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As for the media, they can only look back at the time with shame. The press -- led by the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times-- tried to discredit Webb. Though the papers dutifully reported many of the salient facts, they never conveyed the big picture and, in the end, let the perpetrators of one of the greatest scandals in American history go largely unpunished.
Other than Soldier of Fortune, only the conservative Website NewsMax.comhas brought up Iran-contra in the context of the presidential election. In a July article, the Website portrayed Rodriguez as a "wholly innocent freedom loving patriot" who was blindsided by the unscrupulous, CIA-hating senator.
It may be just the beginning. Rodriguez says he'll vigorously oppose Kerry until election day, continuing his work with the anti-Kerry veterans' group, which is ideologically aligned with the similarly named Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and exposing the terrible injustice done to him by the Democratic nominee. "He will tell you one thing, then he will tell you another thing," Rodriguez says of Kerry. "He is a complete liar."
We all know that Rodriguez can fight with the best of them, but what about Kerry? His Florida campaign communications director, Matt Miller, didn't respond to the question. Former DEA man Castillo, who counts his vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980 as one of the worst mistakes of his life, isn't sure. And he believes Bush II -- who has already led the country into a nightmarish war using false pretenses -- will cook scandals to make Iran-contra pale in comparison if elected to a second term.
"They say Kerry is a liar, that he lied about Felix Rodriguez, who is a hero and patriot," Castillo says. "Bush and Cheney know how to fight. Cheney says, öGo fuck yourself.' I am so upset because Kerry won't take the gloves off. It's like he's idling. If he doesn't fight now, will he ever fight for us?"