13. January 2005 · Comments Off on The Death Squad Scare · Categories: Iraq, War, World

Glenn Reynolds has a few interesting links on the death-squad todo. Of note to me is this bit from Jonah Goldberg:

Okay now, let’s clear a few things up. First of all, the “El Salvador Option” was used in — hold on, let me get my map, yes, yes, that’s right — El Salvador, not Nicaragua. Whatever the merits or demerits of American policy in El Salvador or Nicaragua, the effort in El Salvador did not lead to the Iran-Contra scandal. Newsweek seems to think that piling on negative associations with Latin American foreign policy will help dramatize a story they might not even have in the first place. After all, the substance of the initial story is that people inside the Pentagon are discussing their options. Someone reorder my adult diapers, that is scary!

This seems to be a common thing with foreign policy doves, and particularly conspiracy theorists. Iraq becomes El Salvador, which becomes Nicaragua, which becomes Guatemala and Iran, and then Vietnam. And it all blends together into some grand continuum, with total loss of historical perspective.

The real world, particularly the Islamosphere, is a very complex place. And any Special Operation, designed to terminate hostiles surgically, can be considered a Death Squad. But can anyone deny their strategic importance, particularly in a guerilla war?

After the election, the Iraqis themselves, much more familiar with the lay of the land, and with the aegis of a legitimate government, are actually far more likely to employ Death Squads than we are. And if they are effective at dealing with ex-Ba’athist and foreign terrorist elements within their borders, and maintain military discipline, can we demonize them for it?

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