With regard to your editorial (Feb. 24), "Reagan Is Wrong," I would like to submit this opposing viewpoint.
Your position is that the presence of a militant Marxist government in Nicaragua is not the concern of the United States, and the removal of that government should be the responsibility of the Organization of American States. This is an "easy" position to take since it requires no immediate risk or commitment on our part. It also makes us appear to be "peacemakers." Unfortunately, it is a very shortsighted cop-out.
We can all remember the non-action of the OAS in dealing with the crises of Cuba in 1962 and Grenada in 1983. It was only after Presidents Kennedy and Reagan had the courage to take decisive positions on their own initiative that matters were brought to a favorable conclusion. We can assume that the OAS would be even less able or willing to take decisive action regarding Nicaragua.
President Reagan clearly recognizes that the Sandinista regime has become merely an extension of the Soviet empire, which has proclaimed repeatedly its intention to dominate the world, destroying all free and democratic institutions in the process. In opposition, Ronald Reagan has committed himself to the idea that democracy must be restored to Nicaragua, either by the Sandinistas or by others. Based on his past record, you should bet that this will happen.
If these comments seem a bit rash, let me say that if England and France had experienced in the mid-1930s the type of courageous leadership shown by President Reagan, Adolf Hitler would have been crushed when he moved into the Rhineland. There never would have been a Munich, a World War II or a Holocaust.
MALCOLM F. McCONNELL
I refer to your editorials (Feb. 22), "Wrong Way in El Salvador," and "Reagan Is Wrong."
These editorials show the usual perceptiveness of The Times and its courage to criticize government and officials in the interest of the public and the nation.
The President has used ambiguity, tricks and falsehood as tools of policy and to disguise his true intentions, never more sure than in the case of Central America. He has defied Congress and through the CIA and the military has continued to send American personnel and heavy military equipment to brutal right-wing groups so they can continue to oppress the people. The President calls this "saving democracy."
This area is an American colony. The United States has always preferred to have pliable governments there, no matter how murderous the regime. The record makes this clear. One of the President's most blatant falsehoods is that the United States has never interfered in the affairs of other governments. We have done just that in 52 cases in South and Central America. We have also done it elsewhere.
Our leader is now making an appeal to the American people for support to override Congress. He has already broken the law in sending military aid and personnel after a law was passed to restrain such action.
Your courageous editorial brought much reason to the sadly mismanaged U.S. relations with Nicaragua.
Nonetheless, I question your harsh indictment of a revolution that, among other accomplishments, has provided literacy and education for an entire population, health facilities and care, which prompted the World Health Organization in 1983 to praise Nicaragua for its "model program" in health delivery, and an agrarian reform that gives all citizens access to land. The Nicaraguan revolution contains much that is positive and could well serve as an example in a region notorious for its iniquitous social statistics.
You spoke of "repression" in Nicaragua, but your newspaper has never furnished evidence to demonstrate that the alleged repression is a government policy. In fact, your sensible words about the "broad-based" support for the Sandinistas and about the 1984 elections ("fair by regional standards") seem to undercut your own charges.
The United States spends tens of billions of dollars each year on "intelligence." Yet, our woeful ignorance--and certainly our government's ignorance--of, first, what has been accomplished positively in Nicaragua and, second, what the revolution signifies to most Nicaraguans and Latin Americans, is monumental. Policies based on ignorance lead to certain disaster. Such is the present case of U.S. policy in Central America.
E. BRADFORD BURNS
Latin American History
Your excellent editorial, "Reagan Is Wrong," is very much to the point of truth and wisdom. As a taxpayer, and voter, I feel President Reagan and his friends in our Pentagon, must allow all Central American nations to conduct their own governments in their own manner.
The people of Nicaragua in an internationally monitored election in November, 1984, did elect the Sandinista government. My son, an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, said when I last saw him in October, 1984, that U.S. military and economic aid should not go to the military leadership of any Central American nations. But our help should go to the low-income farmers for seed and tractors, educators at all levels, to the workers--to the Sandinistas of Nicaragua. We had many Central and South American students in our home in Durango, Colo., who were attending Fort Lewis College from 1970-1982. My son spoke Spanish and attended high school, one winter, in Quito, Equador.
We have no right to be "sheriff" of this beautiful hemisphere. Today we have an abundance of U.S. internal problems that cry out for lack of expertise and tax money.
ART EMERY JR.
So he's finally admitted it. The "he" in this case is our beloved President and the "it" is his Administration's undying desire to overthrow the Nicaraguan regime. As the President made clear at his news conference there should be little doubt as to the true intentions of his Administration insofar as Nicaragua is concerned: it is now "open" season on the Sandinistas.
It is "open" in the sense that the Administration's heretofore hidden agenda (albeit, not very well disguised) for the overthrow of the Nicaraguan regime has now been clearly revealed. No longer can the President hide behind the facade of weapons interdiction into El Salvador (something never proven) as a pretext for support of his bloody "covert" war. As the President said, the goal is to remove the "present regime."
It is clear that the Administration is trying to force the hand of the Congress by wrapping itself in the flag, using moral platitudes and Cold War scare tactics in order perpetuate its "covert" war. (A war, not surprisingly, that the Administration is unwilling to defend before the World C ourt).
STEVEN C. WILLIAMS
Apparently Reagan was asleep during the Vietnam War, or he never learned the lesson of that war. I ask, "Why is it our business to overthrow the government of another country?" Who really cares if the government of another country is different from our own government?
Mr. Reagan, since the ideals of our forms of government are opposite of those of the Nicaraguan government, it is reasonable to conclude that Nicaragua would be justified in advocating the overthrow of our very own government. Hence, the only resolution is war--which is obviously your goal.
If Reagan and his conservative cronies feel it is truly in their best interests to wage a verbal and ultimate physical war for the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government, then I suggest, Mr. Reagan, you spare innocent American lives from a probable protracted conflict, and instead send yourself along with Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), Secretary of State George P. Shultz, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, and the rest of your conservative cronies to Nicaragua to fight.
STEPHEN P. KATZ
If the U.S. Marines are about to bring democracy (again) to the poor people of Nicaragua, Secretary Shultz should ride the first tank into Managua with a big, red, white and blue bull's-eye painted on his business suit. Let the bloodless men who benefit from American imperialism be the first to die for it.
At last the Administration, through Secretary Shultz, has enunciated a Central American policy we can all understand: "If you don't put in the kind of government we like, we will come in and blow your heads off."
Well, why not? We have a good precedent. The Soviet Union is getting away with it in Afghanistan, and got away with it in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.