Iran-Contra Affair

Iran-Contra Affair

Iran-Contra: Crossing That Line

"I think everyone knew we were walking
a very thin line."(Owen) Not many Americans know the truth that lies behind
the Iran-Contra scandals. Most would be surprised to know about the deception
of our leaders. Still today, some truth of Iran-Contra lies hidden in the
conscience of the people who organized it, aided it, and went through with
it. It started with good intentions, but soon was corrupted. Some
may argue that we must do what we can to smother the flame of communism,
but I believe that deception, abuse of power and bloodshed is no way to
go about it.

To fully understand Iran-Contra, you must
know the history behind it. Draper explains to us that the Iranian Revolution
of 1978-1979 brought the fall of the tyrant Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi
and gave rise to Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini led the Shiite clerics, whose
goal was to establish an Islamic state. In July 1979, the Nicaraguan Revolution
overthrew the dictator Somoza and replaced the dynasty with the Sandinistas.

The Sandinistas were a communist regime that sought allies with Castro
and the Soviet Union. Khomeini and Sandinista had different views, both
had one important thing in common; they came to power by defeating United

States’ resistance, thus they were regarded with hostility. The United

States was then left with the question of what to do next. The Reagan administration
saw the Sandinistas not as nationalists, but as representatives of a communist
conspiracy that must be stopped. " Lurking in the background of these affairs,
then, was the ghost of McCarthyism..."(Draper 568). The White House took
the 1950’s idea of McCarthyism to take every method short of a full-scale
war to overthrow the Sandinista regime.

The War Against the Sandinistas

The United States Central Intelligence

Agency armed and trained an anti-Sandinista Guerrilla force based in the
neighboring countries of Honduras and Costa Rica called the "Contras."
(Corn) These Contras began a series of terrorist raids in Nicaragua, and
the death toll mounted. A large amount of opposition and protests by European
powers soon followed. Congress then banned any further US financial or
military assistance to the Contras in legislation titled the Boland amendment.
("Iran-Contra Affair") This is where the deception started. The Reagan
administration knew that if their aid to the Contras stopped, it would
mean the end of the Contras.

Reagan called together a small planning
staff to "keep the Contras together, body and soul" regardless of the legislation.

Detailed to the NSC from the marines, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North was
given the responsibility to establish a secret network to arm the Contras.

Dozens of former CIA and retired military personnel were recruited to train
the Contras and fly weapons into Central America. At first, American capitalists
supplied much of the financing, but as the operation became more complex,
money came from American allies who saw this as a "gesture to build goodwill
in Washington" (Walsh 47). This aid provided a steadily growing death toll
in Nicaragua. It is estimated that 20,000 Nicaraguan men, women and children
were killed in these attacks. ("1986...") These attacks’ purposes were to
terrorize the people and destroy the country’s economics. I believe the

Reagan administration was wrong in doing this, even though they had good
intention to stop communism. They only brought unnecessary blood shed.

Arms for Hostages

The Iranian end of the affair started
with a series of clashes between the Islamic regime and the US, which lead
to the capture of the American Embassy and hostages in Teheran. After "a
long and bloody stalemate"(Walsh 311), the Reagan administration backed
by National Security Advisor McFarlene decided to trade arms for hostages.

But, the catch in the plan was that the same NSC operatives – McFarlene,

PoinDexter, and Lt. Col. Oliver North – had the responsibilities of both
the Iran dealings and the ongoing shipment to the Contras. They decided
to overcharge the Iranians in order to provide funds to the Contras. This
made it almost inevitable that something would go wrong, and it did. The
arms deal was soon found out and it was made the center of media attention.

Ignoring this warning, McFarlene and North traveled to Teheran personally
to deliver missiles and talk to Iranian officials. North even brought Iranians
into the White House secretly at night to discuss the situation.

The lies in Iran-Contra kept getting deeper
and deeper, and Reagan and his administration refused to give up their
fight. But, they would never be able to keep such an intricate web of lies
from being exposed. They had already been in direct violation of