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Salvadoran-Style Death Squads for Iraq
Published on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 by The Progressive
Salvadoran-Style Death Squads for Iraq
by Matthew Rothschild

When all the other rationales for this crazy war in Iraq had evaporated, when it had become clear that Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction and Saddam was not working with Osama bin Laden, the Bush Administration seized upon the justification that it was installing democracy in Iraq.

But nothing could be further from installing democracy than installing death squads. And that’s what Rumsfeld is planning over at the Pentagon, according to Newsweek.

It’s called the Salvador option, named after the brutal repression that the U.S. government oversaw in that country in the 1980s, when the CIA financed, trained, and armed death squads that killed and tortured tens of thousands of people.

This should not come as a total surprise, as Cheney and Rumsfeld in the last several months have both held up El Salvador in the 1980s as a model for Iraq today. But it is astonishing to see government officials speaking openly about the desirability of death squads. (Also noteworthy is the confession, in the Newsweek story, that supporting death squads was part of a “still-secret strategy in the Reagan Administration’s battle against the leftist guerilla insurgency.”)

According to Newsweek, “one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support, and possibly train Iraqi squads . . . to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria.” By going into Syria, the Pentagon would be regionalizing this war—shades of the Cambodia raids during the Vietnam War.

And note the addition of the word “sympathizers” in the quote above.

The Pentagon is enraged that Sunni civilians are supporting the insurgents.

One military source involved in the Pentagon debate told Newsweek: “The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists. From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation.”

And they plan to change it by waging a dirty war against an entire population.

Even this won’t succeed, but it will spill barrels of blood on Bush’s and Rumsfeld’s hands.

© 2005 The Progressive


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