Hunter S. Thompson Explains Oliver North’s Role in the Iran-Contra Affair

U.S. Marine Corp Lt. Col. Oliver North was indicted on sixteen felony accounts stemming from his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair.  In his testimony before a joint Congressional Committee, he admitted to lying and to shredding government documents, and he said he joined the covert Iran-Contra operation because he thought it was a neat idea.

Hunter S. Thompson followed the hearings closely and published many columns about the whole sordid affair and those involved in it.  I am posting his work now because Oliver North, who should be rotting in prison, has the gall to criticize President Obama for not obtaining approval from Congress to go into Libya.

This is from Thompson’s June 16, 1987 column published in his collected works titled Generation of Swine:

USMC Lt. Col. Oliver North will probably get 300 years – even if Ed Wilson is right – but he is too guilty and too obvious and too easy, in fact, to get off with anything less than 25 or 30 concurrent, which means he will do about three – unless he can come up with a better idea, like turning in somebody bigger.

From the moment North took the oath before congress, the American public was infatuated by the man in uniform with perfect posture and a respectful demeanor.  Hunter Thompson wrote about it in his column dated July 13, 1987:

One public opinion poll on Friday had North with a truly awesome “approval rating” of 96 to 4 percent, much higher than Ronald Reagan, Jesus or even pure cocaine.  The Iran-contra scandal that once looked deeper and dirtier than Watergate was suddenly transformed by North’s performance on network TV into something on the scale of American heroism like Valley Forge or MacArthur’s return to the Philippines…. The shameful saga of Oliver North was so heavy and strong that it caused rich men on Wall Street to weep openly and small children in Hollywood to dance and jabber with joy.

It even brought tears to the eyes of Crazy Bob. “This guy is the real thing,” he said when North went off the air on Thursday. “I want to send him a check.”

I stared at him for a long moment, then I whacked him on the side of his head. “You fool!” I said. “I’m tired of your lame Nazi gibberish.” He leaped off his stool and went into a fighting stance, but I quickly jumped back and hissed at him: “Semper Fi! Semper Fi! 269 dead boys at Beirut Airport! Two hundred and sixty-nine dead U.S. Marines, Bobby!

He stiffened, then dropped his hands.

“Yes!” I shouted. “And we know who did it, don’t we?”

“Iranians,” he muttered. “That stinking Ayatollah.”

I knew he had been in the Navy – nine or ten years in one of the super-elite SEAL units… the Marines get a lot of publicity and they look good on TV commercials, but even drill sergeants at Parris Island will admit that 99 out of 100 Marine recruits would be routinely rejected if they ever tried to qualify for the SEALS. A pencil-necked weekend warrior like Oliver North couldn’t get hired as a male nurse in a SEAL unit.

I put my arm around Crazy Bob’s shoulders and sat him back down on his stool. “And who was it, Bobby, that sold all those bombs and missiles and rockets to the Iranians?”

“Jesus Christ,” he said. “It was Oliver North, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, Charlie,” I said. “It was him – and he was well paid for it, too. Ronald Reagan called him a great American hero, and George Shultz put his arm around him and thanked him for doing good work.”

So much for Ollie mania.

Why does anyone give credence to Oliver North’s opinions today?  He belongs in prison.  Only Fox News would hire a swine like Oliver North and let him rant about what he perceives are President Obama’s abuses of presidential powers.

Who will Fox hire next?  Perhaps they can get Kerry Killinger to offer his opinions about how regulating banks is totally unnecessary.  Or maybe they could get Gary Ridgway to do a special dispatch from prison on how to pick up girls.

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About Brad

I am a lifelong resident of the Puget Sound and have lived in Seattle for the past 29 years. I am married and have two kids and I have a demanding job. All of those things take up a great deal of my time, otherwise you'd see more content on this blog. What I'm reading: The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer; Hiroshima Notes by Kenzaburō Ōe, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Favorite Films: Apocalypse Now, Brazil, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, The 400 Blows. What I'm listening to: Nadine Shah, Warpaint, Angel Olsen, Scott H. Biram, Dum Dum Girls, and Nick Cave (always).

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