From the Artleytoons Archives
Remember Ollie North? Many of you may know him as a radio talk show host or a TV commentator. But, long before he stepped into these roles, he stepped in something else a few years back.
Back in the mid 1980's, Oliver North was a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal that rocked Washington and the Reagan White House. North, a NSC staffer, was instrumental in the clandestine sale of weapons to Iran as part of a deal to release American hostages held in Lebanon by Iranian-backed extremists. Part of the funds were diverted to the Contras, an anti-government rebel group in Nicaragua. Because of widespread atrocities and human rights violations by the Contras, Congress had prohibited funding this militant group. And, of course, with Iran being our bitter enemy, providing arms to them was also frowned upon.
Some saw North as a great American hero. Others, including the law, saw him as a criminal, ignoring Congressional authority as defined in the U.S. Constitution. He and several others were indicted, including the Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. Although eleven people were convicted, some were let off on appeal and the remaining were later pardoned by George H.W. Bush when he became President, who of course, was Reagan's V.P. at the time of the affair.
Just how high up the chain of command the scandal went in the Administration was unclear, as evidence was withheld by Administration officials, and Oliver North and others in the illegal operation destroyed volumes of damning evidence. Of course, Ronald Reagan "forgot." During Congressional hearings, North admitted, "some documents were shredded."
So, I created this cartoon: