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Iran-Contra Affair Report

November 29, 1987

The final Iran-Contra report is a devastating indictment of the Reagan Administration. It charges that "Fundamental processes of government were disregarded and the rule of law was subverted," and concludes that President Reagan violated his constitutional duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

The fundamental tenet of the American system of justice is that those who break the law will be held accountable. Some members of what the report calls the Iran-Contra "cabal of zealots" will be indicted. But what about Reagan, who was found to be ultimately responsible for the scandal, and who, to this day, adamantly refuses to criticize even the shredding of evidence by North?

It was President Reagan who authorized the sale of arms to the Ayatollah in apparent violation of the Arms Export Control Act and his own embargo against Iran. It was Reagan who encouraged, and possibly authorized, the violation of the Boland Amendment (a statute which he himself signed into law) by ordering his top aides to maintain the "body and soul" of the Contra rebels after Congress cut off their military aid.

And it was Reagan who falsely told the American people that his Administration had not sold arms to Iran in exchange for hostages, and that the Contra resupply aircraft shot down inside Nicaragua in October of 1986 (which was under the supervision of North) had no connection with the U.S. government.

This nation must heed the warning, quoted in the majority report, which was made 50 years ago by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: "If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law, it invites every man to become a law unto himself, it invites anarchy." Under Reagan, the executive branch indeed became such a lawbreaker.

Reagan's role in the Iran-Contra scandal, as revealed by the hearings and the report, constitutes sufficient grounds for demanding his immediate resignation or impeachment.

WILLIAM BOTHAMLEY

San Diego

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