'Give Me Liberty Or...How About a Small Fine?'

The bells of freedom are ringing loud and long in our nation's capital as the last of the proud patriots accused of aiding the contras have had their good names cleared by the courts.

Free, now, to return to their comfortable suburban homes are Col. Oliver North, the man's man with a boyish smile; Adm. John Poindexter, the calm and bookish father figure with his ever-present pipe; and our personal favorite, Elliott Abrams, the hard-working State Department bureaucrat who cleverly disguised his compassionate heart by only pretending to be a ranting anti-communist with a taste for state-sponsored murder and torture.

And the courts' rulings are final. Col. North: charges dismissed. Adm. Poindexter: charges dismissed. Elliott Abrams: $50 fine (an outrage!).

These good Christian men--these fine Americans--had suffered through countless false accusations that they had engineered a secret war against the Nicaraguan people (well, actually, the accusations weren't false, since they did engineer a secret war against the Nicaraguan people). They were falsely accused of lying to Congress about their activities (well, actually, they did lie to Congress). They were falsely accused of violating judicial process by selectively altering their testimonies and by coaching each other outside the courtroom (well, actually, they did do that, too). And they were falsely accused of destroying evidence (well, OK, they did that as well).

But now, because of congressional mistakes and a judicial technicality, they are, in the words of Col. North, "completely exonerated." President George Bush hailed the recent events by saying, "The system works."

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Sojourners Magazine February-March 1992
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