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29 Year Old Oddity

I was going through my old files and I came across this oddity from 1989, about President Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal …

This is odd because I didn’t have a job as a political cartoonist until 1996, seven years later. I was a toy inventor and designer back in 1989 and I don’t remember drawing this; I remember the news, though.

Colonel Oliver North, the Fox News pundit and the newest president of the NRA, was convicted for his role in secretly selling arms to Iran (which was under an arms embargo) to fund the “Contra” rebels  in Nicaragua. There was a lot of speculation about Reagan pardoning North and others involved at the very end of his term in January 1989, but in the end North got a light sentence with no jail time and Reagan was off the hook on the politically difficult “pocket pardon” decision. The next president George H. W. Bush, handed out a batch of pardons, including one to frequent cable news pundit Elliot Abrams –the faces in the news don’t change much.

According to Wikipedia:  In the end, fourteen administration officials were indicted, including then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Eleven convictions resulted, some of which were vacated on appeal. The rest of those indicted or convicted were all pardoned in the final days of the presidency of George H. W. Bush, who had been Vice President at the time of the affair.

President Reagan was off the political hook because people thought he didn’t know what was going on –in other words “no collusion,” at least not on the part of the president. Reagan, and later George H. W. Bush, refused to declassify documents, making prosecutions difficult. Presidents are in a powerful position to stymie investigations into their own government’s officials.

All of this is to say that the past looks a lot like the present. Nicaragua and Iran are still ugly messes. Our President Trump, who may be as clueless as Reagan was, is making investigations difficult and threatening pardons.

I like drawing Reagan; maybe I came to this profession a few years too late.

By Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle is the founder and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is one of the most widely published editorial cartoonists and is also the editor of The Cagle Post.

One reply on “29 Year Old Oddity”

Regarding Bush’s pardons of the criminals in Reagan’s admin– some things don’t change. It really is difficult to understand the rationale for giving the exec branch this power. It makes a mockery of the court system and equal justice under the law when used for political purposes. No doubt Trump will do his best to make as big a mockery as he can of our legal system and show that having enough political clout and money can buy your way out of anything.

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