The Iran Contra Affair Essay

1863 words - 7 pages

The Iran Contra Affair

The Iran Contra Affair was a secret arrangement to provide funds to Nicaraguan contra rebels from profits accumulated by selling arms to Iran in the 1980's. There is much controversy surrounding this scandal, including the president's knowledge of these events. Throughout the trials, President Regan claimed that he knew nothing about the diversion of funds, or the illegal arms sales to Iran. The following information gathered will prove otherwise. The president not only knew about these arrangements, but also made certain that the contra rebels would be funded.
During the trial of Oliver North, he was asked, "Do you remember thinking that you were in a den of thieves?" North was indignant. "I never regarded that I was working in a den of thieves," he declared. "I honestly believe I was working for honorable men doing their level best to make this country a better place, and I was carrying out lawful orders to that end." North testified that he had believed that the diversion of arms proceeds had been approved by President Reagan. Throughout the trials North claimed that he was carrying out direct orders from the president, and he felt he was involved in something that was beneficial to him and his country.
President Reagan had pushed congress to authorize funding for the Contras, but congress took no such measure. Even so, the president would have it this way. In 1986, President Reagan authorized the CIA to sell arms directly to Iran, and North coordinated this activity for the president. As the foreign funding for the contras ran out, North and his colleagues inflated the price of the weapons sold to Iran and secretly diverted the excess funds from the U.S. to private Swiss bank accounts.
It seems impossible that President Reagan had no clue as to what was going on in his own administration. He was the head of the U.S. government. At times he contradicted himself when asked about these events. On October 8, 1986, Reagan was asked by a news conference: " Was there any United Sates involvement in this fight over Nicaragua -- carrying the arms -- any involvement whatsoever?" Reagan replied, "I'm glad you asked that. Absolutely not." Later, after the government admitted to selling arms to Iran, Reagan stated that these sales would be stopped. He had to have known about these arrangements before the American public found out.
Reagan's first priority was freeing the hostages, and Iran had already stated that it would free the hostages if more arms were supplied. This is an even greater cause for Reagan to proceed in aiding the Contras. He wanted to stay an adored public figure, and he wanted to succeed where President Carter failed. He would do so even if the law had to be broken. It was well known that the President ran the White House with full authority. He was personally active in national security affairs and attended almost all of the relevant meetings involving the Iran...

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