IranContra and the Constitutional Paradigm

Let us first consider the actions of Lt. Colonel Oliver North and compare them to the ideas put forth in the constitutional paradigm by Paul Roush. According to Roush, "other loyalties may intervene, for example, those to family, to Supreme Being, etc. As long as the intervening loyalties do not conflict with the loyalties of the profession, the oath is still being complied with." Here is the conflict of loyalties: the Congress had clearly forbidden the funding of the Contras with the Boland act, yet North claimed that he participated in the funding of the Contras under orders of his superiors. If he followed the orders of his superior, he would be breaking a congressional law. if he disobeyed his superiors, he would be guilty of refusing to follow orders. The constitutional paradigm then states that one must resolve conflicting loyalties. however, it would not be possible to resolve these conflicts. These two issues were completely at odds with one another. This is where the third aspect of the paradigm comes into play. If one is unable to resolve these conflicts, the person should resign. North decided, however, to follow the commands of his superiors and broke the Boland amendment and a trade and arms embargo against Iran. The constitutional paradigm has a fourth condition under which it allows for the violation of justice, but this was not followed by North. The fourth condition states that if there is a "fundamental violation of justice," and resigning from one’s position would be just as immoral because it would allow this violation to further continue, then one must choose to disobey to attain a higher good.
There are two main aspects of North’s actions that should be considered. First, did he actually have moral objections to his superior’s orders If so, according to Roush, he should have attempted to resolve this matter through legal actions first. If this was not possible, he should have publicly refused to follow the orders of his superiors, and then he would have had to be willing to accept the consequences of his actions.

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