Regarding Ollie: in Search of the True North

Regarding your editorial``The Ollie North Vote,'' June 9: I spent two tours of duty in Washington, and became most familiar with the inner and outer workings of the executive and legislative branches of government.

Lt. Col. Oliver North was a warrior - a valiantly proven fighting marine who was a little out of place in the office of the national security adviser to the president. He possessed the fighter's can-do spirit that makes our armed forces so great. Everything he did and said was in service to his country and the head of state.

Your editorial fails to acknowledge his previous service and the high motives that drive this marine. Expressions like ``a rough and ready outsider,'' and ``his full-metal-jacket rhetoric'' are indicative of a venomous attitude toward an individual who has chosen to fight, as is his nature, rather than quit.

And in your haste to identify GOP leaders who oppose Mr. North, you made a bad choice in singling out Sen. Bob Dole. Lefteris Lavrakas, Costa Mesa, Calif., Captain (USN, ret.)

Regarding Ollie: in Search of the True North

Hard on the heels of your editorial on Sen. Bob Dole's rejection of Lt. Col. Oliver North came the news that Mr. Dole had recanted, and to show his commitment, had sent a $5,000 donation to the North campaign.

Imagine the reaction to North's incendiary remarks if he were an African American or a native American. Would conservative white America stand by as he spoke of storming the Hill? The reaction would be instantaneous and overwhelming.

Yet we stand by as the self-righteous behaviors that characterized policies of slavery, the winning of the West, and the extermination of some native American tribes play themselves out again, probably because we have not yet come to terms with our history, and so are doomed to see its repetition. One of the deepest ironies is that North's supporters call themselves followers of Jesus, a man who preached love toward all and left no room for such hatred.

When Mr. Dole joined the fold, another brief flicker of integrity on the Hill was extinguished. Andrew Seager, Portland, Maine

Regarding Ollie: in Search of the True North The editorial contained a commonly mistaken charge, that Lt. Col. Oliver North lied under oath. He readily admitted evading the truth in testifying before a subcommittee, but he was not sworn in. He did tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when testifying under oath before the Senate panel. In legal matters that difference is crucial. Moreover, had he lied under oath he would have been indicted and convicted of perjury. Howard Naslund, Annapolis, Md.

Regarding Ollie: in Search of the True North

In the article ``On Ollie North, Don't Get Technical,'' June 13, the author discusses the phrase ``on a technicality'' as it may be generally used and as it particularly applies to the case of Lt. Col. Oliver North.

With respect to Mr. North: Brendan Sullivan counseled his client wisely to tell the truth during the Iran-contra hearings. In uniform, wearing his service decorations and medals of valor, North appeared before the nation to state the equivalent of, ``Yes, sir, I lied, I misled, I stole, and I did it because I have a better sense of right and wrong than you do.'' By accepting the grant of immunity for this testimony, North escaped the constraints on his rights as a citizen that would have come from convictions in a court of law. That these convictions did not stick, and that they were reversed ``on a technicality'' does not change North's prior public testimony. It was in that arena that North convicted himself in the eyes of many. That conviction cannot be erased ``on a technicality.'' That an individual with his background can resign his conscience or disregard it so entirely to now seek a position of power in the state is an insult to the perception that informs all daily intercourse. David O. Matson, Suffolk, Va.

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