Iran-Contra Affair

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  • Topic: Nicaragua, Contras, Iran–Contra affair
  • Pages : 5 (1619 words )
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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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Iran-Contra: Crossing That Line
"I think everyone knew we were walking a very thin line."(Owen) Not many Americans know the truth that lies behind the Iran-Contra scandals. Most would be surprised to know about the deception of our leaders. Still today, some truth of Iran-Contra lies hidden in the conscience of the people who organized it, aided it, and went through with it. It started with good intentions, but soon was corrupted. Some may argue that we must do what we can to smother the flame of communism, but I believe that deception, abuse of power and bloodshed is no way to go about it. To fully understand Iran-Contra, you must know the history behind it. Draper explains to us that the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979 brought the fall of the tyrant Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and gave rise to Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini led the Shiite clerics, whose goal was to establish an Islamic state. In July 1979, the Nicaraguan Revolution overthrew the dictator Somoza and replaced the dynasty with the Sandinistas. The Sandinistas were a communist regime that sought allies with Castro and the Soviet Union. Khomeini and Sandinista had different views, both had one important thing in common; they came to power by defeating United States' resistance, thus they were regarded with hostility. The United States was then left with the question of what to do next. The Reagan administration saw the Sandinistas not as nationalists, but as representatives of a communist conspiracy that must be stopped. " Lurking in the background of these affairs, then, was the ghost of McCarthyism…"(Draper 568). The White House took the 1950's idea of McCarthyism to take every method short of a full-scale war to overthrow the Sandinista regime. The War Against the Sandinistas

The United States Central Intelligence Agency armed and trained an anti-Sandinista Guerrilla force based in the neighboring countries of Honduras and Costa Rica called the "Contras." (Corn) These Contras began a series of terrorist raids in Nicaragua, and the death toll mounted. A large amount of opposition and protests by European powers soon followed. Congress then banned any further US financial or military assistance to the Contras in legislation titled the Boland amendment. ("Iran-Contra Affair") This is where the deception started. The Reagan administration knew that if their aid to the Contras stopped, it would mean the end of the Contras. Reagan called together a small planning staff to "keep the Contras together, body and soul" regardless of the legislation. Detailed to the NSC from the marines, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North was given the responsibility to establish a secret network to arm the Contras. Dozens of former CIA and retired military personnel were recruited to train the Contras and fly weapons into Central America. At first, American capitalists supplied much of the financing, but as the operation became more complex, money came from American allies who saw this as a "gesture to build goodwill in Washington" (Walsh 47). This aid provided a steadily growing death toll in Nicaragua. It is estimated that 20,000 Nicaraguan men, women and children were killed in these attacks. ("1986…") These attacks' purposes were to terrorize the people and destroy the country's economics. I believe the Reagan administration was wrong in doing this, even though they had good intention to stop communism. They only brought unnecessary blood shed. Arms for Hostages

The Iranian end of the affair started with a series of clashes between the Islamic regime and the US, which lead to the capture of the American Embassy and hostages in Teheran. After "a long and bloody stalemate"(Walsh 311), the Reagan administration backed by National Security Advisor McFarlene decided to trade arms for hostages. But, the catch in the plan was that the same NSC operatives – McFarlene, PoinDexter, and Lt. Col. Oliver North – had the responsibilities of both the Iran dealings and the ongoing...
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