PERILOUS STATECRAFT: An Insider's Account of the Iran-Contra Affair by Michael A. Ledeen

PERILOUS STATECRAFT: An Insider's Account of the Iran-Contra Affair

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A semi-sensational post-mortem on the Iran-contra affair from a sometime insider who misses few opportunities to assert the innocence and greater good of his involvement. An advisor to Alexander Haig while he was Secretary of State, Ledeen resigned shortly after his mentor did--but continued to accept consulting assignments from unidentified ""people in government"" following his return to Georgetown's Center for Strategic and International Studies. While on the job, presumably for the NSC, the author was a low-level participant in the renegade enterprise whereby the US (using Israel as an intermediary) sold arms to Iran in hopes of freeing hostages held in Beirut--and to obtain funds for anti-Sandinista forces in Central America. Ledeen offers a generally lucid briefing on the ill-fated scheme's origins and evoution; in addition, he provides vivid, first-hand impressions of fellow accessories--Casey, Ghorbanifar, McFarlane, Nir, North, Peres, Poindexter, et al.--that help explain how matters eventually got out of hand. The author also provides some mildly titillating disclosures. By his account, McFarlane secured approval to sell weapons to Iran from a President still in a postoperative haze, ""one reason why [Reagan's] memory about the discussion has always been rather fuzzy."" Ledeen intimates as well that Saudi Arabia was apprised of the failed initiative (by Adnan Khashoggi) and tacitly endorsed it. Equally fascinating are the author's repeated attempts to distance himself from the project's loonier ends and means. By way of example, Ledeen claims to have begged McFarlane to forgo a personal mission to Teheran on grounds that his presence would strenghten the Khomeini regime's position rather than that of moderates whom he and the Administration sought to support. A coherent and consistently engaging rundown on an epic scandal from a less-than-disinterested source.

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1988
Publisher: Scribners