Oliver North, hero of the GOP for not flipping on Ronald Reagan, has been named as president of the NRA. This seems like a perfect fit really for the “more guns solves what ails ya” crowd. He’s perhaps one of the most infamous illegal arms dealers around, because let’s be honest, that’s exactly the role he played in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Ronald Reagan has famously been quoted as saying “we will not negotiate with terrorists”. While I cannot actually find proof of that, it is a well know policy of the US, and certainly one that Reagan would have believed in. In practice though that policy hasn’t been so steadfastly adhered to. Not only did the Reagan administration negotiate the release of hostages with Iran by sending them arms, but they also illegally funneled money from the sale of those arms to the Contras (a terrorist organization) in Nicaragua. This was in direct violation of The Boland Amendment , passed by Congress to outlaw US assistance to the Contras for the purpose of overthrowing the ruling Sandinistas.
Reagan feigned plausible deniability for his part in the scandal, and Oliver North took on all of the blame. One wonders though if North would have been so eager to do so were it not for the immunity deal he worked out with Congress. He openly admitted to lying to Congress, funding terrorists, negotiating with Iran (as in Hezbollah, who are terrorists) by exchanging weapons for hostages, and destroying documents that might have implicated Reagan himself. Despite being convicted of 3 felonies in the ensuing criminal trials, the charges were vacated because the prosecution relied on North’s testimony to Congress, who had promised him immunity. Numerous other charges were also dropped because the Reagan administration refused to declassify documentary evidence. It’s good to have friends in high places, am I right?
This is the guy that the NRA chose to head up their organization: a would-be ex-con who managed to escape responsibility for his misdeeds, so when Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the NRA said, “In these times, I can think of no one better suited to serve as our president”, I wholeheartedly agree.