Jour 203-BDP

Friday, October 27, 2006

Iran-Contra in Retrospect

Personal charm and traditional values allowed Ronald Reagan to win the hearts of millions of Americans. However nostalgia has a way of erasing blemishes and sometimes, even entire events. The Iran Contra affair during Reagan’s presidency temporarily marred the president’s reputation and permanently set a precedent of unchecked power becoming corrupt.

In 1985 Iran and Iraq were at war. Meanwhile the United States appeared helpless to secure the release of seven American hostages being held by Iranian terrorists in Lebanon. When the opportunity for American intervention presented itself in the form of supplying weapons to Iran, National Secretary Robert McFarlane, CIA Director William Casey, and President Reagan supported the idea. An underlying motive for the deal was the release of hostages. This sale of weapons directly violated the embargo against selling arms to Iran and Reagan’s campaign promise of never negotiating with terrorists. Beginning October 20, 1985 Israel delivered 96 TOW missiles to Iran on behalf of the United States. Arm sales continued until October 1986, even though not all hostages had been released from the initial sale. These activities were made public by the Lebanese newspaper “Al-Shiraa” in November 1986. Reagan fervently denied the arms-for-hostages deal because “none of the arms we’d shipped to Iran had gone to terrorists who’d kidnapped our citizens.” The scandal escalated when the US was discovered to have overcharged for the weapons and profits diverted to anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua. This violated the Boland Amendment which forbade US support and operations in Nicaragua. The Iran Contra dealings were investigated by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh for eight years and fourteen people were charged. The president’s suffering was short lived and by 1989, as he departed office, his approval rating was the highest of any president since Franklin Roosevelt.
The poor investigation of Iran Contra allowed culprits to survive and thrive in their corruption.

Byrne, Malcolm and Peter Kornbluh. “Iran-Contra: The Press Indicts the Prosecutor.” Columbia Journalism Review. March 1994. Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. 27 October 2006. <>.
Donahue, Bruce. “Power and Personality: A Study of the Iran Arms-for-Hostages Deal.” National Defense University. 27 October 2006. <>.
Wolf, Julie. “The Iran-Contra Affair.” Public Broadcasting Service. 27 October 2006.


Blogger Digital Journalism @ CPSU said...

Nice lead.
Grade: 13/10

3:19 PM  

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