POINTING NORTH…. I can appreciate the notion that congressional Republicans would bring in some outside advisors to offer policy advice to lawmakers. This, however, seems like a very bad idea.

House Republicans have a new foreign policy adviser with a controversial pedigree: Oliver North.

North, an aide on Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council who is best known for his role in the Iran-Contra scheme to sell arms to Iran and divert the funds to Nicaraguan revolutionaries in the 1980s, was the special guest at a House Republican Conference meeting on Tuesday. North was convicted on three counts related to the Iran-Contra scandal and his efforts to cover it up, but the convictions were later overturned.

By all accounts, North told GOP lawmakers exactly what they wanted to hear — send tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops in Afghanistan, or the war will be “lost.”

Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) explained, “Col. North is someone who enjoys the very broad respect of the House Republican Conference.”

I don’t doubt that’s true, but that hardly makes it better.

North was at the heart of the most serious political scandal since Watergate, misled Congress, and destroyed documents as part of a systemic cover-up.

House Republicans couldn’t find someone else to talk to about U.S. policy in Afghanistan?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.