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January 09, 2005

Being Right Isn't As Much Fun As I Anticipated

Before the invasion of Iraq, I had a long argument about it with my cousin. My cousin had been in the Army Reserves, and trained at Fort Benning, GA. So he knew what the School of the Americas is.

For those who don't, the SOA (now renamed the "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation") trained members of the Latin American military. It had a hideous record. Its graduates overthrew democratic governments all over Latin America, and organized death squads responsible for rape, torture, and murder. Manuel Noriega was one graduate; another was Robert D'Aubuisson, a Salvadoran lunatic responsible for the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

(The SOA used to say they trained soldiers in "counterinsurgency." Remember that word.)

Now, my cousin is not an idiot. He was very aware of what the SOA graduates did. And his heart's in the right place: he doesn't like rape, torture and murder.

So in an effort to convince him, I said that our invasion of Iraq would inevitably lead to a situation like that in Latin America. Our Iraqi allies would act like graduates of the School of the Americas.

My cousin recoiled from this, and said it was ridiculous. He explained he "had the wit" to distinguish between US troops and SOA graduates.

Today, Newsweek is reporting this:

'The Salvador Option': The Pentagon May Put Special-Forces-led Assassination or Kidnapping Teams in Iraq

What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called "the Salvador option"...

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...

You see? If you train someone to target "insurgents," you are training them in "counterinsurgency."

Of course, it's true we're not bringing the "handpicked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen" to the School of the Americas. Instead, we're bringing the SOA to them.

Posted at January 9, 2005 04:14 PM | TrackBack

Looks like the DEA is expanding the 'Salvador Option' to South America too! Not happy with their lack of civil war yet in Iraq the bush administration attempts to start one in South America??

Posted by: Terrible at January 10, 2005 07:23 AM

This is no surprise, is it? Considering the use of Negroponte and Allawi in Iraq, and the fact that most of the Bush cabal are holdovers from the Reagan era, the training and use of death squads was inevitable.

How quickly our war to rid Iraq of Saddam and his WMDs has become a war against the people of Iraq. Recall that before the war, Bush even said that he would still invade if Saddam were to relinquish power. And after the first Gulf War, Bush I would not help the rebellion that had formed, allowing Saddam to brutally crush it (which incidentally is one of the crimes with which he is now charged).

The goal here is to install a puppet regime that will rule with an iron fist over any dissent, and that dissent, no matter from where and whom it springs, will be called "terror" and violently attacked. In the 80s, the word "terror" would have been replaced with "communism".

People should also be aware that the US-supported regimes in Central America and elsewhere have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, and even more people to be tortured, and almost every time it is for one reason -- that the people of said country wanted to control their own natural resources. This was bad for US businesses that wanted that control, so we labeled the people commies, helped right-wingers overthrow the democratically elected government, and installed a brutal regime that used death squads trained at the SOA to ensure the people stayed quiet. These death squads did things like drag children over barbed wire in front of their parents, a pretty effective way to frighten the populace into submission.

Love your blog and read it daily. Keep up the good work.


Posted by: Colin at January 10, 2005 08:16 AM