Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

. . . And When Did He Know It?

February 28, 1993

Thank you for Jack Miles' balanced and clear review of Eliot Abrams' "Undue Process" (Jan. 3). I would like to take exception, however, to Miles' assessment of Abrams' tragic flaw as "a State Department novice's blithe assumption that he was really in charge of the area that he nominally headed."

Surely Abrams' tragic flaw was arrogance. He claims to be appalled after leaving office to learn of Contra atrocities, but one must ask why he didn't know before leaving office. It wasn't as if the press weren't reporting the atrocities. It wasn't as if the Contra military forces were headed by someone with a clean record rather than Enrique Bermudez of Anastasio Somoza's odious National Guard.

Anyone who knew anything about Nicaragua knew that it was the arm of the Somoza government which did the dictator's kidnaping, torturing and murdering of Nicaraguans suspected of opposing him. I was a private citizen, not an assistant Secretary of State in charge of Central America, and I knew these things.

And what about the case of American Benjamin Lindner? He was murdered by the Contras while trying to help set up a cooperative farm. How come Abrams didn't wake up when Edgar Chamorros, a former Contra, testifying in Lindner's case before the World Court, said the Contras had orders to attack agricultural cooperatives and other civilian targets. That's about all the Contras did, actually. Yet if Abrams heard this testimony (and abundant other evidence), he gave no sign. He and the entire Reagan Administration kept up their full-on support for the "freedom fighters."

I guess to arrogance another Abrams flaw must be added. He has always shown an utter lack of concern over the intense suffering and widespread death his policies inflicted on Nicaraguans and on Salvadorans for years, yet he devotes 130 pages of his 200-page book to his own suffering during his two-month trial. I think narcissism about covers it.

ANN ALPER, PACIFIC PALISADES

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|