« Grave Disrepute | Main | State of the Labor Market »

January 09, 2005

Down the Slippery Slope We Go...

The first lesson of the George W. Bush administration is that it is always worse than you imagine, even though you've taken into account that it is always worse than you imagine:

Mark A. R. Kleiman: Moral clarity dep't: It figured. Eventually, an administration willing to embrace torture to fight terror was going to embrace terror as well: especially an administration populated by moral monsters like John Negroponte, who had embraced terror before, and gotten away with it.

Death squad activity is terrorism. Its purpose is never merely the assassination or kidnapping of a small number of leaders, but always the cowing of entire populations. This case is no different. Note the language carefully:

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."

The target isn't a few dead-enders or foreign terrorists; the target is "the Sunni population," which needs to be taught a lesson...

"Oderint dum Metuant" should not be the operating principle of John Winthrop's City Upon a Hill.

Posted by DeLong at January 9, 2005 07:01 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Down the Slippery Slope We Go...:

» the death star targets alderaan from liberal soul
I wonder if this means other countries will throw down the embargo on us for becoming terrorist state? If they've got any balls, they will, and it would be only fitting. Better join one of those wholesale clubs and start stocking up that canned fo... [Read More]

Tracked on January 10, 2005 07:46 AM

» "Death Squads" from Kalblog
An example of what I said a couple of days ago about there being people who hold objectionable views on things like civil liberties and torture just came up with the discussion out there now about "death squads" in Iraq.... [Read More]

Tracked on January 11, 2005 07:09 PM


What does that mean, '"Oderint dum Metuant" should not be the operating principle of John Winthrop's City Upon a Hill.'?

Have a look at the full text of that famous sermon, and see how little regard it pays to the rights of others.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence at January 9, 2005 07:09 PM

Sure, don't ya see, 'it takes a thief to catch a thief', so naturally, 'it takes a terrorist organization to catch a terrorist organization'.

Posted by: VKW at January 9, 2005 07:25 PM

As someone trained in the 'dark arts', I shall be proud to join this group. Over on LGF (Little Green Footballs) we've been having a good groupthink about torture techniques to get the 411 out of captured Terrorists. I am also a professional cook (5 years at Red Lobster).

Posted by: Iron Fist, LGF at January 9, 2005 07:37 PM

Actually, it's even worse than you and Mark (let alone Kevin Drum) make out. The Newsweek article makes it clear that the plan is not just to terrorize Iraq's general civilian Sunni population in order to make them stop actively aiding insurgents; it's to force them to ACTIVELY aid us or else we'll slaughter them wholesale. As the article also says, Rumsfeld is now desperate enough to consider this tactic (which goes far beyond what the Nazis did at Lidice) because he thinks it may now be the only possible way left for us to win the Iraq War. (If "win" is a word that can be used under these circumstances.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at January 9, 2005 07:40 PM

As for Iron Fist: unless you're pulling our legs, may I suggest that you use that five years' training you got at Red Lobster and go boil your head?

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at January 9, 2005 07:44 PM

They seem to be trying to incite as much blowback as possible. I mean, how can you use death squads to target the insurgents if you're not even sure who the hell they are?

Posted by: M. at January 9, 2005 07:46 PM

I really thought they would stop at genocide.

Posted by: Rob at January 9, 2005 07:53 PM

"Over on LGF (Little Green Footballs) we've been having a good groupthink about torture techniques, "

The operative word of course being "groupthink." I don' thin' that word means what you think it means senor.

Posted by: DrBB at January 9, 2005 07:57 PM

Ah. That explains why Red Lobster's food has been terrible the last few years.... there's a good way to torture prisoners, all right.

Posted by: donna at January 9, 2005 08:03 PM

The bad nws is they are dumb enough to try it. The good news is that it won't work. Anyone who gets tagged with responsibility can forget travelling abroad for the rest of his or her life. The Pinochet precedent rules. Beyond that, it is simply impossible to 'cow' a population of some tens of millions. The Israeli's have been trying to do something like that in Palestine for three decades, and it hasn't worked. All it would do would be to further isolate our supply lines, and make the purely physical act of leaving Iraq make Dunquerque look like a Sunday picnic.

Posted by: Knut Wicksell at January 9, 2005 08:03 PM

We have been down this slippery slope before: The spanish american war ( Philipines), the police actions in central america after WW1, Vietnam, the contras and more than I could ever be aware of.
Good luck to us all that it doesn't come home as a means of controlling the half of us who did not vote for gwb.

Posted by: dilbert dogbert at January 9, 2005 08:04 PM

Iron Fist may or may not be pulling our leg, but it would not surprise me a bit to find folks vehemently expressing exactly that sentiment at LGF.

Before the election, I had an astonishing conversation with a Bush supporter. He first argued that we had to invade Iraq because Saddam committed genocide against his own people, and that there were mass graves with millions of dead. Not five minutes later, he suggested with a straight face that the best way to end the insurgency is to just nuke the whole country and turn the desert sand into smooth glass, set up tourist resorts and have 'sand niggers' carrying drinks to fat cat American tourists.

Since Saddam killed millions, we had to get rid of him. And if the Iraqi people aren't sufficiently appreciative, we'll kill them by the millions. This is what passes for thought among many in the 'moral values' camp.

(Sorry, I don't seem to be able to get the paragraphs to break, no matter how I try).

Posted by: edwardpig at January 9, 2005 08:08 PM

"Iron Fist?" That's too funny. You'd think after five years at Red Lobster you'd be more interested in figuring out how to move out of your mom's basement, but it's understandable that a red-blooded he-man patriot like you would prefer putting your gameboy terrorist-fighting expertise to work from a secure location.

Put the bong down and slowly back away, and give me the keys to the Yugo, you're in no condition to drive, much less operate a computer.

Posted by: too funny at January 9, 2005 08:11 PM

And death squads don't do shit against dedicated guerrilla fighters--just against terrified civilian populations.

"I really thought they'd stop at genocide" indeed.

Posted by: pbg at January 9, 2005 08:23 PM

P.M. Lawrence,

I'm a dummy who snuck in here too. I looked it up on google:

Let them hate so long as they fear. (A favorite saying of Caligula.)

Posted by: CMike at January 9, 2005 08:34 PM

Yo, what makes you think, and I use the word very loosly here, that their fear will stop them from acting on their hate and killing every American soldier they can. And ya know, or maybe you don't, Caligula came to rather bad end. Screwed the pooch for the Romans if you will. Kinda like Junior's doing know. Keep drinking the Kool Aid children.

Posted by: pericles at January 9, 2005 08:43 PM

I've seen Iron Fist comment about working at Red Lobster before. I'm pretty sure he's pulling our leg.

Posted by: Riesz Fischer at January 9, 2005 08:55 PM

One would think that someone would check into the track record of using death squads to fight an insurgency.

When it succeeds in suppressing opposition, and occasionally it does, it almost always converts a country into a basket case that requires permanent occupation.

Posted by: Charles at January 9, 2005 09:11 PM

"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."

that's a strange economy they have in Falluja.


Posted by: preterite at January 9, 2005 09:14 PM

Negroponte is has exactly the wrong kind of experience: Central America. The experience is that in a polarized society one can find one side that will by our ally.

This worked, up to a point, in Central America. In every country over there we have a pro-American elite. But I do not see who in Iraq will be our ally. The thinking is perhaps that while Iraqi moderates look suspiciously pro-Iranian, they can be converted into enthusiastic pro-American westernizers, and the most important ingredient of that conversion is their gratitude for our efforts. Thus no effort shall be spared, be it torture, random bombing and why not death squads too.

The sheer pointlessness of this degrading situation suggests that our decision makers, Rumsfield, Cheney, Bush, really like designing all these activities. The work of love, if you will.

Posted by: piotr at January 9, 2005 09:23 PM

If we eliminate all the Sunnis in the triangle, Sharon will have a huge amount of real estate to move his settlers to, solving two problems with one stroke.

Posted by: Brian Boru at January 9, 2005 09:29 PM

Apparently this is part of the 'spreading the benefits of democracy' Bush had in mind after he couldn't think of another 'explanation' for invading Iraq.

Posted by: Jon Koppenhoefer at January 9, 2005 09:45 PM

The plan as presented seems to have been tried repeatedly for the past, what, few centuries and can anyone name a single success? Central and South American nations drew closer to the US and became more pro-western, not because of US military action, but because there really was no other global player for them to turn to.

So once again, just like supply side economics, this admin. is recycling failed ideas. Great.

Isnt there an old saying about the definition of insanity: doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Posted by: Jonathan Ehrlich at January 9, 2005 10:03 PM

As noted above, the Sunni population is already paying a terrible price for the insurgency. (Collateral damage, anyone?)

Normally, I'd argue against this on moral and humanitarian grounds. The Bush Administration's "values" don't include morals or humanity, though, so I'll just note how well death squads worked for the Soviets in Afganistan.

The blowback from this will be catastrophic.

Posted by: RepubAnon at January 9, 2005 10:09 PM

The creature known as Iron Fist is one of the most enthusiastic of the Late German Fascists. He got a special medal or something from the High Command for trolling Atrios a while back.

This is bound to confuse people who took "You're with us or you're with the terrorists" seriously. Apparently, American-sponsored terrorism is actually pro-freedom.

Posted by: Geek, Esq. at January 9, 2005 10:21 PM

Where's Moe Levine?

Posted by: Steve at January 9, 2005 10:25 PM

Bye-bye, soft power. Now we can rely on our hard power alone, like real men. Unfortunately, our hard power is too pathetically weak even to subdue a medium-sized flea bitten country like Iraq.

But soft power is for wimps and French people.

Posted by: rps at January 9, 2005 10:28 PM

hey moomaw - what do you mean that "rumsfeld is desperate enough". i think you are still giving the evil sob too much credit. it may well be that this is just part of his personality. if he was really desperate he would announce a withdrawl from iraq.

Posted by: notanumber at January 9, 2005 11:11 PM


Remember when we were pissed about Negroponte because he would send the wrong message to the rest of the world? God, I miss those days.

Did it never occur to us that the appointment was sending exactly the right message? It certainly didn't to me.

Posted by: Auguste at January 9, 2005 11:11 PM

Iron Fist is an idiot mouthbreather and poster boy of Exactly the mentality at LGF. He is dirt , lint, and total feces. Ignore him . The number of troll posts he poops out daily on leftist blogs is evidence enough that he can't even get a job where he can pretend to have a skill ( working Red Lobster and calling it cooking ? Um, ok, like my tricycle mastery makes me a fighter pilot ...) and instead spends his days showing the right wings dollard underbelly for all to mock .

Peace all , darkest of days these are .

Posted by: A.s.H. at January 9, 2005 11:31 PM

Hey, the Republican Party is just playing to their "base," their extremist base. And what could be more extreme than genocide being proposed? Is this the Bush mandate? Is Bush even a Christian? Wasn't Jesus, himself, and his followers the target of some genocidal maniacs? After reading some of the right-wing blogs and some right-wing letters-to-the-editor, it is apparent that there are some genocidal maniacs among us in America...and they support GWB. Has our country sunk this low in the short time Bush has been befouling the White House? God help us all...and God save America...from Bush.

Posted by: The Oracle at January 10, 2005 12:12 AM

Iron Fist is a send up of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists. ROLFMAO

Just about the only way left to try and maintain a minimum of fellow feeling toward the war-mongering embiciles plaguing our country is to laugh at them.

Iron Fist is an inspired creation. Bravo!

Ding! Plan anti-insurgency tactics Ding! Go get the popcorn shrimp from the fryer Ding!

Posted by: wetzel at January 10, 2005 01:23 AM

Do these guys have a base other than an extremist base? Will the American public catch on? Will John realize Martha is the love of his life and will Carlotta eschew her boho existence and return to the bosom of her family? Learn the answers to these less than musical questions on "As the Axis of Evil Turns".

Posted by: hylander at January 10, 2005 03:55 AM

Hi. I've been reading here for a little while, have not posted before. I have only recently seen Iron Fist's posts. I can't recall whether that was in another thread here, or possibly over at Atrios or Kos. I think there's something a little deeper in his posts than some of you have been seeing. He frequently mentions his employment at Red Lobster (which I suspect may be fictional). I believe he does so with the intention of drawing out derogatory comments not about his political views, but about his job. And that's candy to a conservative. When they can find evidence of snobbery and hypocrisy among liberals, it makes them feel better about their own hypocrisy. That's a problem with modern liberalism. When people working lousy jobs and living in lower economic brackets are greeted with smirking contempt or patronizing condescension by the snarky college grads that make up so much of our internet presence, its hard to win them over to the cause. So, next time you feel the urge to reply to Iron Fist, reply to his politics, not his self-proclaimed employment.

Posted by: David R. at January 10, 2005 04:46 AM

Jesus would be in favor of terrorizing the innocent.

I remember he once said something like "Suffer, little children!"

I'm sure a good Christian like Iron Fist will verify this.

Posted by: glenstonecottage at January 10, 2005 04:57 AM

CMike, I'm sorry to have to tell you I knew the Latin, I just didn't think there was any conflict between that and Winthrop when you looked closely at him.

His "charity" is of the puritan variety, confined to his puritan neighbours, and not like the fuller Christian teaching that recognises (e.g. in the Parable of the Good Samaritan) that everybody counts. Winthrop faces up to what to do to outsiders, and only recognises benefits to them from letting them see how Puritans flourish.

To me, that whole "the eyes of the world are upon us" thing is the most absurd thing there, since they plainly weren't. It's just sad that now those that sincerely believe it follow it in such a way that they inconvenience the vast majority of the world that is NOT interested in that example.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence at January 10, 2005 05:33 AM

The insurgency is literally slaughtering police officers and Iraqi...uh..hmmmm...I'll use scare quotes..."Army" "Regiments".

Calling these "death squads" will be pretty accurate - you sign up and die. Anybody remember the old Bill Cosby routine (as best I can remember): "From the time the corpsman leaves the boat until the time he almost gets to the beach is, uh, five minutes".

You might as well sign up to be a living organ donor.

Posted by: a different chris at January 10, 2005 05:43 AM

ALL empires end up resorting to using death squads to maintain order.

Posted by: Elaine Supkis at January 10, 2005 05:48 AM

Forget Mr LGF red lonster, look at the original MSNBC piece.

Exactly how is the US going to operate death squads in a country that has an independent elected government operated by pro-Iranian Shiites?

Sistani does not like the political constitution in Iran, he thinks that clerics should not hold political power because it will corrupt them. But he must like the idea of US death squads roaming the country a whole heap less and he can force the US to withdraw any day he chooses.

If Sistani can get military support from Iran he does not need US troops. Iran would need far fewer troops than the US does, the supply line and logistics problems are much less problematic for them.

What Bush and Co have done is to make Iran the regional superpower and effectively ensure that Iran controls the entire gulf region. In addition they have prooved that the US is incapable of occupying Iran since the US is incapble of occupying Iraq which is about a third the size.

The real importance of the stories is that they have been leaked. Whoever leaked them is going to make sure that they are not put into action.

Posted by: Phill at January 10, 2005 05:56 AM


I wish I was sure that the leaks meant someone with power was opposed to the policy discussed.

The rest of the war record is not reassuring.

Here's an alternative reading: It's already happening. Either the leaker and the people he is discussing don't want to admit it, or don't know what their subordinates are doing.

How would we know if it was happening, given the chaos in Iraq?

Posted by: sm at January 10, 2005 06:24 AM

This is not a new story. Back in October 2002, there was a blurb in the Times about Israelis coming to the US to teach techniques they had learned during the intifadas to Special Forces troops at both Ft. Campbell and Ft. Bragg.

From the minute I saw that article, I kept looking for little hints buried deep in the papers that they had been teaching what I thought they had been teaching and soon enough: Voila!! The intelligentsia in pre-war Iraq began to die off at an alarming rate. The Iraqis themselves noticed this and were stating the obvious: You cannot rebuild a country with its educated class missing. But to the Bushes, the educated classes represented a threat because they could put the face of respectability on the "insurgency," they could enunciate that the people fighting the aggressors were doing nothing more than defending themselves from foreigners intent on stealing their country's natural and national resources.

The remarkable thing about this story is that it has finally seen the light of day, given the shroud of secrecy that covers everything related to the Bush family and administrations (both father and son).

Make no mistake about it, there is a direct correlation between the status of Poppy Bush as CIA director and the subsequent rise of the death squads in Central America along with the Operation Condor abuses that were sanctioned and abetted by the US. There is also a direct correlation between the looting of the US Treasury and the involvement of the Bush family in US politics. The one couldn't exist without the other.

This is the first family of America? I'd be happier with the Corleones. They were patriots also, weren't they?

Posted by: matt at January 10, 2005 06:25 AM

The bad guys are always yhe same people. Read your history books. Hitler with "the end justifies the means" Stalin with the death camps!
Pick up the NY Times and find out who killed those civil rights workers in 1964, big surprise a "preacher for the Clan!!!!
Today we have people like the current leaders in the US who are trampling on the rights of Americans, why are we surprised after killing 100M civilans in this war of lies that they are now going to commit genocide? The surprise is the american people (or at least half of them who look the other way)? My question is who are these Americans?

Posted by: rmf at January 10, 2005 06:47 AM

I've had that saying up on my "now in transition" Web site - as the RNC motto - since last July.

Oderint dum Metuant = Let them hate so long as they fear.

Posted by: AndrewBB at January 10, 2005 07:01 AM

If you guys would like to know why the American people don't trust Democrats with national security, read your comments. Armies ARE death squads. By definition.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan at January 10, 2005 07:25 AM

Pat Sullivan: Democrats are capable of drawing a distinction between necessary defensive armies (i.e. "good death squads who strike fear into the hearts of opposing armies") and unnecessary offensive armies (those who would employ terroristic tactics to strike fear into the hearts and minds of the civilians our purpose was to free).

Posted by: Ron at January 10, 2005 07:36 AM

None of this behaviour is surprising. Perhaps the best brief discussion of our moral condition is still Orwell's 'Notes on Nationalism'. But Mark Twain's 'To the Person Sitting in Darkness' is closer to home and more amusing and could have been written about the project-war in Iraq. Mr. Rove and Mr. Norquist have said they would like to take us back to the fresh far off days of William McKinley but surely gentlemen we never left.


Posted by: bellumregio at January 10, 2005 07:37 AM

Regarding the latter, that is to say "bad death squads," i.e. the kind that's in the subject WE'RE actually TALKING about.

Wah wah, subtleties are HARD! :(

Posted by: ron at January 10, 2005 07:41 AM

Sorry Iron Fist,

I only eat at Blue Lobster.

(ba dum dum tsssss!)

Thank you folks, I'm here all morning...

Posted by: oodja at January 10, 2005 07:50 AM

Armies ARE death squads. By definition.

Elides a key distinction: soldiers in armies are responsible to the government they serve through the military chain of command. Members of death squads have no such heirarchy over them -- perhaps ideal from a certain type of libertarian viewpoint, but more objectionable to the sane among us. Armies are operating within the realm of law, death squads are extralegal.

Posted by: Jeremy Osner at January 10, 2005 07:52 AM

Hasn't the americans been using assassination of foreign leaders as policy since at least Eisenhaur's(SP?) time in office. Patrice Lamumba.

Posted by: big al at January 10, 2005 08:10 AM

Armies ARE death squads. By definition.

Only in the same way that a patriot is the same thing as a nationalist.

Which is to say not really, not at all.

Posted by: perianwyr at January 10, 2005 08:52 AM

From the "Why Oh Why Can't We Have More Savvy Posters Dept.":

Uh.... guys? Iron Fist is a joke. Get it? A joke. He's not really an LGF poster who works at Red Lobster. Really. It's just a joke.

Posted by: Jim J at January 10, 2005 11:43 AM


Ahhh. Someone made the connection.

Nationalists and patriots aren't the same thing at all, patriots are the lunatic fringe.

Which is why having missiles named Patriot missiles is perfectly logical.

Posted by: matt at January 10, 2005 12:13 PM

"They seem to be trying to incite as much blowback as possible. I mean, how can you use death squads to target the insurgents if you're not even sure who the hell they are?"

But M., the point isn't to target insurgents. The point is to kill people more or less wholesale for suspected support of insurgents.

This policy could be called something like - Fighting terrorism where it wasn't by resorting to terrorism.

Posted by: cal at January 10, 2005 12:32 PM

This worked, up to a point, in Central America.

In Central America, they didn't have Islam. The answer to death squads will be a rigid Taliban-style fundamentalism that quite rightfully paints the West as the enemy.

Death squads work by keeping people in terror. They cannot function if the populace turns to jihad instead.

Posted by: Phoenician in a time of Romans at January 10, 2005 01:26 PM

"Armies ARE death squads. By definition."

Do actually read the Newsweek article, Patrick ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6802629/site/newsweek/ ). First, the plan is to have the US train and fund Shiite and Kurdish death squads to go after insurgent supporters, WITHOUT AMERICAN OFFICERS DIRECTLY CONTROLLING THEM -- which means, of course, that (especially given the inter-ethnic hatreds in Iraq) they'll be, er, indiscriminate in picking the Sunnis to attack, with entirely predictable consequences where the Sunnis' opinion of us is concerned (to say nothing of considerations of justice). Precisely as happened with the Salvadoran death squads, although this time the political/strategic consequences for the US will be a lot more serious.

But it doesn't stop there. Oh, no. The plan is not just to terrorize those Sunni civilians who ACTIVELY help the insurgents. "[Iraq intelligence director] Shahwani also said that the U.S. occupation has failed to crack the problem of broad support for the insurgency. The insurgents, he said, 'are mostly in the Sunni areas where the population there, almost 200,000, is sympathetic to them.' He said 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.' "

In other words, we're talking about having the death squads, er, encourage Iraq's civilian Sunnis to inform on the insurgents, by staging indiscriminate regional civilian massacres in any place where the death squads decide the populace isn't squealing frequently enough. That will work REAL well in making us popular among the world's Moslems. And, as I say, this is a lot farther than the Nazis went at Lidice, where they merely massacred the entire village for supposedly providing active support to Reinhard Heydrich's assassins.

Mark Kleiman summarizes the situation neatly: "Death squad activity is terrorism. Its purpose is never merely the assassination or kidnapping of a small number of leaders [a military strategy which Kleiman supports], but always the cowing of entire populations. This case is no different. Note the language [of that US military officer] carefully...The target isn't a few dead-enders or foreign terrorist; the target is 'the Sunni population,' which needs to be taught a lesson.

"I'm not saying this is wrong as a military matter. Threatening everyone in a village with death, or worse, if the village is used for enemy operations can be a very effective technique, whether the perpetrators are the SS in occupied Czechoslovakia, ARENA in El Salvador, or whatever new force we invent in Iraq. It probably would have worked here if Lord North had been willing to order it.

"Indeed there may be no other way to win the sort of war we're now fighting. It appears that the Bush Administration has managed to make a large proportion of the Sunni population of Iraq into our enemies. If you really want to occupy (sorry, Sen. Miller, 'occupy' is the word) an area against the enmity of a large slice of the population, and you can't or won't do what's necessary to make them like you, then you have to make them fear you.

"But is that who we want to be? The next time you see the movie about Lidice, do you really want to have to think about which side you're supposed to be rooting for?"

To say nothing of the fact that this time we won't be able to get away with this sort of thing as clandestinely as we were able to do in El Salvador, and Vietnam, and before that to put down Aguinaldo's revolt in the Philippines. This time the whole world will be watching, on TV. Specifically, one billion Moslems worldwide who don't particularly like us to begin with will be watching, and drawing their own conclusions about what the Infidels REALLY mean when they talk about "introducing democracy". One billion Moslems some of whom already have the Bomb, with others about to acquire it (thanks largely to the Administration fucking around instead with the Iraq red herring).

By the way, the Newsweek article has now had a passage added in which Negroponte indignantly denies that he personally knew anything about the Salvadoran death squads or has anything to do with planning our future military strategy in Iraq. Interestingly, however, he does not deny that others in the Reagan Administration arranged support of the Salvadoran Death squads, or that the US is seriously planning them for Iraq -- he merely says that the insertion of HIS name into the report was "utterly gratuitous".

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at January 10, 2005 01:47 PM

From one of Kevgin Drum's commenters, "Scotian":

"One must have the information to target an enemy before one can fight that enemy effectively, and this is where the American military is showing its greatest weakness in this fight against the insurgency. It leaves the military forced to employ mass arrests, mass bombing, mass destruction as their only means of fighting back, and the innocent bystanders caught up in the middle will be used as martyrs for the insurgency as well as propaganda by the insurgency to recruit more members and increase their popular support. Again, nothing about this is new; nothing about this is hard to work out. Yet this is the trap GWB and company put the American military and government squarely in the middle of."

AMEN. The Death Squad proposal is merely the latest example of our trying to win this war -- and, on top of that, the larger effort to convert Moslems worldwide away from anti-American theocracy -- by making a desert out of Iraq and calling it peace. Of course (to repeat myself yet again) the additional troops and spending we would have needed to occupy and reform Iraq successfully are so enormous that the question again arises whether it would be the most cost-effective use of our military in the worldwide war against Megaterrorism.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at January 10, 2005 02:54 PM

Actually, there is a real 'Iron Fist, LGF' who posts on Little Green Footballs. He has a blog: http://www.advancedcruelty.blogspot.com
This one is a parody.
And the 'real' Iron Fist did say he worked at Red Lobster for five years. It funny because he was saying how that made him such a great cook!

Posted by: Bill W. at January 10, 2005 06:04 PM

Patrick Sullivan, determined to ignore reality, writes: "Armies ARE death squads. By definition."

Yes, Patrick. Just like a police raid is exactly like a raid from a lynch mob.


Posted by: PaulB at January 11, 2005 09:15 AM

Patrick seems to be resorting to his usual hit-and-run style of argumentation. I rather doubt we'll hear from him anymore on this thread.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at January 11, 2005 11:19 AM

...now going to commit genocide?

I guess I am not suprised. Didn't U. S. policy include genocide or something very close to it in bringing democracy to the American Indian population?

Posted by: bncthor at January 11, 2005 12:45 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?