Since the death of George H.W. Bush on Nov. 30, 2018, many have eulogized him. A patrician World War II hero, Bush spent much of his adult life in public service. He represents an era and a style of politics whose passing many Americans lament—where country could transcend party loyalty, public service was considered noble and grace valued. Bush was of course not perfect and there are decisions he made in his long life one can disagree with. I too disagree with some. Nonetheless, I will always remember and cherish the week I got to spend with the then-vice president in January 1988.
That week, I was chosen to help Vice President Bush prepare for his deposition by the Office of Iran-Contra Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh and to represent him during that proceeding. By then I had worked in the Office of White House Counsel for almost a year. In March 1987 I joined the new White House Iran-Contra Legal Task Force after, as a U.S. Army officer, serving in Pentagon roles dealing with diplomacy and international law. The Iran-Contra Affair became a public crisis for the Reagan White House in fall 1986. In a nutshell, the Reagan administration without congressional authority sold arms to Iran, an enemy of the United States, and used profits from those sales to support, contrary to U.S. law, the Nicaraguan “contras,” armed opponents to that country’s Sandinista government.
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