The North verdict confirmed that the diversion of funds from Iranian arms sales was not just the harebrained inspiration of an off-the-wall lieutenant colonel who chose to keep his superiors in the dark.
Much of Iran-Contra was the result of two very unique personalities, Oliver North and Ronald Reagan. North frequently acted like a disciple of Inspector Clouseau, who had the misfortune to stumble upon “the Great Communicator.” We know from President Reagan’s press conferences, and from accounts of former officials in his Administration, that his strong points did not include unrehearsed articulation of complex issues, and that his management style could best be described as “hands-off.”
Iran-Contra was the likely result of a series of rambling “body language” meetings among Reagan’s inner-circle, including North, about such issues as the plight of the hostages, the communist threat in Central America, Freedom Fighters, and our wimpy Congress. From these meetings emerged the preposterous plan to sell a deadly enemy some of our most lethal and advanced weapons. This probably triggered North’s globe-trotting activities, and left him with the belief that his antics had the approval of higher-ups, and consequently carried the force of law. It is pretty obvious that North could not have diverted Iran-Contra funds without heavy-hitter support.
We should be more concerned with President Bush’s next move than with North’s.
While Ollie is not deserving of much sympathy, he was probably set up by individuals many rungs above him, and consequently should be pardoned. As uch of an affront as this might be tosome Americans, it is even more of an affront to the entire nation to punish an underling for lousy and naive judgment, while looking the other way as to the real kingpins.
MICHAEL A. SCOTT