Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh and his staff are said to be considering asking a grand jury to indict former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger for covering up the decision to ship Hawk missiles to Iran in 1985. Published reports say that Mr. Weinberger has been offered a deal -- turn in Ronald Reagan and you won't be indicted.
Mr. Walsh has spent five and a half years and $30 million and come up with no trophies. Now to say he has found a memo that suggests a cabinet officer and a president were not forthright about an embarrassing and perhaps improper policy failure and that this may constitute a felony is absurd. From the standpoint of criminal law, this is a stale case. Also from the standpoint of politics and public affairs. The American people knew pretty much what went on and what went wrong, thanks to 1987 congressional hearings, and in 1988 they voted to continue the administration responsible for it in office.
Iran-contra is yesterday's news. Iraqgate is today's news. Rep. Henry Gonzalez, D-Texas, has in recent months made a pretty good case about something voters did not know about in 1988 -- namely that the Bush administration inherited and continued a policy begun under President Reagan of, in effect, underwriting Saddam Hussein's military buildup with huge agricultural credits, loans and loan guarantees. By huge we mean in the billion-dollar-a-year range. These continued almost till the day that Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait.