Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Salvador Option

Classic. The sub-head of this Newsweek article is "The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq."

Here's my favorite part:

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal.

Let's put aside for a moment the horrific moral implications of this "new" policy approach, which will inevitably lead to the massacre of peaceful, politically active civilians. The fact is, the only thing death squads are successful at is terrorizing civil society, and galvanizing opposition. Salvadoran death squads did not succeed in "quelling" the insurgency--their methods, combined with radical economic injustice, were largely responsible for its rapid growth throughout the 80s. In 1989, after a solid decade of the "Salvadoran Option," the FMLN launched an offensive on the capital that shocked US advisors and Salvadoran elites, proved conclusively that the civil war had been fought to a stalemate, and showed that a military victory over the rebels was impossible. A negotiated settlement followed about one year later.

The fact that this administration is completely bereft of original ideas is not surprising, but even a Bush-hater like me is astounded that, after mining history for strategies to dig themselves out of this hole, the best they can come up with is an approach whose failure is not only glaring, unarguable, and cruel, but which failed within such recent memory as the 1980s.


Blogger Germanicu$ said...

What I find most interesting is that NEWSWEAK goes to great lengths to point out the US supported nationalist forces that "ALLEGEDLY" included "SO-CALLED" death squads. The pussy MSM will go to great lengths to get pithy quotes from "senior military officers" (including, presumably, going to jail to protect their identities), but apparently calling a death squad a death squad is going out on too much of a limb.

I hope those dead nuns come back to life and sue the pants off that ridiculous magazine.

3:51 PM  

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