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Nicaragua

June 13, 1986

It's almost time for the Congress to take up the question, once again, of funding the Nicaraguan contras . The other night, as I was redecorating my bedroom wall with old awards, newspaper clippings, political cartoons and assorted works of art, I came upon this, culled from a Ventura paper several years ago.

"Just been reading about this fellow Sandino down in Nicaragua. As to whether he was a George Washington or a Jesse James, that's for his own people to judge. But there is one thing that he and I agree on, and that was that American armed forces had no right down there." The date is 23 February 1934 and the writer was Will Rogers.

It is a good time to recall the adage attributed to Santayana that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and its addendum by Karl Marx, "the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." Unfortunately, for those upon whom the violence is visited, it is always tragedy.

MICHAEL A. GISH

Canoga Park

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