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the contras.” The fact that Wright, unlike former Speaker Tip O’Neill, is a convert to the anti-contra cause might provide some additional credibility among moderates who were less inclined to follow O’Neill, whom they considered obsessed with opposition to the contra war. “All eyes are on Wright,” the lobbyist said. House liberals like David Bonier, DMichigan, Tom Foley, D-Washington, and Tony Coelho, DCalifornia, are working to assure that the Speaker will be supported when the inevitable confrontation with the Administration comes. The President’s appointment of Morris Busby to serve as Central American Ambassador at Large already suggests to many Congressmen that the White House is returning to the same policy team that brought us the Irancontra scandal. Busby, a former chief assistant to Elliot Abrams, handled disbursement of contra funds at the State Department’s Nicaraguan Resistance Desk. \(Those not compelled by professional requirement or perverse curiosity to read The New Republic perhaps missed the neo-liberal interpretation of the Wright-Reagan peace plan, which began as a result of ” . . a Texan coming to say hello to another Texan.” Speaker Jim Wright, as TNR writer Fred The Administration has gradually built a mercenary army in Honduras that will now grow more dangerous with each large infusion of money. Barnes explained a few issues back, was surprised when Loeffler advised him during a courtesy visit on July 22, that the President was interested in “the diplomatic track” in Central America. Reagan, according to Barnes, was then backed into a corner by Wright. The Administration misread Wright, believing that he understood that contra aid was inevitable and was inclined to back off from his opposition to the contras. But the Speaker, the Administration was to find out, was not posturing and they, like TNR editors, were soon appalled to learn that not one but two peace plans ReaganTHE $270 MILLION figure is based on the Administration’s calculation that it will now cost $180 million per year to keep the contras in the field and fighting. Republican Presidential candidate Jack Kemp is clamoring for $310 million. Critics of the Reagan war in Central America have come to understand that the Administration has gradually built a mercenary army in Honduras that will now grow more dangerous with each large infusion of money. In early July of last year, National Public Radio reported on a contra attack on a small agricultural co-op in northern Nicaragua. After they killed her husband and son, one peasant woman alleged, contra soldiers demanded that she produce the matches with which they burned her small house to the ground. What was notable about the broadcast was that the State Department spokesperson back in Washington, given the opportunity to respond to the charges, failed to cough up the standard disclaimer of contra terrorism. Rather, he said, the contras are compelled to attack civilians because they have not been provided with sufficient money to buy weapons necessary to engage the army. Give them more money, he said, and they will go after Sandinista troops. Purcell considers additional allocations for the contras a grave danger to the region. “They’ve got boots, guns, ammunition and food,” he said, “and the money that they get now will be used to purchase additional and more sophisticated weapons like rocket-launchers and better rifles.’ All of this is going to lead to a more unstable region, particularly along the Honduran border where the contras could draw Nicaragua into a conflict with Honduras. . .And they will continue to attack civilians.” One recent development following the Irancontra hearings is the disclosure \(published in the September 29 issue of that David Walker, an Oliver North operative, might have blown up a Nicaraguan hospital by mistake. Speaking in a hot, crowded auditorium on the St. Mary’s University campus in San Antonio 20 years ago, journalist Bernard Fall described a similar incident that occurred in Vietnam. Then, in what was almost a whisper he said into the microphone, “You do . not win a war by bombing hospitals.” Some members of the Texas Congressional delegation, like John Bryant, Henry B. Gonzalez and Mickey Leland have understood this for a long time. What now becomes most important is the Democratic Congressman from the Twelfth District in Fort Worth’s apparent commitment to diplomacy and peace in Central America. Others need to be persuaded. It’s time to pull the plug on the contras. L.D. CONTENTS FEATURES 1 The Checkered Career Of Dean Singleton Bill Adler 2 The Wright Opportunity Louis Dubose 5 Letter From San Antonio Ronnie Dugger 7 Ride a Pale Pachyderm Richard Ryan 9 Blood on the Tracks James Ridgeway 12 Dallas Press War Bill Adler 14 Editorial Drift Dave Denison DEPARTMENTS 4 Dialogue 18 Political Intelligence 22 Social Cause Calendar Books and the Culture: 20 The Pope’s Divisions Louis Dubose Afterword: 23 Songs of the South Bill Helmer THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3