oliver north
Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr

Oliver North made an appearance on Fox & Friends yesterday and expressed support for President Trump’s decision to break our country’s commitment to the Iran nuclear deal. During that appearance, he stated that the Europeans only support the deal because they want to trade with Iran, and he made a suggestion: “If we sanction [Iran] again, we ought to sanction anybody else who does business with them,” North said. “That’ll stop the Euros from helping to bail them out while they cheat on this program.”

North is an odd choice to be sending that message.

Early on the morning of May 25, 1986, North and five others boarded a Boeing 707 aircraft in Tel Aviv. They were bound for Tehran, the capital of revolutionary Iran, to exchange Hawk missile parts for American hostages held in Lebanon. North had already spent several months working secretly to provide missiles to Iran to secure funds for illegally bankrolling the Nicaraguan contras.

Despite North’s cocky enthusiasm and assurance that the operation would go “peachy keen,” the May 1986 foreign-policy gamble was a disaster from the beginning. After three days of bluffing and bickering with low-level Iranians in Tehran, North and colleagues shamefacedly returned to Washington. The pallet of missile parts remained in Iran. The hostages remained in Lebanon.

It was even more ridiculous than that:

All six adventurers carried Irish passports. Oliver North, who had chosen the pseudonyms “Blood and Guts” and “Steelhammer,” took the code name “Mr. Goode” for this operation.

To ingratiate his colleagues and himself with the Iranians, North brought along a chocolate cake fresh from a kosher bakery in Tel Aviv. During the flight, he dramatically opened the cake box and placed a brass key on the middle of the cake. This, he later told the Iranians, was the key to opening Iranian-American relations.

North thought that he could con the Iranians. He has said, “I lied every time that I met the Iranians.” As the unfortunate outcome of the Iran overture indicates, North’s admitted lying and his attempt to con the Iranians failed miserably.

False passports, colorful pseudonyms, and chocolate cakes are not the essence of prudent diplomacy.

The best part of the story is that the Iranians ratted him out. The Iran-Contra story was broken by a Syrian-backed Lebanese newspaper named Ash-Shiraa.

No American is better known than Oliver North for trading with the Iranian regime. No American is better known for being duped and played for a sucker by the Iranian regime.

This record is good enough though to make him the go-to guy for Fox & Friends. Apparently, selling weapons to the Iranians in exchange for little more than humiliation and exposure is a good enough credential for the National Rifle Association to make him their president.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com