Pentagon considering "Death Squads" in Iraq

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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.)

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, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions...

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thoughts everyone?/

Christian mosh pit go mosh:

(expect to have loads of post coming saying you hate America and hate the troops. Just a warning)

Well, if our goal is to win, presumably that requires killing insurgents. So, for those that want us to win, you have to develop a strategy to bring about victory.

This can easily be misinterpretation at work; there is nothing wrong with Iraq operating special forces units-- if they work, it will save many civilian lives. There can be debate over the TACTICS of such units, which is far from being at issue (since at this point they do not exist).

Further, there is a very serious problem if the insurgents drive out the US: the following civil war would be unbelievably destructive... almost assuredly millions of casualties, with civilians taking the brunt of it. Because, now that the Sunnis are out of power, the Shiites and Kurds aren't going to let them dominate them again-- an insurgent victory is even bad for SUNNIS, because they would probably lose.

So, a rational analysis yields these options:

1) Win, at the cost of thousands of lives
2) Lose, at the cost of millions of lives

Certainly a rational person could very well determine (1) to be the better course.

J. J.:
If properly trained and controlled, yes.  I, for one, don't want to see an open season on Sunnis.

I have no problem with training Iraqis to kill or capture terrorists and insurgents.  The more help the better.

(I can add some "You hate America" remarks if it will make BRTD happy, but my heart won't be in it.)

True Federalist (진정한 연방 주의자):
Actually, the military should always explore all the options and be prepared for a wide variety of possibilities, even if they are never used. For instance, in the early part of the 20th century, the US prepared a set of color coded war plans   It's a shame that War Plan Crimson was never put into effect. and we probably should be keeping War Plan Gold up to date.  The surprising thing about this is that Rumsfeld seems to finally be recognizing that things may not turn out as we expect them to.  I hope the condidtions are never so bad as to make the Salvador Option something implemented, but it is a possibility that should be among the possibilities.


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