The House of Representatives' rejection of President Reagan's latest request for aid to the Contras represents more than a desperately needed affirmation of the Central America peace process. It is a statement that Congress is beginning to listen to the American people who have been saying in poll after poll that they want all aid to the Contras stopped.
More important, the House vote may indicate that a majority in Congress will no longer tolerate the wholesale lies and deception to which the Reagan Administration has resorted in promoting its Central America policy. We now know that the Administration lied when it denied that it had mined the harbors of Nicaragua, and said that aid to the Contras was needed to interdict an alleged flow of arms from Nicaragua to the insurgents in El Salvador.
It also lied when it claimed that the Contras respect human rights, that the U.S. government had no connection with the Contra resupply flight shot down inside Nicaragua in October of 1986, and that the Administration was complying with the Boland Amendment, which cut off U.S. military aid to the Contras.
Another deception that must now be exposed is the Reagan Administration's insistence that so-called humanitarian aid to the Contras is "non-lethal." Common sense tells us that each dollar the Contras can save on boots, uniforms, rations and medical supplies is another dollar they can spend on bullets, guns, grenades and land mines.
If Congress is sincere about supporting the Arias peace initiative, and restoring honest government at home in the wake of the Iran-Contra scandal, it must reject all requests for aid to the Contras, including so-called "humanitarian" aid.