History: November 21, 1986: Do As I Say, Not As I Do (The Hypocrisy of the Reagan Administration)

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A Brief History

On November 21, 1986, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North, a member of the National Security Council of the Ronald Reagan administration, was busy shredding documents, destroying evidence of criminal activity of the Reagan administration as part of the Iran-Contra Affair.

Digging Deeper

North was assisted by his comely secretary, the auspiciously named Fawn Hall, who later traded immunity from prosecution for testimony against North.  Of course, Hall realized that the shredding of documents was illegal, evidenced by her statement that, “Sometimes you have to go above the law.”  This statement was exactly the sort of rationalizing that characterized the attitude of the Ronald Reagan presidency, in this case, dealing with Iranian terrorists and illegal Nicaraguan rebels.

Reagan was a blustering macho cowboy as president, putting on a front of strength and resolve against a scary world full of communists and terrorists.  A major part of his foreign policy dogma was the line, “You don’t negotiate with terrorists.”   Well, apparently he did.

Reagan has long been suspected of making a deal with Iran to continue to hold American hostages (taken in the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran) until after President Carter left office in January of 1981, at which time the hostages would be released.  Not officially proven, this allegation becomes believable when the following events transpired.

More American hostages were taken during the Reagan presidency, this time in Lebanon.  The Reagan administration worked secretly to make a deal with Iran to provide Iran with Hawk anti-aircraft missiles and TOW anti-tank missiles in exchange for Iran to intercede on behalf of the US to get their lackeys in Lebanon to release the American hostages.  The plan was to have Israel (Wha‘!) provide the weapons to Iran, and then buy replacements from the US.  Iran would pay Israel, Israel would pay the US, and the CIA under direction from the Reagan administration would provide funding (with the profits) to the Contra rebels of Nicaragua, a group Congress had forbidden the government from supporting.

The phony patriot, law and order Reagan and his administration went into denial mode, of course, and then when confronted with the facts created a wall of evidence destruction and insisting on keeping documents necessary for prosecution of government officials classified secret.  Reagan was insulated from direct implication, although plenty of reason exists to believe he was well aware of the illegal activities.  Despite efforts to prevent prosecution of administration officials, 14 administration officials were eventually indicted in conjunction with the support of the Contras (but not the Iranian arms sales), and 11 convictions were obtained.  All the convictions were either later reversed or pardoned by President George HW Bush at the end of his term as president.  Bush had been Vice President under Reagan, and may well have been complicit himself.  He was, after all, a former CIA Director.

The Iran-Contra Affair is just the tip of the iceberg of the hypocrisy of the Reagan presidency, where law and order and moral high ground gave way to expediency on a regular basis.  What other examples of this hypocrisy can you think of to share with us?

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power (Hardcover)


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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.