This book examines the Iran-Contra affair, the trials of Poindexter and North and the testimony of Ronald Reagan as a test-case of political morality. It draws out the implications of the statements of North and his secretary, Fawn Hall, who were so convinced of the moral rightness of their actions that they were prepared to break the law, lie and destroy vital evidence. It tries to ascertain what was going on in the minds of these people and especially in that of the President who claimed not to be cognizant of the actions of his subordinates.
Part 1 Pictures on a screen: the politics of illusion; unseen, unknown; secret agents and mystery papers; the scandal as cinema. Part 2 Just cause and holy war: flag, country, cause; justifying Nicaragua; bartering for bodies; bakhshish. Part 3 Obedience: soldiers and servants; lawful orders; chains of command; the men responsible. Part 4 What's right and what's legal: on the edge of the law; right and wrong; criminal inquiries. Part 5 Lives and lies: the realm of the lie; questions and answers; "A damn good story".