Conine's litany of Sandinista "sins" exemplifies a tragic flaw that has become part and parcel of the debate over U.S. policy toward Nicaragua.
Conine writes that Administration support for the contras is "vulnerable to criticism." Why? Because the contras might not win, and their failure might unleash a "tide of anti-American revolution in the hemisphere."
Does Conine consider without merit the criticism that the Administration is breaking international law by using atrocious terrorism against helpless Nicaraguan women and children, carried out by the same men who were finally expelled after 45 years of such atrocious behavior toward the people? A Nicaraguan peasant, about to be "liberated" by one of the President's "freedom fighters," would certainly think so.
The Sandinistas may not be Boy Scouts, but nothing that they have done (or that anyone could do, for that matter), can justify the savagery with which the Administration has attacked the people of Nicaragua.
Latin Americans know this, and to them the pattern is familiar. If we do not renounce these tactics, the tide will engulf us.