Investigating the 'October Surprise'

Several things indicate that a formal investigation of the so-called "October surprise" is a waste of money and time.

The breaking off of negotiations by Iran with the Carter Administration is cited as evidence of an Iranian agreement with Bill Casey delaying a hostage release until January, 1980. However, negotiations did continue with Carter. In his memoirs, Carter recounts hostage negotiation until the last moments of his presidency. It also seems much more likely that radical Iranians were intent on punishing Carter for his reception of the shah, which is the reason they took the hostages in the first place.

Perhaps the real crime here is the transparent MO of the congressional Democrats. Delighted with the Iran-Contra scandal, they are searching for more dirty laundry to hang on the line of arms that were sent to Iran. The admission of Democrats that they want the investigation to proceed slowly and quietly is proof enough that they want to either forget it, if no one can be blamed, or have their own October surprise. Since the Gulf War, the Democrats' only presidential hope seems to be the creation of a ninth-inning integrity blot on Bush's record.

Lastly, consider the question of who cares. Even if these allegations can be proved, Casey is dead, Ronald Reagan is out to pasture and George Bush could probably walk right through the fire and still be elected. The American people just aren't that concerned about a decade-old deal that provided Iran with weapons to fight Iraq. Since the Iran-Contra proceedings, the shock vale of learning that the Reagan Administration had some shady characters is long gone. The most Democrats can hope for is to sling some mud. That is a very poor reason to spend millions on a congressional investigation.



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