This affair is one of the most important in United States History. This scandal among many became one of the top for the Regan Administration. One accusation from this scandal was that Regan was involved in an October Surprise, where he dealt with the Iranians to get them to hold hostages to discredit his opponent in the election, Jimmy Carter. This is a very serious allegation, but it remains unproven. Whether or not arms were transferred in the October Surprise, there was definitely trading of weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of U.S. hostages held in Lebanon. The money made from these sales was diverted to support the Contras, a anti-communist rebel group from Nicaragua. The Regan Administration attempted to cover up the indirect sale of arms to an enemy by destroying documents and lying to Congress.
October Surprise TheoryEdit
The October Surprise is an alleged plot in which during the 1980 presidential election, Ronald Regan made a deal with Iranian country men to hold 52 American hostages so that he could discredit President Carters campaign. The fact is that despite all of Carters efforts he failed at retrieving the hostages. Opinion polls imply this cost him the election. On the day of Regan's inaguration the hostages were released, about twenty minutes after which giving birth to suspicion of the plot.
There were a number of coincidences that further fueled the idea that the election was won on false grounds. There was a man named Danny Casolaro who was found murdered in his bath room after claiming that he was ready to expose the theory. There were rumored meetings between members of Regan's campaign and the Iranian Government that took place in Paris, which if proven would most definitely support the notions of treason. (support needed)
This scandal undermines the very idea of democracy. The allegations that a candidate could negotiate with an enemy to influence a presidential election are enormous. It would make the entire Regan presidency illegitimate.
Arms For HostagesEdit
1980- October Surprise Regan/Bush agreed with Iran to delay release of hostages until after the elections. In 1981 hostages in the American Embassy in Iran were released when Regan took office. On March 16 of 1985 American's national security advisor, Robert C. McFarlane Was told by Oliver North a plan to sustain the Contra war. Robert McFarlane had President Reagan personally call President Roberto Suazo Cordova of Honduran. "It is imperative … that you make clear the Executive Branch's political commitment to maintaining pressure on the Sandinistas, regardless of what action Congress takes," and agreed to sell weapons for the release of hostages in Lebanon.
So, on August 30 of 1985 the first shipment of United States manufactured weapons was sent from Israel to Tehran. Two weeks later the first American hostage was released. On December 5, 1985, Regan secretly signed an authorization to sell arms for hostages. Finally, the question of what to do with the money from the weapon sales came up. This was in 1986. The CIA was told to take part in the sales and it was kept from Congress. Then the money was sent to Nicaragua to support terrorist organization.
Support for ContrasEdit
November 1986, there was a Political scandal that the Reagan Administration agreed to sell weapons to Iran. The sale of weapons was negotiated to release hostages for the weapons, and also to fund Nicaraguan contras. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Contra_affair The arms-for-hostages deal was supposedly made to improve the relations between the U.S and Iranians. In November 1987, the sale of U.S. arms to Iran began in the summer of 1985, after receiving the approval of President Reagan. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/Iran_Contra_Affair.html
Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North (of the National Security Council) had devised a plan that a portion of the weapons sales were sent to an anti-communist fund in Nicaragua. The money was collected by the sales that the U.S was making from the Iranians. Later that year, the contras secretary of Defense noted that Ronald Regan knew about the illegal trade. After the accusation, Regan had stated that the weapons were transferred but denied that the U.S. had traded weapons for hostages. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB210/index.htm
Oliver North was taken to trial for hiding or destroying documents important to the scandal. His secretary testified against him that he helped North shred documents. According to The New York Times enough documents were put in the government shredder to jam it. North claims that he did it to protect the identities of the people who took part in the contra.During the trial, North testified that on he witnessed Poindexter destroy what may have been the only signed copy of a presidential covert-action finding that sought to authorize CIA participation in the November 1985 Hawk missile shipment to Iran. When asked about his role in authorizing the arms deals, he first stated that he had; later, he appeared to contradict himself by stating that he had no recollection of doing so. In his 1990 autobiography, An American Life, Reagan acknowledges authorizing the shipments to Israel. US Attorney General Edwin Meese admitted on that profits from weapons sales to Iran diverted to the Contra in Nicaragua. On the same day, John Poindexter resigned, and Oliver North was fired by President Reagan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Contra_affair
Defense secretary Caspar Weinberger took notes that say the Reagan administration knew of the arms dealings with Iran. however Weinberger made an efort to hide his notes which could have stalled impeachment. Mr. Walsh hinted that Mr. Bush's pardon of Mr. Weinberger and the President's own role in the affair could be related. he charged that Mr. Weinberger's notes about the secret decision to sell arms to Iran, a central piece of evidence in the case against the former Pentagon chief, included 'evidence of a conspiracy among the highest ranking Reagan Administration officials to lie to Congress and the American public. http://pearly-abraham.tripod.com/htmls/iran-contra4.html
OpEd in favor of administrationEdit
Ronald Reagan was the most liked president during his presidency. In his second re-election he won with a majority higher than any other president. He installed new political and economic systems. He advocated reduced business regulation, controlling inflation, reducing growth in government spending, and spurring economic growth through tax cuts. His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, such as the ending of the Cold War, the bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair. Some people disagreed with the choice Reagan’s administrations did in the Iran-Contra affair. Yet, Ronald Reagan himself was not involved in the processes that took place during the affair. He confessed of being aware of arm transactions, but the scandal had been run under Reagan’s knowledge and he was not aware of the actions that his renegade administrations’ involvement. These people took it into their own hands to deal with the US personal interest in their own way. Despite that fact that it was illegal and done without Reagan’s authorization, it was a positive action. They insured the freeing of innocent hostages and created positive ties with a dangerous enemy. This affair was a mockery of Reagan’s administrations that he had no power over. It would be very unfair to have exploited Reagan for actions that were in the interest of the US and that he had no power over.
Op Ed opposed to administrationEdit
The Iran Contra scandal was a dark part of U.S. history. The crimes such as hostage for arms deal which was completely against the law, especially since these actions were happening under secrecy and compleatly whith out publics knolage. They were violating the U.S. 's own scantions aginst outher countries. There was illegal trading for many years .and the people involved profeted gratley. It was seen through investigations of high ranking ghovernmnet officials that, John Poindexter was found guilty of sending money to the contra rebels while withholding all that information from the president. William J. Casey also played a part in this but died during the court hearings along with Weinberger. Oliver North had said that he was "under the orders of superiors". He was convicted of obstructing Congress, and destroying documents. Poindexter and Weinberge's convictions were overturned. North's convictions were expunged when George W. Bush was president and stated that, he acted out of patriotism.
These acts should've lead to severe punishments given that it was a lot to be convicted for. Instead, these people were being excused and, no responsibility was being taken for these actions. The crimes committed were wrong and, they should've at least served some jail time.