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Old 01-09-2005, 10:50 AM  
MadProphetMargin MadProphetMargin is offline
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6802629/site/newsweek/

‘The Salvador Option’
The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq

By Michael Hirsh and John Barry
Newsweek
Updated: 10:22 a.m. ET Jan. 9, 2005


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.)

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. 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.

Also being debated is which agency within the U.S. government—the Defense department or CIA—would take responsibility for such an operation. Rumsfeld’s Pentagon has aggressively sought to build up its own intelligence-gathering and clandestine capability with an operation run by Defense Undersecretary Stephen Cambone. But since the Abu Ghraib interrogations scandal, some military officials are ultra-wary of any operations that could run afoul of the ethics codified in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That, they argue, is the reason why such covert operations have always been run by the CIA and authorized by a special presidential finding. (In "covert" activity, U.S. personnel operate under cover and the U.S. government will not confirm that it instigated or ordered them into action if they are captured or killed.)

Meanwhile, intensive discussions are taking place inside the Senate Intelligence Committee over the Defense department’s efforts to expand the involvement of U.S. Special Forces personnel in intelligence-gathering missions. Historically, Special Forces’ intelligence gathering has been limited to objectives directly related to upcoming military operations—"preparation of the battlefield," in military lingo. But, according to intelligence and defense officials, some Pentagon civilians for years have sought to expand the use of Special Forces for other intelligence missions.

Pentagon civilians and some Special Forces personnel believe CIA civilian managers have traditionally been too conservative in planning and executing the kind of undercover missions that Special Forces soldiers believe they can effectively conduct. CIA traditionalists are believed to be adamantly opposed to ceding any authority to the Pentagon. Until now, Pentagon proposals for a capability to send soldiers out on intelligence missions without direct CIA approval or participation have been shot down. But counter-terrorist strike squads, even operating covertly, could be deemed to fall within the Defense department’s orbit.

The interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is said to be among the most forthright proponents of the Salvador option. Maj. Gen.Muhammad Abdallah al-Shahwani, director of Iraq’s National Intelligence Service, may have been laying the groundwork for the idea with a series of interviews during the past ten days. Shahwani told the London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat that the insurgent leadership—he named three former senior figures in the Saddam regime, including Saddam Hussein’s half-brother—were essentially safe across the border in a Syrian sanctuary. "We are certain that they are in Syria and move easily between Syrian and Iraqi territories," he said, adding that efforts to extradite them "have not borne fruit so far."

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."

Pentagon sources emphasize there has been no decision yet to launch the Salvador option. Last week, Rumsfeld decided to send a retired four-star general, Gary Luck, to Iraq on an open-ended mission to review the entire military strategy there. But with the U.S. Army strained to the breaking point, military strategists note that a dramatic new approach might be needed—perhaps one as potentially explosive as the Salvador option.


With Mark Hosenball


© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.


Actually, this COULD work, but my prediction is that this will turn into a general slaughter of Sunnis by the Shi'ites, with American assistance.
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:41 PM   #46
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Terrorists are not, in a legal sense, enemy combatants, are they?
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:46 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by MadProphetMargin
I suggest you look up our record in El Salvador.

there were reasons for what was done in el sal. i had an SF buddy who was there from day one till the day SF pulled out. the rebels were NOT playing by any rules and were killing women and children... entire villages in fact. if you want to call baby-killers "innocent" and they deserved to be on trial or whatever, you are warped.

(not only rebels were involved, but KGB and some crooked CIA operatives. nasty scene.)

in my mind, they ALL got what they deserved...
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:31 AM   #48
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Which thugs?

And who said it was our job to straighten them out?
No one else applied...
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:36 AM   #49
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Like I care HOW we kill them.

When do we get the oil?...
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I wish I always ended up at gay bars.
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:29 AM   #50
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War is neither nice, nor pretty. It's played to win, and whoever wins writes the history books how they want it. As long as atrocities aren't committed, pretty much anything else goes.
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:34 AM   #51
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:10 PM   #52
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Sure be concerned, it doesn't change the fact that we are killing kidnapping killers.
And probably innocent people as well considering the large number of innocent people that were held at Abu Graibh without any legal recourse. What makes you think this administration would use any more discretion with this?

I don't necessarily object to the idea of special forces eliminating the enemy. I fear what their orders from the pentagon will be considering the pentagon's role and the mysterious forces that were running around Iraq during the Abu Graibh scandal. My issue is with the honesty and motives of the most dishonest and aggressive administration in modern US history. Give them an inch and they always take a mile, IMO.
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:15 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Amnorix
War is neither nice, nor pretty. It's played to win, and whoever wins writes the history books how they want it. As long as atrocities aren't committed, pretty much anything else goes.
Yep.
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:43 PM   #54
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That responds to my sarcastic coda. What about the meat? Give me anything. . . ANYTHING. . . to back up your baseless and embarassing hypothesis that
You're suggesting that where there is smoke there is no fire. Again, what facts would Kenneth Starr have had if the repubs handn't entrapped Clinton with Linda Tripp, which ultimately had nothing to do with the purpose of the independent council to begin with?

You demand facts when the lack of accountability of this admininistration has prevented the facts from coming forward (Abu Graibh, Valerie Plame). If Kenneth Starr were still working today, I'm sure we'd have quite enough facts. While proving that they lied is difficult without a smoking gun, the objective facts of several of these situations has called their veracity into question time and time again. It isn't just partisan politics that call into question their behavior and their honesty.

A consistent pattern of manipulation and arrogant disregard has gone unaccounted for, IMO.

I'm not trying to bash Bush. I am just hoping that people will begin looking harder at (and be more wary of) this administration's words and actions which seem to always be driven by an ideological zeal that results in a type of unAmerican behavior that ultimately undermines our traditions, values, and fundamental sense of fairness. All this is done by appealing to our pride, prejudices, and fears (IMO),
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Old 01-10-2005, 01:14 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by penchief
You're suggesting that where there is smoke there is no fire. Again, what facts would Kenneth Starr have had if the repubs handn't entrapped Clinton with Linda Tripp, which ultimately had nothing to do with the purpose of the independent council to begin with?

You demand facts when the lack of accountability of this admininistration has prevented the facts from coming forward (Abu Graibh, Valerie Plame). If Kenneth Starr were still working today, I'm sure we'd have quite enough facts. While proving that they lied is difficult without a smoking gun, the objective facts of several of these situations has called their veracity into question time and time again. It isn't just partisan politics that call into question their behavior and their honesty.

A consistent pattern of manipulation and arrogant disregard has gone unaccounted for, IMO.

I'm not trying to bash Bush. I am just hoping that people will begin looking harder at (and be more wary of) this administration's words and actions which seem to always be driven by an ideological zeal that results in a type of unAmerican behavior that ultimately undermines our traditions, values, and fundamental sense of fairness. All this is done by appealing to our pride, prejudices, and fears (IMO),
Absolutely frigg’n hilarious that you'd dismiss White Water and Lewinski Gate as a vendetta of Kenneth Star’s just after posting “where there’s smoke there’s fire”.
You should take this routine on the road.
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Old 01-10-2005, 02:13 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by penchief
You're suggesting that where there is smoke there is no fire. Again, what facts would Kenneth Starr have had if the repubs handn't entrapped Clinton with Linda Tripp, which ultimately had nothing to do with the purpose of the independent council to begin with?

You demand facts when the lack of accountability of this admininistration has prevented the facts from coming forward (Abu Graibh, Valerie Plame). If Kenneth Starr were still working today, I'm sure we'd have quite enough facts. While proving that they lied is difficult without a smoking gun, the objective facts of several of these situations has called their veracity into question time and time again. It isn't just partisan politics that call into question their behavior and their honesty.

A consistent pattern of manipulation and arrogant disregard has gone unaccounted for, IMO.

I'm not trying to bash Bush. I am just hoping that people will begin looking harder at (and be more wary of) this administration's words and actions which seem to always be driven by an ideological zeal that results in a type of unAmerican behavior that ultimately undermines our traditions, values, and fundamental sense of fairness. All this is done by appealing to our pride, prejudices, and fears (IMO),
By that logic, your vitriol against the admin is valid evidence that you are 'probably' planning to assassinate the president.

I ALWAYS demand facts. It's how I do.
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Old 01-10-2005, 02:19 PM   #57
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Absolutely frigg’n hilarious that you'd dismiss White Water and Lewinski Gate as a vendetta of Kenneth Star’s just after posting “where there’s smoke there’s fire”.
You should take this routine on the road.
I wasn't dismissing it. I was pointing out the hypocricy of how a lack of facts did not deter the right-wing from proceeding with an investigation of anything (no matter how unjustified by fact) that would continue to hamper the Clinton presidency for politial gain when there is zero accountability for the miscalculations and deceits (justifying investigation) of this administration that were based on a "manipulation" of the facts.

The biggest difference? The repubs went after a popular democratic president for things that were unrelated to the conduct of official government policy that occurred mostly before he occupied the White House while the American public can't even get a straight answer about any of the misjudgments, misleading statements, or beligerent behavior of this administration concerning those things most important to the conduct of official government policy.

Plus, considering GW's shady past, if Kenneth Starr were given open-ended investigative powers if this president's personal life it would be a bonanza for those who would like to see equal treatment of our leaders, republican or democrat.

I don't want that. What I want is accountability for their conduct of official government business. Not only is there no accountability, this administration has never taken responsibility for anything! They even blamed the good sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln for their self-promotional "Mission Accomplished" sign. How insideous is that? If Clinton had done that, most conservatives on this board would have used that as evidence of how much of a scumbag he was.

I just want to see some accountability and responsibility on the part of our government instead of the same old ideological smokescreen. And I would like to see acknowledgement on the part of the true believers that if Bush were Clinton, you'd be screaming louder than progressives are now.
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Old 01-10-2005, 02:59 PM   #58
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By that logic, your vitriol against the admin is valid evidence that you are 'probably' planning to assassinate the president.

I ALWAYS demand facts. It's how I do.
Why don't you give me some facts that counter my opinions. If you don't have any then you are dealing with the same thing I am. Your opinion has no more legitimacy than mine. But if you want to talk about patterns of conduct that is another thing. It is easy to demand facts (when you know that neither side has them) than it is to try to defend or ignore the obvious patterns of undesirable behavior exhibited by this administration.
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Old 01-10-2005, 04:52 PM   #59
MadProphetMargin MadProphetMargin is offline
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someone already said it.. there are no rules in war..

Really? Then we hung Bormann and Eichmann by MISTAKE?
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Old 01-10-2005, 04:54 PM   #60
MadProphetMargin MadProphetMargin is offline
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War is neither nice, nor pretty. It's played to win, and whoever wins writes the history books how they want it. As long as atrocities aren't committed, pretty much anything else goes.
Um, death squads don't commit atrocities?
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