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20 October 1994
Dictatorship of Virtue: Multiculturalism and the Battle for America’s Future 
by Richard Bernstein.
Knopf, 367 pp., $25, September 1994, 0 679 41156 9
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... belief has made it possible for the racists, the sexists and the homophobes to dismiss criticism by sneering: ‘Gosh. You mean my political correctness indoctrination isn’t advanced enough?’ (OliverNorth, made famous by his lies to Congress, seems likely to win election to the US Senate in my own state of Virginia. When black and white liberals protested the display of the Confederate flag on a ...
19 December 1991
Under Fire: An American Story 
by Oliver North and William Novak.
HarperCollins, 446 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 06 018334 9
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Terry Waite: Why was he kidnapped? 
by Gavin Hewitt.
Bloomsbury, 230 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 7475 0375 3
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... When did the Irangate scandal start? The official answer is late 1985. The Tower Commission report, a slovenly document which does not even boast an index, starts its story in that year. Col OliverNorth, the man who, according to the received version, thought up the idea of selling arms to secure the release of American hostages in Beirut, tells us: ‘My own operational involvement began ... on the ...


Michael Rogin

13 October 1988
Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver​ North 
by Ben Bradlee.
Grafton, 572 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 246 13364 3
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For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington 
by Donald Regan.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 09 173622 6
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... the Reagan White House between the personal and the political, the historical and the imaginary, were not the evidence offered by the President and his circle so compelling. Guts and Glory portrays OliverNorth, who enacted the anti-Communist part of Reagan. For the Record, written by the man who became his chief male caretaker, casts the President’s wife as the villain. When these current ...
3 December 1992
An Evil Cradling 
by Brian Keenan.
Hutchinson, 297 pp., £16.99, September 1992, 0 09 175208 6
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Hostage: The Complete Story of the Lebanese Captives 
by Con Coughlin.
Little, Brown, 461 pp., £16.99, October 1992, 0 316 90304 3
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... Road elicited a lively appreciation of the neglected art of the Western. A short time later, when Terry Waite was held hostage in Beirut, journalists found themselves asking what his links were with OliverNorth. I have on my desk the daubs of a class of five-year-olds from Stockport, Cheshire, who were commissioned to re-create the scenes that the TV man John McCarthy would have missed during his ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dick Cheney’s Homepage

18 November 2004
... Most of the things that Nichols accuses Cheney of aren’t the sorts of thing governments usually like to boast about: funnelling tax-payers’ money into Halliburton, sidelining Congress, giving OliverNorth and John Poindexter an easy ride over Iran-Contra. Blaming Cheney absolves Bush, and election-winning numbers of people vote not according to a party’s policies but on a candidate’s ...

Programmed to Fail

Edward Luttwak

22 December 1994
... activists as interested in outlawing abortion as in reducing taxes. Sometimes those activists promote candidates just like themselves, too extreme to have much electoral appeal: hence the fact that OliverNorth failed, despite all his money and the weakness of the two opponents who divided the anti-North vote. More often, however, the new Republican activists are fielding non-fanatical ‘culturally ...

Look over your shoulder

Christopher Hitchens

25 May 1995
... on the talk-radio circuit; the ones who won’t let up on him and his wife and who insinuate that he murdered Vince Foster. Now, it is true that people like Rush Limbaugh and Gordon Liddy and OliverNorth, the soldiers of fortune of the airwaves, have made observations that flirt with incitement. Limbaugh recently predicted a second and ‘violent’ American revolution in approving tones, and Liddy ...

Down there

Isabel Hilton

11 July 1991
In Search of the Assassin 
by Susie Morgan.
Bloomsbury, 207 pp., £15.99, May 1991, 0 7475 0401 6
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... for La Penca. As an operation, it didn’t make sense. Killing Pastora, who was as much a thorn in the flesh of the Contras as of the Sandinistas, might have seemed like a legitimate policy goal to OliverNorth. But that the CIA would try to kill him by blowing up a substantial part of the press corps seemed unthinkable. Unless, of course, it could be blamed on the Sandinistas. It was so unthinkable ...
7 November 1991
Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... with the Mafia, plotting to poison Fidel Castro’s cigars. Ronald Reagan’s White House was run to astrological time, and its chief spent his evenings discussing Armageddon theology with strangers. OliverNorth recruited convicted narcotics smugglers to run the secret war against Nicaragua. George Bush recruited Manuel Noriega to the CIA. As the Watergate hounds closed in, Henry Kissinger was implored ...

Institutional Hypocrisy

David Runciman: Selling the NHS

21 April 2005
Restoring Responsibility: Ethics in Government, Business and Healthcare 
by Dennis Thompson.
Cambridge, 349 pp., £16.99, November 2004, 0 521 54722 9
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NHS plc: The Privatisation of Our Healthcare 
by Allyson Pollock.
Verso, 271 pp., £15.99, September 2004, 1 84467 011 2
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Brown’s Britain 
by Robert Peston.
Short Books, 369 pp., £14.99, January 2005, 1 904095 67 4
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... slaves. Institutional hypocrisy can coincide with personal hypocrisy, but it doesn’t have to. It is also consistent with deep personal sincerity, and such sincerity will often be one of its causes. OliverNorth, for instance, was not a hypocrite in any conventional sense, in that his behaviour was neither primarily self-serving nor inconsistent. It was North’s sincerity that enabled him to subvert ...

Strait is the gate

Christopher Hitchens

21 July 1994
Watergate: The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon 
by Fred Emery.
Cape, 448 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 224 03694 7
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The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House 
by H.R. Haldeman.
Putnam, 698 pp., $27.50, May 1994, 0 399 13962 1
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... Tongsun Park. The brittle and amoral wits of the new Post-Modern New Republic actually ran a competition to summarise the bewildering complexity of the Iran-Contra affair, and got gates galore. Since OliverNorth and John Poindexter had communicated their fell designs through a system called the Prof computer, and since the thing hinged so much on transfers of hot and dirty money, I myself proudly came ...
1 September 1988
Citizen Cohn 
by Nicholas von Hoffman.
Harrap, 483 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 0 245 54605 7
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... cheek ... You ask for a moment’s delay before you begin your testimony because you want to wave a greeting to your little mother who is sitting up in New York watching on television.’ Lt Colonel OliverNorth must have been watching. Cohn and McCarthy were disgraced in the hearings, shown up for what they were. Cohn lost his staff position, McCarthy was censured by the Senate. Nevertheless, there ...

What is this Bernard?

Christopher Hitchens

10 January 1991
Good and Faithful Servant: The Unauthorised Biography of Bernard Ingham 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 202 pp., £14.99, December 1990, 0 571 16108 1
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... these many years. Their release is a demand made by many local fundamentalist factions, including those supposed to be the captors of Terry Waite. They were also the subject of covert talks between OliverNorth and the Ayatollah’s men during a time when Mrs Thatcher was publicly exonerating Ronald Reagan of the charge of hostage-trading. So much is known. Any news of them today? Suddenly, HMG ...

Against it

Ross McKibbin

24 February 1994
For the Sake of Argument 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Verso, 353 pp., £19.95, May 1993, 0 86091 435 6
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... classic case of the classic case is of course the United States, and the bulk of these essays are directly or indirectly about America – particularly the America of Kissinger, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, OliverNorth, the CIA, the Shah, the Contras, Castro and the Cubans, Vietnam, Saddam Hussein, the Gulf War, Shamir and the Likud. What this catalogue does to you rather depends on where you stand. To ...

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