Sunday, January 09, 2005

Death squads for Iraq

According to Newsweek, the US is considering a radical new measure to qwell the popular uprising in Iraq: death squads.

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. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)

Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. 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. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries, officials tell NEWSWEEK.

Why are they proposing an outright campaign of murder? Because the insurgency has broad support. According to one source quote in the article,

"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."

By murdering them in cold blood to terrorise them into backing the government. A tactic which was, incidentally, used by Saddam Hussein to maintain power. The "new" Iraq is looking more and more like the old Iraq every day; only the names have changed.

How bad does the US's behaviour in Iraq have to get before people admit that it has lost its soul?


Death squads don't target soldiers - they target civilians. The entire aim is to terrorise the civilian population into not supporting the resistance - or in Pentagon terms, to "make them pay a cost".

What this means is groups of masked men coming round in the middle of the night, kicking your door down, dragging you off, shooting you in the back of the head, and throwing your body in a ditch. Or maybe just executing you in front of your family. It's no different to what the resistance are doing to the poor bloody IPs and other "collaborators". But when they do it, it's murder and terrorism.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/10/2005 07:38:00 AM

the sad thing is the side willing to use death squads wins, because any sensible neutral person will join their side and risk the displeasure of the side that would not come to kill them.

That is the thing about war - if the otherside is significantly more ruthless/evil than you (and even vaguely strong) you may as well surrender.

The traditional thing for countries to do is to forget their morals - like the allies killing thousands of allied civilians on d-day etc - and pick them up again when the danger is cleared.

Posted by Genius : 1/10/2005 09:50:00 AM