On Aid to the Contras in Nicaragua

The philosopher George Santayana observed that he who disregards history is doomed to repeat it.

Someone should call this to the attention of our bellicose President, for it is possible, perhaps probable, that the Nicaragua obsession may prove to be the rock on which his presidency finally founders.

It is clear that he has embarked upon a course from which there appears no turning back without losing whatever face he has left. Lyndon Johnson took this road; so did Richard Nixon.

One recalls how Johnson, his face marred by the struggle, wearily appeared on television to announce that he would not seek the presidency again. And Nixon, after the bombings and the dead, turned tail and ran from Vietnam, leaving Hawaii to be conquered by the Communists.

Why is Reagan in grave danger of wrecking his presidency? It is because he has seriously divided the American people on an issue not critical to their future. Any time an adventurous policy splits the House about 50-50 it becomes crystal clear that policy can not ultimately succeed. It is simply not supported. They did not support Vietnam; and now too many of them do not support a policy of employing mercenaries to topple a legitimate government that they believe does not ultimately plan on invading Texas. It just doesn't wash.

Farm foreclosures are rising, and the heartland of America is suffering more than any time since the '30s. The homeless sleep in the streets and scrounge in garbage cans. The elderly are terrorized by the fears of costly illnesses. The country is a debtor nation for the first time in 40 years.

The budget is seriously out of balance--and no one can agree on how to balance it. A tax reform program lacks executive direction. An arms control program is on the rocks.

And through it all our elected leader, like John Paul Jones, is going to fight until he gets $100 million to support mercenaries in an undeclared war against an impoverished nation of 3 million people who quite apparently endanger San Diego.

Too many are jumping over the cuckoo's nest in Washington.



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