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Old 01-09-2005, 09:50 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, 11:02 AM   #16
mlyonsd mlyonsd is offline
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Originally Posted by MadProphetMargin
As I said in the OP, this COULD work. However, odds are (historically speaking) that this will turn into another El Salvador-style massacre.

THAT is my objection.
I'm not picking a fight with you, just agreeing it could work too and that I don't think we should feel guilty about it. As far as I'm concerned there's massacring going on everyday in Iraq so maybe it's time to take the fight back to the insurgents the same way.

Your concern it will escalate is valid, but it's a chance I'm willing to take.
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:04 AM   #17
MadProphetMargin MadProphetMargin is offline
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd

Your concern it will escalate is valid, but it's a chance I'm willing to take.
The bravery of being out of range, hmmm?
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:11 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by MadProphetMargin
The bravery of being out of range, hmmm?
I'm in too good of a mood today to let cheap shots bother me.

I have a 9 year old son that I'm thinking of. I believe in our mission and that it has a better chance of keeping him out of that part of the world by the time he's old enough to serve then letting the law of thugs prevail.

It goes back to the ground rules I set at the onset of the discussion. I see democracy as the only way to straighten out that part of the world.

My family has sacrificed plenty in the past. I don't feel guilty with my beliefs.
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:17 AM   #19
MadProphetMargin MadProphetMargin is offline
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd
I'm in too good of a mood today to let cheap shots bother me.

I have a 9 year old son that I'm thinking of. I believe in our mission and that it has a better chance of keeping him out of that part of the world by the time he's old enough to serve then letting the law of thugs prevail.

It goes back to the ground rules I set at the onset of the discussion. I see democracy as the only way to straighten out that part of the world.

My family has sacrificed plenty in the past. I don't feel guilty with my beliefs.
Which thugs?

And who said it was our job to straighten them out?
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:21 AM   #20
mlyonsd mlyonsd is offline
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Originally Posted by MadProphetMargin
Which thugs?

And who said it was our job to straighten them out?
I tried to briefly explain my position early on in the conversation. Like I said, this is going nowhere.
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:22 AM   #21
Raiderhader Raiderhader is offline
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Originally Posted by MadProphetMargin
Enlighten me.

One killed indicriminantly to get his way, and the other wants to kill indicrimanantly to get their way.

One killed to oppress, the other wants to kill to liberate.

One killed innocents, the other wants to kill terrorists.


Let's not be stupid about this.
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:24 AM   #22
MadProphetMargin MadProphetMargin is offline
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Originally Posted by raiderhader
One killed innocents, the other wants to kill terrorists.
I suggest you look up our record in El Salvador.
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:28 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by MadProphetMargin
I suggest you look up our record in El Salvador.

I thought your comparison with the post I quoted was to Saddam and Iraq. I suggest you keep to the subject.
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Old 01-09-2005, 01:49 PM   #24
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MPM has to be the worst propagandist I have ever read on this board.

He is singularly worse than Ringleader and jAZ combined.



"ooooo, heavens, we are sending in secret killers to stop the people beheading other people. We are so vile"

What a stretch of lively imagination that his skull must provide.
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Old 01-09-2005, 02:39 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCWolfman
MPM has to be the worst propagandist I have ever read on this board.

He is singularly worse than Ringleader and jAZ combined.



"ooooo, heavens, we are sending in secret killers to stop the people beheading other people. We are so vile"

What a stretch of lively imagination that his skull must provide.


And this clown was concerned about people laughing at me....
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Old 01-09-2005, 02:54 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd
Great idea, 'bout time.

Next issue.
Good idea for everyone but innocent victims and idealistic Americans who believe leadership is by example. The randomn targets of these type operations are probably no different than the innocent victims who were randomly detained at Abu Graibh. There is a reason that even WAR has rules. When you operate in secrecy and defer better judgment until after shooting your wad the results are generally less than satisfactory, IMO.

Nothing this administration has done has been above board, IMO. I just don't see American values and human integrity as part of their makeup, IMO.
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Old 01-09-2005, 03:15 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by penchief
The randomn targets of these type operations are probably no different than the innocent victims who were randomly detained at Abu Graibh.
If ever a statement needed a 'prove it' this is the one.
Nah, just citing some pablum about 'values' and 'decency.'
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Old 01-09-2005, 03:30 PM   #28
Raiderhader Raiderhader is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penchief
Good idea for everyone but innocent victims and idealistic Americans who believe leadership is by example.
It's not?

As to the "innocent victims", they are being killed by terrorists anyway, so where does that leave your argument?

Quote:
The randomn targets of these type operations are probably no different than the innocent victims who were randomly detained at Abu Graibh. There is a reason that even WAR has rules. When you operate in secrecy and defer better judgment until after shooting your wad the results are generally less than satisfactory, IMO.

Nothing this administration has done has been above board, IMO. I just don't see American values and human integrity as part of their makeup, IMO.
You are welcome to believe that if you like. The truth of the matter is that anyone who plays by the "rules" of war, is not trying very hard to win.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF SPECWAR ACCORDING TO RICHARD MARCINKO




-I am the War Lord and the wrathful God of Combat and I will always lead you from the front, not from the rear.




-I will treat you all alike-just like shit.




-Thou shalt do nothing I will not do first, and thus will you be created Warriors in My deadly image.




-I shall punish thy bodies because the more thou sweatest in training, the less thou bleedest in combat.




-Indeed, if thou hurteth in thy efforts and thou suffer painful dings, then thou art Doing It Right.




-Thou hast not to like it-thou hast just to do it.




-Thou shalt Keep It Simple, Stupid.




-Thou shalt never assume.




-Verily, thou art not paid for thy methods, but for thy results, by which meaneth thou shalt kill thine enemy before he killeth you by any means available.




-Thou shalt, in thy Warrior's Mind and Soul, always remember My ultimate and final Commandment:There Are No Rules-Thou Shalt Win At All Cost.
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Old 01-09-2005, 03:32 PM   #29
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What the hell are our spec ops boys supposed to do?

Kill them with harsh language?
Have a spelling contest with them?

Or, the horror, put panties on their heads.

Kill the enemy, with as little collateral damage as possible, with as few casualties on our side and maximum on theirs.
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Old 01-09-2005, 03:38 PM   #30
KCWolfman KCWolfman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penchief
Good idea for everyone but innocent victims and idealistic Americans who believe leadership is by example. The randomn targets of these type operations are probably no different than the innocent victims who were randomly detained at Abu Graibh. There is a reason that even WAR has rules. When you operate in secrecy and defer better judgment until after shooting your wad the results are generally less than satisfactory, IMO.

Nothing this administration has done has been above board, IMO. I just don't see American values and human integrity as part of their makeup, IMO.
Shucks, we didn't live up to your expectations while we kill beheading murderers.
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