When Oliver North was announced as the new president of the National Rifle Association there were two things that went through my mind.
The first was- he has some previous experience in freelancing at espionage in something of a treasonous way and the second – a couple of strong parallels to the political rise of Hitler early on.
The disgraced former Marine Colonel was kicked out of the military for lying, being a jerk and basically not walking away from an ongoing series of related underhanded unsanctioned crazy mid to late 80’s CIA dark money scams to fund illegal weapons trade to people who were definitely not supposed to have them. Technically it was lying and taking at least one bribe that ends his military career (in front of a disgusted nation).
Now, poised to take the over Putin’s Favorite Anti-Government Organization theres an argument to be made Oliver North is one of the most influential people in all of America and indeed the world.
a totally accurate early Anti-North Meme
Ollie was born October 7, 1943, a birthday he shares with Cuban baseball hero Jose Cardenal. The city where he leapt, gun in hand, from his mothers womb was Gun lovin’ San Antonio Texas; a town best known for the amazing Mexican Military Victory against illegal aliens and anti-government forces in the Battle of the Alamo.
Pretty much immediately after Ollies born the North’ move north to liberal New York. Actually, to a non Metropolitan part of New York State the city people refer to as “Upstate”. It’s probably more like central Ohio than your vision of New York. It’s usually pretty Republican. But dont worry, you can be sure he’s gonna play that thar Texas thing up in his new gig.
Growing up you’d have to imagine that “The Rifleman” was young ollies favorite show, but “Gunsmoke” is probably in the mix too.
Young Oliver North took to going by Ollie. When High School rolled around he graduates from Ockawamick Central High School in 1961. He competes with double justified manslaughterer and Superbowl XXXV MVP Ray Lewis of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens for most famous alumni. I’m sure North would not have much sympathy for Lewis though,
despite the killings being deemed justified (self-defense). This is because not only is Lewis african american, but he used a knife. North would just frown on any missed opportunity to use a gun to kill someone legally. Fortunately they graduate decades apart so no shot of an awkward moment at the Class Reunion.
For the record Lewis seems to have regret for what happened and has made some positive contributions to society after his troubled phase. What I’m saying is he’s at this point a much better person than someone like North. He’s also a good NFL analyst.
Anyway he sort of briefly attends SUNY Brockport, which is not exactly Stony Brook or Buff State as far as competitiveness. In other words he went to an okay but by no means great college. He never graduates from there anyway. For some reason after two years at Brockport he went to some Marine Corps event at Quantico and caught the military bug.
He ends up graduating Annapolis in 1968. While he’s there he ends up boxing Jim Webb, the future War Hero and US Senator. Im guessing Webb won, he’s kind of an intimidating guy. He also marries wife Betsy in 1967. Thats right, during the Summer of Free Love and Peace Ollies getting hitched and heading for War. So he’s just not typical of his generation that way.
Unlike Draft Dodger Wayne LaPierre , North has a full resume of medals for all sorts of stuff while he was deployed in Vietnam. In fact had he not broken his oath not to be underhanded he’d be an inspirational figure to a point. He is free from Wayne LaPierre’s Achilles heel of Draft Dodging. Ollie North is a combat veteran with an impressive record.
Ollie North in Vietnam
It seems Ollie North really liked being a combat Marine and he was good at it, no two ways about it. Like Hitler he was wounded twice and volunteered twice. Both were at home in war. Wikipedia says he’s a platoon commander, so assume he probably goes from lieutenant to captain. Im still researching the dates of his promotions. By around 1971 the wars winding down and Ollie is doing other stuff for the Corps. North ends up training people in Japan. He was probably okay at this too.
Then he spends the rest of the 70s and early 80s doing various stateside jobs including a stint studying at the prestigious Naval War College where he graduates in 1981.
At this point hes so qualified he ends up on the National Security Council, which is the principal means by which the United States president communicates and controls the US Military. Its a very important job and a feather in North’s cap. To complete the triumph he becomes a lieutenant colonel.
Who knows how many extremely uncool and possibly illegal things Ollie North is up to while he’s basically working for military intelligence? He seems to have excelled at “Bag Man.”
Whether it be cutting shady deals with Pineapple Face Noriega or his more sinister involvement with the Iran – Contra Affair, Ollie North was ready to jump right in there and take care of it. Sort of a Military Michael Cohen.
Wining and dining on yachts with aspiring Bond Villains and various El Presidente’s is sort of what North is up to at this point. He’s like a CIA Goon with some real power. He can broker you an air corridor for your cocaine. He can maybe call off the US Coast Guard for a moment, or at least tell you where they wont be. He can get the US Ambassador to listen to you a bit more and he probably can negotiate you a sweet deal on US weapons. He must have felt like a Spy from some kind of movie. He probably is hearing his own staccato guitar theme music when he walks around.
At some point he accepts something that gets deemed a bribe and it probably was just that. Whether it was a scat of cash, a luxury vacation or a gold plated ak-47 is something I’m still running down, but he was smart enough to know better.
The Iran-Contra Affair is a whole blog post, long story short – it was about the CIA, Military Intelligence and members of the Executive Branch of the US Government using money obtained by illegally selling arms to Embargoed and Sanctioned Iran (which was all sorts of Illegal and maybe a bit treasonous) and using the profits to fund Nicaraguan Anti-Government (but Pro US) Guerillas. The Contra’s were truly terrible guys and I guess today we’d call them Narco-Terrorists.
Closer to home- there was a not so crazy perception the CIA had in a proxy way dealt drugs to the American people. Somewhat more immoral; it then used the drug money to basically fund BOTH sides of a war! Remember we’re DOWN with Saddam’s Iraq at that point and they’re getting military aid from us. Then we turned around and sold weapons to the Iranians to resist him with (when he attacked them with the weapons we gave him).
It was wrong. It was obviously deeply immoral and its the sort of task he could and should have walked away from. Hey, other people absolutely did. Does the US Government need a Bag Man? Maybe, but is that Bag Man then supposed to be able to turn around and be a spokesman for our way of life? Seems a bit perverse, huh?
The Bag Man role had him enabling all the wrong people to do all the worst things. The most disturbing charge that could be levied against Oliver North of course has to be helping the US to arm both sides in a war. It’s profoundly evil. Truthfully; Oliver North is the stuff Black Sabbath lyrics.
Hey, in the 80’s we did some foul shit no doubt. Ollie North knew or helped out in a considerable percentage of it. He’s not the kind of guy who should have a big podium in our national Discourse. Sadly he’s now got just that.
You would think espionage work would make in very cautious, that’s not the case here though. North was kind of a sloppy spy. He was only just so capable. I mean, sure, he did have a hot secretary he almost definitely bangs but after that he’s really no James Bond.
He’s arming enemies of America Allies (and who knows who else), and then giving that money to what amounts to murderous South American anarchists on their best day. His spy career ends with him getting caught and disgraced. Money, Sex, Cocaine, Anarchy. That was the 80s.
North’s Secretary Faun Hall
North ended up in front of Congress in July of 1987 in the Reagan administrations primary scandal ; The aforementioned Iran Contra Affair. North lies about a bunch of stuff and comes off like mafioso in a military uniform. In other words; he was the worst ever image of a professional American Warrior.
Iran-Contra was toxic. It almost ends George HW Bush on the spot; but the administration was popular, so they make it.
Tom Clancy’s book and movie “Clear and Present Danger” is loosely based on the scandal.
In an ironic side note; George HW Bush is a notable critic of the NRA and has been known to talk smack about the UnAmerican rantings of the organization. When former NRA President Wayne LaPierre called US Government Agents “Jack Booted Thugs” over the tragic mistakes of the Ruby Ridge Fiasco the combat veteran former president had had enough. Frequently criticized for an apparent lack of zeal, the understated Bush had no problem issuing a scathing dismissal of the now former NRA president;”Who the Hell IS Wayne LaPierre anyway?!” He then quit his membership in the organization with a terse letter. Bravo for HW on this one.
Back to North’s disasterous summer of 87-
Congress was angry as Hell at the Reagan administration and they were gonna nail someone.
Scrutiny fell on North. He’d done more than enough shady things and was a slam dunk to be tossed out of the military, so they torched him a little on national TV. It’s not like he was sympathetic.
He sat there in his Marine uniform and was, well, less than candid. Too vain to admit he cheated on his wife he had a bunch of silly sounding explanations for bizarre stuff. At one point he tries to explain away a trip to a Victoria Secret like women’s store (Parklane Hoisery) as innocent gifts for his daughters. No way was his secretary maybe only committing a bunch of crimes because she was involved with him and wanted to help him out shredding a bunch of stuff! It just looked that way and made the most sense. Not a great showing for Ollie on that one. I remember thinking he was just a liar at the time. It was a bit pathetic.
Charged with SIXTEEN felonies he initially goes down for 3 of them- accepting an illegal gratuity, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of that congressional inquiry I mentioned, and most damning ; ordering the destruction of documents. This is totally incompatible with the kind of things your supposed to do when you’re a Marine Officer, so that goes away in a disgraceful manner. Essentially for lying to Congress, but they had other grounds too. Lying to Congress, sure, destroying evidence. Thais kind of dishonorable. Throw in cheating on his wife, while he might have gotten away with just that, it was part of an avalanche of burning garbage and nobody was about to take a bullet for Bag Man.
Life was never the same after that for Ollie. He was the Marine who lied to Congress about drugs and worse. Frustrating any personal redemption was that North had a Nuremburg-like defense about his actions. He was simply following orders. No one really bought it though.
Lying his way out of the Military in front of Congress
While his excuse was technically true he was an American Marine Corps Officer and he had the freedom to walk away and let someone else be the US Bag Man for what amounts to Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. No one would have court marshalled him for saying he just didn’t feel right about doing something underhanded. And he would have remained in his beloved Marine Corps.
So the bottom line- Ollie North is out there with no job and unable to really capitalize on the most interesting aspect of his life- meeting Bond Villains and hearing their insane Bond Villain plans (with no personal jeopardy).
Like all true crooked egomaniacs Ollie’s True North was politics. In 1994 he loses a bid to be Senator from Virginia as a Republican. While North never made it out of the primary for some reason the documentary movie about it is called “The Perfect Candidate”. I would think it refers to the guy who beat him? Because Ollie North stumbled into this one with a ‘Congressionally Certified Liar’ label and ‘disgraced tossed out ex military’ status as baggage and would seem more a Nightmare Candidate to anyone not on meth.
Consider the 1994 Congressional run his Beer Hall Putsch. It’s a disaster but he declares victory and moves on.
Bouncing around as a speaker he must have been super relieved in 1996 when Fox News starts. Im not sure when he gets wrapped up with them but he’s hosting a third-rate military History show on the network by 2002. I love military documentaries, but rah-rah ‘War Stories with Oliver North” sucked. “Spy Stories with Oliver North” on the other hand, probably would have been pretty good. But the problem was that being a spy, the coolest thing he really did despite being a dick about it, was something he still kind of wouldn’t admit.
Early 2000’s – Fox News Warrior
To bolster his show and his rep he starts messing around on Fox as a pundit on whatever they threw at him. He responds by giving the Fox people what they want. He espouses seriously right-wing views and learns how to be a fire-breathing right wing nut when called upon to do so.
Which brings us to now and the second Hitler parallel. Having once been a War Hero North jumps the shark by joining a Super Right Wing Anti-Government Group. The Fascist National Rifle Association.
These days Ollie North is the new NRA President. We can expect the usual UnAmerican rantings his platform is known for. So in other words- Long anti-Government and anti-Police rants. A lot of Xenophobia, frequent allusions to Nazi Germany especially regarding Goverbment Law Enforcemnt. He will suggest that more guns answers all questions. We know he will absolutely get very rich. For comparison Wayne LaPierre pulled down 5 million a year in his tenure.
As the leader of America’s most influential Putin-Backed Anti-Government Group he’s a long way from that brave combat Marine of the early 70s. He’s a shadowy image of that now. A Liar and soon to be making all the predictable NRA Anti-American statements. Its his job now and it pays awesome!
He’ll imply the police are incompetent and hesitant to act. He will imply being unarmed is UnAmerican. He’s gonna have to go out there and join Dana Loesch and Colion Noir as one of the Reverse Superheroes that are the NRA Victim Mocking Goon Squad. He will call FBI Agents and Federal Law Enforcement Agents stormtroopers or otherwise liken them to Nazis or Stalin’s guys. If he hasn’t done all these things in the next 12 months I’ll amend this post, but we all know I wont have to.
I guess the previous semi-Treasonous experience makes him a great pick.
Talking smack about massacre survivors and pushing anti government conspiracies is a dream job if you’re a bad-hearted liar. So it seems North has found his niche.
Oliver & Betsy North