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Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies...

I've always been a World War II buff, and I have always loved the movie "Patton." Right now on Fox News, "Oliver North's War Stories" is featuring the invasion of Sicily during World War II.

It's a fascinating program, and it's moving to see and hear actual veterans of the invasion talking, in between historians and historical footage.

But there's one thing that bothers me -- Oliver North. He does a fine job of hosting the show, but I still remember him from the Iran-Contra scandal. And to the day he dies, no matter what else he does in his life, he'll always be the United States Marine Colonel who, in full uniform, raised his hand, swore to tell the truth, and then lied. I'll never stop seeing him as the man who violated his oath to protect and defend the Constitution -- and was proud of it.

Yes, the whole Iran-Contra investigation was a cesspool of petty partisan squabbling, a purely political scandal -- but to me, that doesn't excuse what North did. To me, lying under oath is wrong. I don't care if you're Oliver North lying to Congress to cover up the details of the Iran-Contra scandal or Bill Clinton lying about his affair with Monical Lewinsky -- perjury is perjury. And when one is a Marine, sworn to uphold the Constitution, lying to a legal inquiry by Congress should be a grave matter.

But North wears his perjury as a badge of honor, and has built his entire post-service career upon it. And it grates on me still.


Comments (42)

I have mixed feelings about... (Below threshold)
Remy Logan:

I have mixed feelings about Ollie, but ultimately I agree with you. I also feel the same way about Newt Gingrich. Newt did a lot of good work, but in the end he is the demagogue who was boinking his secretary on the desk.

With all due respect, Jay:<... (Below threshold)

With all due respect, Jay:

North did NOT violate the Constitution or his oath; he broke the law. Perjury is a criminal offense, not a constitutional one.

North lied to a Congress which HAD (in a way)violated the Constitution, and he lied to Congressmen - who had broken their oath?! HOW

The law to end all support for the Contras served the USSR, NOT THE USA!

Reagan did violate the Constitution when he undertook to support the Contras in spite of the law passed by Congress. Reagan could have been impeached by the House, but wasn't. North deserves some oif the credit for preventing that impeachjment: he and Poindexter fell on the sword for Reagan - who - MORE THAN ANY OTHER PRESIDENT - defeated the USSR and communism, and freed mankind from the constant threat of a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR.

helping the Contras was central and essential to Reagan's anti-USSR efforts - which succeedded and freed 500,000,000 people. That's more than GWBush - so far, and a lofty LOFTY achievement.

North was and remains a Patriot.

You might want to compare b... (Below threshold)
robert Wray:

You might want to compare being sworn to uphold the Constitution and the oath to defend the nation as opposed to lying to Congress. Remember the sleazy rider to an appropriation bill that was at the root of the Iran-Contra issue? The truth in this case isn't as black and white as your holier-than-thou attitude would suggest.

I have the same problem wit... (Below threshold)

I have the same problem with him, Jay Tea.

And, Robert, I am old enough to remember Tehran before the Ayatollah (I had friends there who had to flee). ANYTHING supporting his regime, in any way, was purely disgusting, no matter who did it.

I give North a pass where I... (Below threshold)

I give North a pass where I wouldn't give Clinton one: North underwent an actual trial. What the Senate staged for Clinton after his impeachment, was a song-and-dance with a pre-determined ending.

Woahhhhh I hear a whole lot... (Below threshold)

Woahhhhh I hear a whole lotta rationalization goin on.

Robert, truth is hardly ever black and white --- especially in politics....And Jay offered that his feelings were mixed, so drop the "holier-than-thou-attitude" crap. The oath is also to uphold the laws of the United States --- not to uphold those except the ones enacted by a hostile Congress.

Realipundit hits closer to the mark that makes us squirm... that North deliberately lied to Congress to protect his President against the mendacity of the Congressional democratic majority. But what sort of damage do we do to the fabric of our system when we justify overtly illegal acts because they serve our own sense of political right and wrong?

I am not sorry North did what he did, and I am not sorry he got away with it. But I am damn glad that he did not (save for Clinton's own diabolical performance) establish a precedent. As much as I pray against it, some day in the future the party-in-power of either the White House or Congress will have changed, and our rationalization of this episode will not fit the shoe on the other foot so well.

But Jay, Fleetwood Mac fan ... (Below threshold)

But Jay, Fleetwood Mac fan that you apparently are, have you forgiven Clinton for appropriating "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)?

I have the same problem ... (Below threshold)

I have the same problem with him, Jay Tea.

And, Robert, I am old enough to remember Tehran before the Ayatollah (I had friends there who had to flee). ANYTHING supporting his regime, in any way, was purely disgusting, no matter who did it.

This was the clincher in my write off of the MSM at the time. You see, the "Iran-Contra Affair" or "Iran-Contra Scandal" was initially referred to as the "Contra Scandal". This was because the dealings with the contras was the illegal part. However, this had no teeth with the public. The politically motivated hearings would have died much sooner. But by adding "Iran" to the name, they got the publics interest.

As was mentioned before, the whole thing was based a rider bill that was overlooked and likely to have been stopped if the Reagan Administration had realized it was there. That rider was valid for a whole 3 weeks. What North did before & after those weeks was completely legitimate, but doing it those 3 weeks made it a violation.

It's very hard for me to ho... (Below threshold)

It's very hard for me to hold it against someone when they choose to lie to congress for whatever reason. Most congressmen and senators have based their entire careers on lying to us. Having John aka Magic Hat Kerry (DuMass) question the integrity of any person that contributes to his paycheck is laughable. The same goes for many of them, but some others that really stick in my throat are Ted Kennedy commenting on John Tower's drinking and womanizing during confirmation hearings for SECDEF, or Barabra Boxer calling Condaleeza Rice a liar during her hearings. The whole purpose of holding elections is to ensure that we send our best and brightest to D.C. to represent us, instead we get something sustantially less in too many cases, and they getting sent back. I've never been able to figure out it we've based our congress of the last 40 years on the U.N. or the U.N. is basing itself on our congress.

Let's ignore the man's back... (Below threshold)

Let's ignore the man's backstory and any political leanings he had and has.

The man did something illegal, even bordering on treason, to give an enemy country weapons, simply because he was told to - because he decided to do nothing but follow orders. The man admitted to lying under oath. He was then given a show trial (and what else can you call it when he didn't even get hit with perjury, but instead just 'destruction of documents'), and a kiddy penalty, 3 years for 3 felony charges.

Screw the idea of partisan squabbalings. The only thing you can do for this sod is rationalize that all his actions were simply done because he was told to, and that the people who told him were only interested in the greater good.

I dunno about you, but that sounds like the main reason I don't vote Democrat and didn't see the Empire as the good side in Star Wars.

The only good thing the man did was finally fall to guilt, but even there, he's since earned greatly from it.

He is himself good or evil? To be honest, I don't feel like judging him, or even caring, but to insist that he DID good in the past would be to fly full in face of the facts and his own view of his actions.

I was in high school at the... (Below threshold)

I was in high school at the time, so forgive me if I do not have all the details on the tip of my brain...but didn't Ollie go before Congress and take the fall for Reagan? He testified that he was the one who authorized the deal.

What lie, exactly, did he tell? I am not being a smartass, I just want to know what lie you are so upset about.

From what I understand of t... (Below threshold)

From what I understand of the event, Oliver North lied about where the proceeds from the shipment of weapons went.

Not particularly useful, or shaping of the scandal, particularly when compared to some of the other players, but because of his position and his work shredding some documents related to the scandal, he became more and more a symbol of the events.

The title sounds sexy as al... (Below threshold)

The title sounds sexy as all get out. Now let me read it. :-)

Aha, gotcha. The only reason I do not watch that program is because of Oliver North. I'll never forget his standing in front of Congressional committee, swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and lied through his teeth. It's a great show but not him as the host.

I didn't have to finish what you wrote, Jay, to agree with you and I wrote the above before even reading the post. I agree - get another host.


JOHN:"This was because t... (Below threshold)

JOHN:"This was because the dealings with the contras was the illegal part."

At that time, it was illegal to deal with Iran. Remember our embassy?

BULLWINKLE:"Barabra Boxe... (Below threshold)

BULLWINKLE:"Barabra Boxer calling Condaleeza Rice a liar during her hearings."

Rice was given an extensive warning about Al-Queda, complete with action plans, yet lied about it.

wavemaker wrote:"B... (Below threshold)

wavemaker wrote:

"But what sort of damage do we do to the fabric of our system when we justify overtly illegal acts because they serve our own sense of political right and wrong?"

This smacks of moral relativism.

The USSR was evil because it sytematically denied 500,000,000 people of their inalienable human rights - and threatened the entire world with a nuclear holocaust. The Soviets created the most awful society ever, with more gulags, and more toxic waste sites and more corruption than any other society in human history.

If your sense of morality cannot condemn the USSR - and accept that they were THE EVIL EMPIRE, exactly as reagan said they were - then your sense of mortality is useless.

I'll go further, your sense of morality is in fact not morality at all but amorality, and amorality in a world where immorality and morality are in mortal combat is immoral!

North broke the law - but did so to protect a mission which violated another law (The Boland Amendment) which was immoral and anti-libertairan, anti-American, and anti-humane. The Boland Amendment was - in effect -a capitulation to the USSR, and a reversal of the Monroe Doctrine.

Wikipedia --- The Boland Amendment prohibited the federal government from providing military support "for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of Nicaragua." Aimed to prevent CIA funding of rebels opposed to the then Marxist elected government of Nicaragua, the Boland Amendment sought to block Reagan administration support for the Contra rebels. The amendment, however, was narrowly interpreted by the Reagan administration only to apply to U. S. intelligence agencies, allowing the National Security Council, not so labeled, to channel funds to the Contra rebels. ---

Supporting ther Contras was essential to defeating ther USSR--- it began to turn the tide, as did Grenada. The Contras were to the USSR what the Iraq War is too Arab tryanny: an essential fulcrum, a turning point. Or, to use 21st century jargon: a tipping point.

North was a perjurer, but his perjury - and nmore impoprtantly his efforts to aid the Contras - was HEROIC.

Support for the contras was... (Below threshold)

Support for the contras was about as necessary for the downfall of the USSR as Nickelback is for pop culture. You can draw a tenuous link if you want, but if you think hard about it, pretty much any other group could have done the job, if it needed to be done at all.

The contras were an easy way to get a goal done, but a way that shouldn't have been taken. Regardless of whether you believe it is morally acceptable to violate your own views of acceptable conduct to support a group which violates your own views of acceptable conduct, just to get rid of another group which you don't like, it is not currently a part of your country's viewpoint of 'right'.

Terrorists groups like those we currently have to go through airport security four or five times exist because long ago a bunch of different countries though it would be the easy way to get a goal done. Regardless of whether or not it even completed the goal, it was not the right thing to do and lead to results none of the countries (excluding the french) would find palatable.

SteveJ. "Rice was given a... (Below threshold)

SteveJ. "Rice was given an extensive warning about Al-Qaeda, complete with action plans, yet lied about it"

The threat mentioned was hijacking of planes - no
suggestion they were going to fly them into buildings. There have been hundreds of hijackings over the years. No one ever doubted there wouldn't be more. How is that an extensive warning or an action plan?

SteveJ. "Rice was given an ... (Below threshold)

SteveJ. "Rice was given an extensive warning about Al-Qaeda, complete with action plans, yet lied about it"

Wait...Did the "Intelligence Community" fail us, as the 9/11 commission claimed, by not seeing the attacks? Or, as you claim, did they do a superb job - uncovering detailed "action plans" - and the administration chose to ignore their findings?

Considering how horribly wrong they were on the presence of WMDs in Iraq (the "Intelligence Community" in all countries thought they were there) I will give Condi the benefit of the doubt.

gattsuro wrote:" j... (Below threshold)

gattsuro wrote:

" just to get rid of another group which you don't like"

which smacks - no REEKS - of moral relativism.

the USSR was not just a group that another group didn't like.

al qaeda is not just a group that bush doesn;t like.

the ussr and al qaeda are evil. that's why moral people dislike them, and seek to destroy them.

no apology is needed for that - ever.

No, actually, it's specific... (Below threshold)

No, actually, it's specifically designed to focus on moral clarity. To be more exact, the quote is shown to say that a lesser evil is not an acceptable price to pay for the possible greater good. To say that was the case, such as what you are doing, would be moral relativism, insisting that an action isn't bad because it could have resulted in positive, but indirectly related, ways.

To say that doing something evil will help get rid of an evil is false realism. To say that is the RIGHT thing to do is moral relativism.

Helping the Contras, for those who didn't do their history, resulted in the destruction of countless acres of farmland, forced many people into starvation, added years to the length of a pointless war which began mostly over a land-war begun by the army of Nicaragua, and may have lead to the popularization of crack cocaine.

Now, that doesn't compare to the benefits gained from hacking down an evil empire, but given that said evil empire was already drowning itself in a poorly designed economic line and was already unable to provide itself with enough food to survive in the long run, well, we'll never know.

And we don't have to, since comparing the results of the former to the latter would be, again, evil moral relativism.

Seems to me when they tried... (Below threshold)

Seems to me when they tried to go after North, the reason they ultimately failed was because he had done nothing to negate his immunity agreement. Perjury would have negated it. Therefore based on the FACT that North did not lie to Congress in his testimony, the courts threw out the supsequent charges against him.

Thanks to Jack Lewis for pr... (Below threshold)

Thanks to Jack Lewis for providing the link to the full story (amazing how bad my memory was of the events)--- Jay, does this thorough exposition change your perspective, in light of the fact that North was never convicted of lying to Congress? I am amused by the technicalities, but a verdict on appeal is what it is.

Realipundit -- I agree with others in prior posts: YOU are the one who is building his case on moral relativism. My point is simple: committing perjury is criminal, regardless of the motive. Your argument is that committing a crime is justified if it serves the defeat of evil. How do we deal with that when it is the Barbara Boxers of the world who are defining what is "evil?"

Well you an add me to the l... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Well you an add me to the list of people who isn't real comfortable with Oliver North due to his lying.

I realize he was the scapegoat and was willingly that, and I also very much disagreed with the law prohibiting the aid, I don't know that the law was immoral enough to break.

I don't know that you can argue that it is always wrong to break a legitimate governments laws-there are times, when civil disobedience is the right thing to do (the people who were hiding Jews in Nazi controlled Europe quickly come to mind-they were absolutely violating the law, but they were also absolutely doing the right thing).

But I am not convinced the Iran Contra scheme was justified, nor do I think Oliver North is some kind of hero over it.

My Nicaraguan bride has an ... (Below threshold)

My Nicaraguan bride has an interesting perspective on this.

Ask a decent, middle class person there what they think of Ollie. He's a hero for doing ultimately the right thing for about 4,000,000 Nicas.

The Sandinistas were, and still are, bastards.

Count me as another person ... (Below threshold)

Count me as another person who is uncomfortable listening to/reading Oliver North's reports. Like it or not, he has been tained by a scandal.

For those who say, "I saw O... (Below threshold)

For those who say, "I saw Oliver North get up there and lie through his teeth", are you sure? I thought that North had done his lying before a Congressional hearing that wasn't televised. What most people saw was what happened some time later, that is, the televised circus known as the Iran-Contra hearings where Oliver North dramatically raised his hand in a ramrod-stiff posture and swore to tell the truth. Which he did, then.

Unless those earlier hearings were televised on cspan or cnn; I didn't have cable back then.

The thing I remember most i... (Below threshold)

The thing I remember most is not Ollie North. The most important person in that whole room was Ollie's attorney Brendan Sullivan. He made the congressmen focus on his own outrageous behavior whenever Ollie got backed into a corner. I have not watched large amounts of real attorneys in real cases, but Sullivan's defense of his client was incredible.

reliapundit:Sup... (Below threshold)


Supporting ther Contras was essential to defeating ther USSR--- it began to turn the tide, as did Grenada. The Contras were to the USSR what the Iraq War is too Arab tryanny: an essential fulcrum, a turning point. Or, to use 21st century jargon: a tipping point.

It's surprising that you are saying that it was a good thing for the US to support terrorists, as the Contras were exactly that. They werent some chivalrous heroic army you know, they were a bunch of criminals and murderers.

And I dont see how Nicaragua had much to do with the fall of the USSR. How do you explain that link? A small central American country being crucial to the survival of the USSR? Hardly. Nicaragua did receive funding from Cuba and the USSR, but arguing that that little country was somehow crucial to "defeating" the Soviets is really out there.

gattsuru nailed it by saying: Support for the contras was about as necessary for the downfall of the USSR as Nickelback is for pop culture.

The Sandinistas were a radical and violent reaction to the oppressive regime of the Somozas, who were bastards. The Sandinistas, like many radical movements, were not much better, and they were eventually voted out of power in 1990. As one poster wrote, the Sandinistas were pretty much bastards as well.

I have a problem with expressing support for terrorists when it fits our interests. So the US was worried about Soviet influence in Latin America...is supporting a bunch of terrorists really a good way of dealing with it? Is that acceptable? I think all that we did was make the war last longer, and help make the situation worse. Maybe we should have been helping Nicaragua make the transition to a real democracy instead of fueling more warfare. Just an idea.

someone asked: How... (Below threshold)

someone asked:

How do we deal with that when it is the Barbara Boxers of the world who are defining what is "evil?"

well, what we do is DISPROVE her with FACTS.

like I said: evil is not subjective; those of you who argue that it is are mortal relativists.

those of us who know what Natural Law is know what evil is.

Bush knows what evil is; boxer doesn't. because she is a moral relativist.

north did a minor bad thing to promote a major good thing - defeating the USSR. certaionly worht the loss of hundreds of acres, and many lives.
Blood and treasure.

status-quoists and pseudo-realists and moral relativists don't get it: it took active/proactive attacks agaionst the USSR to get them to LOSE the Cold War. The CVontras werere ourt allies in the Cold War, and the Sandinistas were our ENEMY!

You are either with us or against us. The moral relativists are part of the problem. they enable the enemy, and disarm us. they are against us.

those who'd attack North for aiding the Contras are either misguided dupes, fellow travellers, or the enemy.

Or do you gattsuro and wavemaker - regret the USSR was defeated, or deny that Reagan defeated them?

I thinkl these tywo questions go to the VERY HEART of the matter: thoise who thinkl that the USSR collapsed of itsa own weight (and that Reagan did nothing to make it happen) are anti-Contra and anti-North.

I WAS AT THE TIME. I am a Democrat (who voted for Bush). In the 1980's I was AZNTI-REAGAN, bit the Fall of the Wall - and the subsequent revelations about the horrific USSR - OPENED MY EYES.

I have been a hawk ever since.

At the time, I thought North was a criminal; now I consider him a HERO.

These comments, for the mos... (Below threshold)

These comments, for the most part, demonstrate a major difference between Republicans/Conservatives and demoncrats/liberals. When one of ours makes such a mistake, we do not seek to defend his actions. We may point to reasons why he tooks such actions, but we do not use those reasons as pure justification. The democrats/liberals, on the other hand, use getting caught in a lie as a "badge of honor". and not a shroud of shame. Of course, the democrats/liberals also know they have the MSM to continually polish their image and to portray an investigation as purely partisan.

"The CVontras[sic] werere[s... (Below threshold)

"The CVontras[sic] werere[sic] ourt[sic] allies in the Cold War, and the Sandinistas were our ENEMY!"

Can you even explain why? We called them terrorists as early as 1982. We proved that they were guilty of rape, torture, summary executions, and indiscriminate killings. They were as much our allies as our enemies. Allies supply aid, like we tried to, and like they did not.

Can you show what the Contras actually did to contribute to the downfall of Communism in Nicaruagua? Last I checked, the Sandinistas didn't fall until the Contras, and funding for them, had died down. 1989, the end of Reagan's reign, is before December 1990, the fall of the Sadninistas.
So, what did they do? Prevent supplies from going from Nicaruagua to Cuba or another communist state? Hell, no, Nicaruagua needed aid for the first 10 years after it went to Sandinistan control.

Again, all you are argueing is that "north did a minor bad thing to promote a major good thing - defeating the USSR." Saying that is even that case, which isn't a given, you're requiring that the ends can justify the means, again, moral relativity.

The downfall of the USSR was primarly due to a poor economic plan, constant pouring of funds into useless forms of weapon research (capitalism + arms race = good economy, socialism + arms race = recession), and some very lucky outside interference.

Can I say that Reagan didn't directly contribute to the downfall of the USSR? Sure, but I'd be ignoring the facts. If you don't want to be doing the same thing, please think before you post something.

This ridiculous reliance on emotional responses, such as invoking the word HERO in caps, is something I'd expect from a ten-year old. Please be more mature than that.

While I was old enough to r... (Below threshold)

While I was old enough to remember seeing LTC North on TV, I was young enough at the time to not have a care in the world...

Anyway, I recently read Hazardous Duty by John Singlaub in which the first and last few chapters he discusses his involvement in aiding the Contras. Interestingly, Singlaub paints North as a lier and as one who aided greeded gun dealers as opposed to giving all assistance possible, despite the situation, to the Contras.

Amen! I refuse to watch or ... (Below threshold)
Thomas Hazlewood:

Amen! I refuse to watch or hear North, also. He was just 'following orders', you see. That familiar defense was debunked long ago.

US soldiers are TRAINED and ADMONISHED to obey only legal orders. North is one of those who couldn't decide for himself what is honorable. I won't listen to him explaining his views on war and warriors. He doesn't have the background to explain such matters.

gatty baby wrote:"... (Below threshold)

gatty baby wrote:

" ends can justify the means, again, moral relativity"

so... you oppose the fact that we used stalin to getb hitler?

i do not.

nor using pinochet to save S.A.

or many other deals we made.

like with the shah.

all were more good than bad.

that's the only REALISTIC way to judge actions on complex world of foreign policy - in which so much is appels & oranges.

don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
we can;t be perfecxt; neither can out allies.
but IF IN THE EEND we improve things AS MUXH AS MIGHT BE EXPECTED, then we did GOOD.

the contras were USSR supported marxists, as were tyhe vietcong - another bunch of EVIL tyrants.

the vietnam war was honorable and good anfd just.

or do you think it was a waste?

the Democrats of Congress dishonorably pulled the plug on the SVG - THAT'S whgat lef to the fall of Saigon. The VERY SAMNE DEMOCRATS who pulled the plug on the Contras.

The Lefty Democrats were a Fifth Column for the USSR.

North was a soldier who fopught the USSR, and helped defeat them on obne front - C.A.

That is noble.

I'm a fellow USNA grad. Wh... (Below threshold)

I'm a fellow USNA grad. What North did was wrong. I don't care about the politics and we can argue efficacy of Contra policy back and forth. But lying is another matter entirely. He deserves to get fried for that. Kicking Jim Webb's ass was kind of cool though...

Realipundit: "Or do you gat... (Below threshold)

Realipundit: "Or do you gattsuro and wavemaker - regret the USSR was defeated, or deny that Reagan defeated them?"

A rhetorical question, obviously.

You have changed your mind, from North being a criminal to North being a hero, because....your relative view of right and wrong, good and evil has changed?

north a hero who broke a la... (Below threshold)

north a hero who broke a law - which was worth it, and patriotic to break.

funding the Contras was against a law which was pro-USSR - the Boland Amendment. The Boland Amendment aided and abetted the USSR.
North did not aid the USSR; he helped defeat them.

a huge plus on his side - an ameliorating factor -which ANY and ALL jurors are encouraged to take into accouint during any and all phases of deliberations.

i vote not guilty by reason of heroism and patriotism.

like a coip who kills in sefl-defense - and is no0t a murderer MORALLY - so North was morally in the right.

we need to do rendition of baddies to 3rd party nations, and we need some allies who are sucky (like the pakis and the sauds).

such is life - and WAR.

as long as we keep our eyes on the prize: defeating neojihadism - we should be okay.

this doesn't excuse any and all law-breaking or any and all alliances, but it does mean that OFTEn we have to do some unsavory things to win.

brave patriots can do them -and they face the consequences. as north did.

so aly off ollie.

we need MORe like him, not less.

God Bless Ollie - and all of YOU - even the pansies whiner appeaser-typesgatyyboy and waveschmavey) who think you can win a nasty war against tyrants and terrorists and always be legal and moral and perfect in doing it.

never happened, never will.

war is hell.

"u gotta out charlie charlie."



Medic! Medic!! ... (Below threshold)

Medic! Medic!!

We celebrate Nathan Hale as... (Below threshold)
Brad Ervin:

We celebrate Nathan Hale as a patriot but we condem Benedict Arnoldas a traiter; both were spys. Hippocracy?

How do you all feel about G Gordon Liddy?

To paraphrase Lincoln: "...are all the laws but one to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces less that one be violated?"

Is it worse to break one oath or another when they conflict? To balance this I would say that it is not the providence of colonels or generals to choose when to lie to save the nation in testimony before congress. In defence of Col North I believe he at least had the interests of the nation at hand where I believe Lt. Kerry had his own interests in mind when he gave his testimony before congress. I would also say that my own poor memory of the testimony of Col. North combined with our recient experiance with the "lies of President Bush" are enough to make me wonder if Col. North is the criminal we suppose. There were no blogs in that time to fact check the MSM.

Col North was not convicted... (Below threshold)

Col North was not convicted of lying to Congress when under oath at the public "Iran-Contra" hearings.
It was for his briefings he gave at sequestered commitee meetings, where he did in fact lie.
The prosecution messed up by using his public testimony in his trial.

Oh my, this brings back mem... (Below threshold)

Oh my, this brings back memories of the dear old IBM Displaywriter and Ollie's loyal secretary.

Ann Coulter at pp. 175-178 in her book "Treason" has some interesting details, including John Kerry and Tom Harkin's trip "to Managua to meet with Ortega and returned claiming Ortega was 'a misunderstood democrat rather than a Marxist autocrat.' In the end, the Democrat-controlled House voted down even humanitarian aid for the Contras... less than a week [later] Ortega flew to Moscow to meet with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev."

"The next year, Reagan again pleaded with Congress to fund the Contras...."

"In one of the most stirring episodes in U.S. history, faced with the Democrats' refusal to fund anti-Marxists in Nicaragua, members of Reagan's staff devised a brilliant plan to support the Contras with private donations. Funds were collected from patriotic Americans, various foreign countries, the Sultan of Brunei, and private organizations. In addition, Israel sold arms to Iran and a portion of the proceeds was diverted to the beleaguered Contras. Israel had its own reasons for wanting to sell arms to the Iranians, then at war with Iraq. Israel worked with moderates within the Iranian government, who offered - as a bonus - to pressure Islamic Jihad to release American hostages recently kidnapped in Beirut... The main operation consisted of helping two heinous regimes bleed each other a little longer while getting money to anti-Communists battling totalitarian tyrants in Nicaragua. This is what could be accomplished by bypassing the sedition lobby in Congress...."

"...Reagon never knew about the Iran-Contra plan until his attorney general, Edwin Meese, discovered it and informed the press...."






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