The Attorney General's Lawyer: Inside the Meese Justice Department

By Douglas W. Kmiec | Go to book overview
Save to active project

8
Freedom: Iran-Contra and the Criminalization of the Separation of Powers

So much has been written about Iran-Contra, it is hard to justify even a single word more. Ronald Reagan viewed the support of the contras, whom he called the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters, as important to the nation's security in this hemisphere. It is fair to say that many Americans viewed neither the contras, nor their Soviet and Cuban-backed antagonists, the Sandinistas, as a matter for serious concern. At heart, Americans are isolationist, not imperial. We expect others around the world to treat us in the same "hands off" manner. Live and let live.

This "live and let live" credo was challenged, however, in an odd confluence of ways in the 1980s. First, American hostages were taken in Iran in late 1979 in the last year of the Carter presidency. After a prolonged period, these hostages were released, but more were taken in seven separate incidents in 1984 and 1985. One of those taken, and later killed, was William Buckley, CIA station chief in Beirut. Americans respond when provoked, but this type of terrorist provocation was difficult to grapple with. No national soil or interest could be identified and reclaimed. The whereabouts of the hostages was unknown, and even the aggressors were shadowy, distant figures. While it was generally thought that the Americans were being held by a Shiite terrorist group, the Hezbollah, no one really fully knew what they wanted. Like random violence on the streets of Washington, D.C., few foreign policy experts, let alone the average American, could understand the deep instability in Iran. For the previous quarter century, until the death of the Shah, Iran had been the steadfast ally of the United States.

Because of its geographic position in the Middle East, American military analysts stressed the strategic importance of Iran. Suspicious that

-179-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Attorney General's Lawyer: Inside the Meese Justice Department
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 244

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?