Gates Pushed for Bombing of Sandinistas





Robert M. Gates, President Bush's nominee to lead the Pentagon, advocated a bombing campaign against Nicaragua in 1984 in order to "bring down" the leftist government, according to a declassified memo released by a nonprofit research group.

The memo from Gates to his then-boss, CIA Director William J. Casey, was among a selection of declassified documents from the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal posted Friday on the website of the National Security Archive, http://www.gwu.edu/nsarchiv/.

In the memo, Gates, who was deputy director of the CIA, argued that the Soviet Union was turning Nicaragua into an armed camp and that the country could become a second Cuba. The rise of the communist-leaning Sandinista government threatened the stability of Central America, Gates asserted.

Gates' memo echoed the view of many foreign policy hard-liners at the time; however, the feared communist takeover of the region never materialized.

"It seems to me," Gates wrote, "that the only way that we can prevent disaster in Central America is to acknowledge openly what some have argued privately: that the existence of a Marxist-Leninist regime in Nicaragua closely allied with the Soviet Union and Cuba is unacceptable to the United States and that the United States will do everything in its power short of invasion to put that regime out."

comments powered by Disqus
History News Network