Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The "Salvador Option"

In one of the darkest episodes of American history then President Ronald Reagan funded nationalist death squads in El Salvador whose mission was to hunt down and kill rebel leaders. As we now know, the death squads expanded their killing spree beyond the assignations of rebel leaders and sympathizers and included church leaders, human rights workers and anyone who showed sympathy for the poor.

With the conflict in Iraq deteriorating and the Bush administration’s efforts yielding what is beginning to look like a failed state, the “Salvador Option” has reemerged. This is from Newsweek:

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.

If one can rationalize torture while positioning oneself as the keeper of “values” on behalf the Religious Right then murder and terror become logical next steps. Are torture and the “Salvador Option” merely “Faith Based” initiatives?


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