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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Kerry Was Right to Oppose Contras

August 13, 2004

Re Joshua Muravchik's "In the Cold War, Kerry Froze," Commentary, Aug. 10: The fact that anyone can continue today to defend the Reagan administration's immoral policies in Central America is both astounding and disgraceful. As someone who witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of the Contra proxy war on innocent Nicaraguan civilians, many of whom were brutally tortured and killed by Reagan's so-called freedom fighters in the 1980s, I am simply outraged that people like Muravchik can actually criticize John Kerry or anyone else for having opposed U.S. support for the Contras.

In memory of the tens of thousands of Nicaraguans and other Central Americans who were killed by Reagan's "ideological offensive," the least we can do is to never forget what truly happened and to denounce those who intend to distort the facts.

Jack Recasens

Los Angeles

I hope enough time has passed since Reagan's death to criticize the former president without being accused of blasphemy. The allegation by Muravchik that Reagan was responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union is absurd. The regime imploded because the system was unworkable. To suggest that the Soviets trembled at our "Mouse That Roared" invasion of Grenada is laughable. The "Star Wars" defense system was dismissed by most scientists at the time as unrealistic, to say the least.

Kerry didn't freeze. Nor has he been playing a one-dimensional "macho" role -- he's been thinking, evaluating evidence and then taking sensible and reasoned positions.

Barbara H. Bergen

Los Angeles

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