blogenlust
1.10.2005

We're Losing


Newsweek is reporting that the Pentagon is seriously considering a proposal that would bring Salvadoran-style death squads to Iraq as a means of going on the offensive against the insurgency:
Jan. 8 - What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called "the Salvador option"—and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. "What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are," one senior military officer told NEWSWEEK. "We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgency—as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time—than in spreading it out. Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the 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. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)
Chalk this up as another brilliant proposal from the "Do As I Say, Not As I Do": Bringing Democracy and Freedom to the Middle East policy currently in vogue with this Administration. It's pretty fucking ironic that an Administration that claims the Iraqi insurgency is acting out of desperation would even consider such a disgustingly vile and desperate proposal. The writing is on the wall: We're losing. Big time. It is only a matter of time before those words start publicly leaving the lips of people in Washington and Baghdad. And when they do, it won't just be from people like you and I. It will be from conservatives like Newt Gingrich and in publications like The Weekly Standard. Even though I've never agreed with the stated purpose of this war, I understand the vital importance of seeing it through the right way. The danger of leaving Iraq much worse than we found it is far greater than the "danger" that led us into war in the first place. A different Administration might look at the current situation and decide it needs to take a step back and reconsider the direction we're heading. Not this Administration. When the going gets tough, they seem to always make it worse. The Poorman said it best:
And, before you ask: no, I have no clue about how we can improve things in Iraq. I don’t have a single idea for how we can un-shit the bed, and I don’t hold out much hope that this whole bed-shitting episode is ever going to be brought to a lemony-fresh conclusion. I do, however, know who shit the bed, and have some sense of how frequently he shits there. Let’s stop shitting for a start.
I don't think death squads constitute a "stop shitting."