In This Review

Perilous Statecraft: An Insider's Account Of The Iran-Contra Affair
Perilous Statecraft: An Insider's Account Of The Iran-Contra Affair
By Michael A. Ledeen
Scribner's, 1988, 307 pp

A fascinating, if self-important, account of the origins and aftermath of the U.S. sale of arms to Iran in return for the release of hostages. The author, acting as a consultant to the State Department and National Security Council, was an early intermediary for contacts with Israeli and Iranian actors. He was not involved in the diversion of funds to the contras. He criticizes Oliver North for overweening ambition and loss of perspective, but believes that North, McFarlane, Poindexter and Secord all had noble intentions. They made mistakes, he says, but did not commit crimes. The real devil in the piece is Congress, especially the committees and staffs investigating the affair.