The issues I am going to talk about today vary from the very straightforward to the somewhat complicated. One thing ties them together – my dismay at how little the fundamental constitutional issues of the Iran-contra affair seem to have been brought to the surface, either by the hearings, or by the commentary in the press, or even by the schools that led us to this affair in the first place.
I want to talk about three issues which represent the failure of civics education in this country. The three questions are: 1) what is wrong with pursuing secret private funding for what are called special operations – that is, covert action operations; 2) what is wrong with pursuing a secret policy, such as our overtures to Iran; and 3) doesn't the doctrine of plausible denial to some extent require that the president be shielded from being implicated in covert operations?
On each of these issues Admiral Poindexter and Lt. Colonel North were admirably forthcoming. I am inclined to think this is because they sincerely saw nothing wrong. And they didn't think that any fair-minded, non-politically motivated person would either.
Constitutional Law | Law | Political Science
Philip C. Bobbitt,
Lessons of the Iran-contra Affair: Are They Being Taught?,
Update on L.-Related Educ.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/4207