Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bush: The Salvador Option

What category to file this under? War? Politics? Bullshit? All of the above equals (as usual): Bush!

From Newsweek.
What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called "the Salvador option"—and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. "What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are," one senior military officer told NEWSWEEK. "We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgency—as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time—than in spreading it out.

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.

Following that model, 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. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation.

[...] most Iraqi people do not actively support the insurgents or provide them with material or logistical help, but at the same time they won’t turn them in. One military source involved in the Pentagon debate agrees that this is the crux of the problem, and he suggests that new offensive operations are needed that would create a fear of aiding the insurgency. "The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists," he said. "From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation."

It's only a page, so go read the whole thing.

Where to begin? I guess when guys like Negroponte are brought back in to the fold to make policy and then moved back up the ladder to actually head up our "embassy" in Iraq, solutions like this should come as no surprise.

With these guys in charge, winning hearts and minds is looking more like pouring gasoline on the fire combined with rubbing salt in wounds and kicking Iraqis when they're down. I'm sure rounding up families to be tortured in secret prisons (and make no mistake, if they were willing to torture people in legit military prisons, these "snatch targets" will be tortured in whatever "secret facility" they are shipped to) will be the key to quelling the insurgency. Targeted assassinations seem to be working out well for Israel as well. Will they be relying on the same great intel to find these targets? At this point I almost believe the fucking psychos in this Administration are daring each other to come up with more brazen (and worse) strategies as part of some warped Pentagon drinking game.

The last sentence in the blockquote from the article just spells it all out: They are drawing up plans to punish the civilian population because they can't come up with any other successful military or diplomatic strategy. At what point is this no longer distinguishable from the Nazis terrorizing people into giving up their Jewish neighbors? Now, I know we are not Nazi Germany, but if we actually plan on killing and torturing as a policy how much better do we look to the Sunnis, the Iraqis and others in the Middle East?

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