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'U.S. Policy in Central America'

September 08, 1985

Wayne Smith is to be commended for his article (Editorial Pages, Aug. 8), "Finding the Truth in U.S. Policy on Nicaragua," which clearly reveals the duplicity of the Reagan Administration regarding its policy toward Nicaragua.

Among other things, Smith exposes how Reagan's recent assurances that his Administration is not seeking to overthrow the elected Sandinista government, made in June to get $27 million from a fickle Congress for "humanitarian" aid to the contras, are squarely contradicted not only by Reagan's own acknowledgement in February of this year that his goal was to overthrow the Sandinistas, but also by recent revelations that a White House official in the National Security Council has been directly involved in supervising the military operations of the contras.

This renewed direct involvement of the White House in the "secret" war of aggression against Nicaragua is a disturbing new development. When the Reagan Administration mined the harbors of Nicaragua, published assassination manuals and distributed them to the contras, and then thumbed its nose at the World court when the Nicaraguan government brought suit against our government for its acts of aggression, it showed its utter contempt for international law. The World Court reacted last year by issuing a non-binding decision enjoining our government from jeopardizing Nicaragua's right to sovereignty by means of "any military and paramilitary activities which are prohibited by principles of international law."

The news that the White House is "back in the saddle" in its war of aggression against Nicaragua, providing direct supervision of the contras, proves that this Administration is contemptuous of not only international law and a direct ruling of the World Court, but apparently of U.S. law as well. By means of the Boland Amendment (which will expire Sept. 30, unless reenacted), Congress has prohibited the CIA and other federal agencies from providing direct or indirect military support to the contras.

The White House is conducting a war of aggression not only against the Sandinistas, but also against respect for the rule of law, both national or international. It is legitimizing the anachronistic and dangerous proposition that "might is right!" And it is eroding whatever moral authority the United States still possesses in the world community. This is indeed a dark moment in the history of our nation.

WILLIAM BOTHAMLEY

San Diego

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