Oliver North, the Reagan administration National Security Council staffer who became a conservative hero because of his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, said last week that President Obama could be impeached for his handling of issues including the Benghazi attack because unlike in Benghazi, “nobody died in Iran-Contra.”
North told Tim Constantine of the Tea Party News Network that the Reagan administration didn’t try to cover up the Iran-Contra scandal, a fact he might want to check with his own secretary from the time. He also urged House Speaker John Boehner to form a special committee on Benghazi. Right-wing activists have only increased their demands for a special committee after the House Republicans’ own report — among others — debunked conspiracy theories about the Obama administration’s handling of the attack.
“Tragically, this administration has gotten away with things that any other president would have been impeached for, there’s no doubt in my mind,” North said.
As Brian Powell of Media Matters notes, it is patently absurd to claim that no one died as a result of the Iran Contra scandal, “in which the Republican hero trafficked arms into the hands of a tyrannical Iranian government, negotiated with Hezbollah terrorists and funneled money and military equipment into the hands of violent revolutionaries in America’s own backyard.”
“The assertion — that the Reagan administration’s felonious dealings with terrorists and terror-sponsoring nations didn’t lead to a single casualty — is absurd to anyone with even the most elementary understanding of what Iran-Contra was or to anyone with access to the Internet,” Powell writes.
During Iran-Contra, top Reagan administration officials, at the behest of the president himself, funneledmoney to “contra” guerilla fighters in Nicaragua in direct violation of U.S. and international law. The contras, according to Human Rights Watch, “were major and systematic violators of the most basic standards of the laws of armed conflict, including by launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians, selectively murdering non-combatants, and mistreating prisoners.” To claim that the U.S. funding did not lead to the deaths of innocents beggars belief.
In addition to supporting the deadly activities of the contras, Iran-Contra resulted in the deaths of three members of the Central Intelligence Agency when an American aircraft carrying equipment for the anti-government guerrillas was shot down over the Nicaraguan jungle.
On the other side of the arms deal, Reagan trafficked weapons, including hundreds of missiles, to anoppressive Iranian regime mired in a war with Iraq. No rational person could possibly believe that the delivery of so many weapons into the hands of a violent, war-torn government didn’t result in numerous deaths.