Ronald Reagan, the great Republican president, is viewed in history as having made many a good decisions. One of his most notorious missteps, however, was the Iran contra scandal. It tarnishes his legacy unlike any other actions of his presidency. Reagan provided armaments to Iran which were used to kill many people in Iraq and probably Iran as well. He tried to cover it up afterwards and looked foolish and possibly even criminal. It will be remembered as one of the worst parts of his presidency.
All presidents participate, to some degree, in backdoor politics. Reagan enjoyed a great deal of respect among Republicans and, in fact, many liberals. At least he appeared genuine. His confusion over the situation which blossomed into the trial of Ollie North, however, betrayed his age and many began to worry about his competence as leader of the free world.
President Reagan left office a popular president. However, during his last term he did create significant doubt regarding his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal. As time passes, more evidence seems to surface that shows he had knowledge and involvement in some of the activities. Regardless of his popularity, that will forever remain a mark on his reputation.
Most of the Iran-Contra conspiracy was due to Oliver North, but it happened under President Reagans administration, and presumably with his knowledge. His knowledge is arguable, but it still happened under his administration and he was held responsible for it. This is not unlike linking President Obama to 'Fast and Furious.' He may have known about it, but the likelihood is very small. Yet, they both share the blame.
The Reagan administration began the whole Iranian initiative to free hostages. He wasn't trading weapons with terrorist, he was trading weapons with moderates in Tehran that had influence on the terrorist. The aid to contras is justifiable in that it didn't violate the the Boland amendments, The amendments state the the CIA could not directly or indirectly support the contras. The majority of the money the Contras seen came from third country donors and other various private donors. Doesn't helping the Contras follow suit with the Truman doctrine, not to mention this is in Americas area of influence the western hemisphere? Sending weapons to Iran also helped the state of Israel, for they feared Iraq at the time more than they did Iran. Israel in fact transported the first two shipments of TOW missiles to Iran.