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Let Oliver North Go To Jail

Of course Ollie North should go to prison.
The jury has rightfully rejected North's distorted notion that a decorated military man is above the law. North and his gang of squalid schemers were manipulative, secretive and intensely dishonest.

In accepting an expensive security fence for his home from an arms dealer, North showed us the easy scruples of the crooked cop.

North says he took the fence to protect his family from terrorists. The only thing that wire fence would fend off was autograph seekers.

North pleaded innocence in the same way the Nazi generals did at Nuremberg.

He was, after all, only following orders.
We are still on the trail of these orders. Did they come from President Ronald Reagan? Was then-Vice President George Bush involved?

Here is a fascinating insight into North as written by Jane Mayer and Doyle McManus in Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984-1988:

"North was a relentless self-promoter and a spellbinding storyteller, almost as good as Reagan himself."

Here's one of the stories he told most frequently about his role in the invasion of Grenada, according to Mayer and McManus:

"North was the man who actually got Reagan's signature on the order dispatching the Marines. But once the troops had landed, he worried that the 350 American medical students didn't know they were being rescued.

"They might walk off the planes and say they never felt any danger in Grenada at all, bringing the entire operation into question.

"North bolted into Reagan's office.
"`What's the matter, Ollie?' the President asked.
"`The medical students,' North said, explaining his concern.
"`Come with me,' Reagan said, leading North to a television monitor.

"Just then the jets landed. A young student came off the plane and fell to his knees and kissed the ground.

"`You see, Ollie,' the President said, `You ought to have more faith in the American people.' "It was a great story. It tugged at the patriotic heartstrings when North told it over and over again. Only it wasn't true. But it placed North at the center of great events where he always wanted to be." There's so much we still don't know. It was Reagan himself who once predicted: "If the story gets out, we'll all be hanging by our thumbs in front of the White House." North lied under oath. He criminally obstructed a congressional committee. He destroyed public records to foster a cover-up.

He accepted money under the table.
More than any man in recent public life, North has created his own persona as public hero.

He was the man on the white horse who came before Congress in a Marine uniform bedecked with ribbons.

North wowed the television audiences. He was so good that he now commands $25,000 per speech.

But Oliver North can wrap himself in the flag as tightly as he wants. Just let him do his time in jail.

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Tom Fitzpatrick