Sunday, January 09, 2005

Beyond Belief (Almost)

With things getting worse in Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld is looking wistfully at those dear dead days when America was truly "walking tall": the era of right-wing death squads in El Salvador.

[T]he 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.
I like this scheme a lot. First, we launch an unnecessary war to protect ourselves from weapons that didn't exist, and botch it in every conceivable way. Then we allegedly change our focus to creating a pro-Western democracy in Iraq, and botch that in every conceivable way.

So what's the solution? Why, it's child's play! All we need to do is set up paramilitary death squads, in conscious emulation of one of the darkest and most evil chapters in American history. What could possibly go wrong?

As someone who stridently protested these murdering monsters back in the day, I can't tell you how many times I was informed by wingnuts that there were no death squads in Central America, and that even if there were, we had nothing to do with them. But now, it seems to be common knowledge that "many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success." We've come a long way, haven't we?

(BTW, there was a wee bit more to Iran-Contra than "arms for hostages.")

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