To What Extent Was President Reagan’s Personal Role In The Iran Contra Affair Significant?

1872 words - 7 pages

A. Plan of Investigation
The investigation assesses the extent of significance of President Reagan’s role in the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980’s. Reagan’s role will be looked at while aiding the Nicaraguan Contras, releasing American hostages, both which led to the Iran-Contra affair, and during the cover up, in America and partly in Iran. An investigation account and American history are mostly used to evaluate Reagan’s role. Two of the sources used in this essay, Firewall: The Iran-Contra conspiracy and cover-up written by Lawrence E. Walsh and The Age of Reagan by Sean Wilentz will then be evaluated for their origins, purposes, values, and limitations.
B. Summary of Evidence
Prior to the Iran-Contra affair, Reagan was in the last days of his first term. In his first term, some things he dealt with were an attempt to his assassination, being against labor unions, and ordering arms to be built for the détente strategy. His second term which dealt mostly with foreign affairs marked a downfall in his reputation. As part of his foreign policy and an effort to stop the spread of communism, Reagan thought it was important to help the Nicaraguan insurgents, the contras, to end their communistic government. Under the Reagan Doctrine, which was constructed to oppose Soviet influence and had a lot of “support for anti- Communist revolutions” , the CIA was ordered to assist the contras with military activities. However, excesses made by CIA resulted in Congress ending the aid as funding money started running out. The Boland Amendment, which was signed earlier in 1984, “denied requests of assistance to Contras and prohibited any help from any nation or group.” However, the Reagan administration decided to continue arming and training the Contras, in violation of the Boland Amendment. In order to raise money, Reagan got around by asking “wealthy Saudi Arabia to contribute funding” , which they did. Also, Oliver North was ordered to teach the Contras military tactics and raised money for them. As Reagan and his private officials went about on doing this secretly, publicity had a way to find what was going on. Congress was lied to as a cover up by Reagan so they would not intervene. After his reelection, Reagan supported another covert program: an attempt to release hostages in Lebanon. This would soon turn into the Iran-Contra Affair. In 1984 a Shiite Islamic group that was loyal to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini had captured and held seven Americans hostage in Lebanon. The President was very much concerned for the Americans’ well being. An Israeli foreign minister, David Kimche, insisted that since Iran and Iraq were at war with each other, Iran would need more weapons, and because Israel would also gain monetary benefits, they could help with persuasion to release the officials. All the U.S. needed to do was to approve a small shipment of armaments to Iran. Reagan then agreed to this deal, to sell arms to Iran through Israel, which would induce the...

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