Iran Contra: 30 Years Later

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In July 1987, a patriot testified before Congress about what is now known as the Iran-Contra Affair.  The witness completely turned the tables on his critics and, in doing so, the America he desperately loved fell in love with him.  That once obscure Marine Corps Lt. Col. was Oliver L. North.

Iran Contra started, essentially, from a decline in American power and influence.  After the loss of South Vietnam in 1975 and the Islamic radicals storming the United States embassy in Tehran in 1979, many thought America’s best days were behind it.  Then came President Reagan who faced the twin crisis of Americans being held as hostages in Iran and the Soviets trying to establish a communist government in the Central American nation of Nicaragua.  President Reagan was disturbed by each development.  Congress did not help.  Just as they failed to fund South Vietnam after North Vietnam broke the Paris Peace Agreements, Congress did not want another so-called Vietnam and prohibited U.S. intelligence agencies from providing support for the Contras fighting against the communists in Central America.

President Reagan, in one of his few mistakes, authorized arms sales to Iran in an effort to obtain the release of the hostages.  Reagan did nothing to benefit himself, his administration, or any election.  He was absolutely torn by the hostages and the idea that America was not able to secure their release hurt him deeply.

Enter Lt. Col. Oliver North.  Oliver North was already a hero by the time he was detailed to the National Security Council (NSC) in 1981.  He was a recipient of the Silver Star and received the Purple Heart after being wounded in Vietnam.  North’s determination was evident when he repeated his first year of the Naval Academy after being a passenger in a tragic car wreck that nearly killed him.  He came back, not only graduating but also winning a boxing match against future Senator Jim Webb that is still talked about at the Academy.

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