosts of 1986 haunt us still.

north
NORTH

News broke in November that a Reagan White House aide named Oliver North had cooked up the idea to sell arms to Iran and use the proceeds to fund a CIA-directed secret war against the revolutionary Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

“I thought it was a neat idea,” North said.

ortega
ORTEGA

Then-Sandinista president Daniel Ortega again rules Nicaragua.


murdoch
MURDOCH

Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch launched Fox Broadcasting Co. on Oct. 8.

Fox now dominates the public conversation and leads ratings markets across the country.


goingpostal
SHERILL

Postal employee Patrick Henry Sherrill in effect invented the phrase “going postal.” Although he didn’t coin the phrase while he was alive.

He did it by shooting to death 14 co-workers and wounding six before committing suicide in Edmond, Okla., on Aug. 20.

Mass shootings are now a matter of near-daily occurrence in the US.


chernobyl
CHERNOBYL

The Vladimir Ilyich Lenin nuclear plant in the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine killed at least 4,056 people in the Chernobyl disaster of April 26.

The near-meltdown may  ultimately kill 100,000 lives or more, according to estimates.


libya
GADHAFI

That same month, US planes bombed the Libyan capital and Benghazi region on April 15, killing 15.

Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi has been dead for almost five years.

But the chaos in Libya and the rest of the Arab world is seen today as the cause of Europe’s worst migrant crisis since WWII.


babydoc

DUVALIER

Speaking of evil dictators … Baby Doc Duvalier fled Haiti on Feb. 7, 1986, ending 28 years of family rule, leaving behind an essentially failed state.

Today Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere—an ignominious fate for a former slave nation that was the first in world history to rise up and achieve liberation from its French colonial overlords.


challenger
USS CHALLENGER

The Challenger space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after launch, killing seven astronauts on January 28.

Since 2011, no US space shuttle has left the ground.

Indeed, the US has largely outsourced a space program that put the first man on the Moon. To whom? Our former Space Race adversaries the Russians, and to Silicon Valley billionaires.

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