The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Ronald Reagan Should have Been Convicted of Treason and Impeached

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,554 times Debate No: 43643
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




First round is acceptance only.
Second round is construction only.
No new arguments may be brought up in the final round. This includes new rebuttals/responses. You may only use this round to summarize, clarify, and/or restate what you have already said.

This debate is in reference to Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States; it is also referencing the Iran-Contra Scandal in the 80s.


I accept your challenge.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting my challenge.

Under US law, treason is defined as such:

Treason-Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.(1)

For this debate, I seek to sufficiently prove that 40th POTUS Ronal Reagan was indeed guilty of treason following the Iran-Contra affair. This is to assume that the decision reached by the courts over the matter, were wrong in not convicting Reagan himself for the scandal. The Con may not say "Because the court found him innocent, he is innocent!" but rather may say, "For these reasons the court found him innocent, so he is innocent!" if he so chooses.

The Scandal
From '85 to '87

"The Iran–Contra affair, also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or the Iran–Contra scandal, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo. Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of several hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.

The scandal began as an operation to free the seven American hostages being held in Lebanon by a group with Iranian ties connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to Iran, and then the United States would resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of the U.S. hostages. The plan deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages" (2)

-Iran was subject of an arms embargo
-Further funding of Nicaraguan contras was banned by Boland Amendment
-The Reagan Administration violated the arms embargo by providing iranians with arms, and violated the Boland Amendment by funding the Contras

Reagan's Involvement

"I want you to do whatever you have to do to help these people keep body and soul together." - Ronald Reagan to National Security Advisor on Hostages

"In 1985, while Iran and Iraq were at war, Iran made a secret request to buy weapons from the United States. McFarlane sought Reagan's approval, in spite of the embargo against selling arms to Iran. McFarlane explained that the sale of arms would not only improve U.S. relations with Iran, but might in turn lead to improved relations with Lebanon, increasing U.S. influence in the troubled Middle East."(3)

The actions that spurred the scandal were indeed approved by Reagan, even though he acted mostly with the safety of those hostages in mind. Reagan's approval of this action makes him a co-conspirator to commit treason, as he did knowlingly approve operations that violated an arms embargo, us law, and even his own campaign promises ( to never negotiate with terrorists).

"Reagan, McFarlane and CIA director William Casey supported it. With the backing of the president, the plan progressed. By the time the sales were discovered, more than 1,500 missiles had been shipped to Iran. Three hostages had been released, only to be replaced with three more, in what Secretary of State George Shultz called "a hostage bazaar."(3)

With both the support and approval of Reagan, Iranian terrorists were being prompted to take more and more hostages to acquire thousands of missiles and other weaponry.

The Coverup

"When the Lebanese newspaper "Al-Shiraa" printed an exposé on the clandestine activities in November 1986, Reagan went on television and vehemently denied that any such operation had occurred. He retracted the statement a week later, insisting that the sale of weapons had not been an arms-for-hostages deal."(3)

Not only did he knowingly commit these treasonous acts, he then went on to knowlingly lie about them. First, he denied the operations existance, then he denied the truth of the matter. This is similar to Nixon's involvement with the watergate scandal (except Nixon didn't order the covert actions, only covered them up). Nixon was in the process of impeachment and conviction when he resigned as president and was later pardoned. Reagan is in a very similar situation to this, except he took the extra step further and actually aided in the premeditation and execution of the actions.(4)

The Treasonous Actions of Reagan

The actions that Reagan took are treasonous because he, The President of the United States, knowingly approved and supported a foreign policy that A) Violated US law B) Violated an arms embargo against an enemy of America C) assissted terrorists that were taking US citizens as hostages. These are all acts that knowlingly gave aid to enemies of the United States, and therefore are acts of treason.

Crime and Punishment

Just because one who commits a crime is well known and loved does not mean that they are any less guilty of their crime. Just because one commits a crime with good intentions makes them no less guilty of that crime. For justice to be upheld, Reagan ought to have been convicted of treason and impeached, then, if his successor found his crimes forgivible due to his past actions and good intentions, he could be pardoned.



During my research into this I discovered that Ronald Reagan's code name was Rawhide. For the rest of the debate i will refer to him as such because I like the code name. I hope this is not too much of a cop-out but i will be nit-picking the legal matter rather than the actual events.

Treason: We were never officially at war with Iran. True we did provide aid to Iraq. But I do not believe this was technicality treason. But I am no lawyer so I understand if you wont take my word for it. However people were indited on charges (Not including Rawhide)

I have a list below of what i could find:

1. Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense, was indicted on two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice on June 16, 1992.
2. Robert C. McFarlane, National Security Adviser, convicted of withholding evidence, but after a plea bargain was given only two years of probation.
3. Elliott Abrams, Assistant Secretary of State, convicted of withholding evidence, but after a plea bargain was given only two years probation.
4. Alan D. Fiers, Chief of the CIA's Central American Task Force, convicted of withholding evidence and sentenced to one year probation.
5. Clair George, Chief of Covert Ops-CIA, convicted on two charges of perjury
6. Oliver North, member of the National Security Council convicted of accepting an illegal gratuity, obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and destruction of documents
7. Duane Clarridge. An ex-CIA senior official, he was indicted in November 1991 on seven counts of perjury and false statements relating to a November 1985 shipment to Iran.
8. Richard V. Secord. Ex-major general in the Air Force who organized the Iran arms sales and Contra aid. He pleaded guilty in November 1989 to making false statements to Congress

Source: Wikipedia. (Yes, I do thero research)
(there were more indited but they are ether dead or boring so I dident include them)

But as you can see no one that I could find was charged with treason. Simply they were charged with hiding information from the court or other things. The prosecutors who know the law better than me I am sure did not see treason as a legal option.
Debate Round No. 2



"We were never officially at war with Iran. True we did provide aid to Iraq. But I do not believe this was technicality treason."

The problem at hand though is that Rawhide was providing aid to terrorists who were taking American hostages. These were combatants who were enemies of the state.

"But as you can see no one that I could find was charged with treason. Simply they were charged with hiding information from the court or other things. The prosecutors who know the law better than me I am sure did not see treason as a legal option."

The largest flaw here is that new evidence has arisen to suggest that the charges made in the original court case were not accurate to the truth. That is the purpose of this debate.


My opponent creates an argument that doesn't clash with the resolution. He claims that Rawhide should not be convicted of treason because the courts did not find him guilty, or others involved guilty. This argument is invalid, as the court case was based on outdated evidence. Since the court case, loads of new evidence surrounding the scandal have arisen, and provide new light to the case, which we mut observe and evaluate. Rawhide was guilty of treason, as I have shown.



"The problem at hand though is that Rawhide was providing aid to terrorists who were taking American hostages. These were combatants who were enemies of the state"

The combatants that took american hostages were not Iranian soldiers. They were terrorist (Hezbollah). We did not provide aid to Hezbollah we provided it to the Iranian Government.

I stand by my claim that what Rawhide did was not treason. From what I have read on the sources you have cited. He simply wished to save 100 hostages and establish a better relation with Iran. I see no funds to Hezbollah. With more arms the Iranians could better control their radical groups.

The PRO is a member of the Green Party, They scheme in their flower covered tree-houses and must not be trusted.

Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent for an interesting debate!

As this is the final round, any points that my opponent has dropped cannot be rebutted, except by cross examination with previous points.

Dropped Points
-Rawhide did sell arms to iran
-Rawhide did give direct orders to do so
-When the terrorists discovered they could trade US hostages for arms, they began to capture more and more hostages
-Rawhide did purposefully cover up the scandal, and his involvement.
-Iran was under an arms embargo, which Rawhide Violated

My opponent only seeks to make the point that because Rawhide wanted to save lives by giving Iran arms, he was justified in his actions, but as you can see, because his actions prompted more hostages to be taken, his actions didn't help at all. He fails to rebut the fact that Rawhide did indeed give arms to a country that was under an arms embargo, and getting plenty of Americans taken hostage.



It has been a fun time :D

I will summarize my view.

No one who was charged was charged with treason.
Hezbollah a terrorist group took hostages.
Rawhide's administration sold arms to the Iran Government not Hezbollah.
We were not at war with Iran and they were not enemies of the state.
No one committed treason.

VOTE CON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( I have more explanation points than pro. You should vote for me)
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by fidelacchius 2 years ago
I will have to get back to you on this tomorrow.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by STALIN 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro used sources which made his info more reliable. Con also dropped a bunch of Pro's arguments. The most important argument Con dropped was that Rawhide did sell arms to Iran.