Did retired Lt. Col. Oliver North really just say that a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell could mean a return to the draft? Yes, in an appearance today on Fox News’ Happening Now, North said DADT repeal could mean a loss of 30 percent of military personnel, and that an all-volunteer force could not survive such a loss.
Twenty years ago this summer, a nation sat in rapt attention as a lesson in geography, international affairs, Washington political intrigue and White House mismanagement was carried live across the airwaves.
When the time came for North’s testimony, he proclaimed the diversion “a neat idea.” An approving television audience agreed. North, who master-minded illegal and unconstitutional executive branch schemes, became a national hero. Lectures and book deals followed. North was an instant hit. Thousands of letters and telegrams poured into congressional offices, most supporting the patriotic Marine.
Well, Oliver North wasn’t a hit with me, instant or otherwise.
I was living in coastal North Carolina, sporadically employed by an alcoholic lucky-heir southerner who owned a commercial greenhouse during the Iran-Contra hearings. If my employer was sober on any given day we were called to work and if he wasn’t, we weren’t. Peter wasn’t sober a whole lot that summer.
It was hot. I kept the front door open and sat in what we called “the front room” and watched the hearings. I watched so consistently that the mail carrier once stuck his head in and asked me what was going on. He wanted an update.
Sitting in a tiny frame house in coastal North Carolina, I was repelled by Oliver North. Each time he would widen his eyes in feigned innocence and his face would assume that martyred, sanctimonious expression that he favors I came to dislike and distrust him just a little more.
Just one of many, many times I was completely out of step with the nation.