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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, 03:49 PM   #31
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If ever a statement needed a 'prove it' this is the one.
Nah, just citing some pablum about 'values' and 'decency.'
I fundamentally agree with what you say about my statements. But the caveat is the track-record of this administration. Judging from the very distinct patterns they have forged by their penchant for operating in secrecy and making false claims against their advesaries (at every level), their words and their actions about Iraqi WMD, Iraqi links to Al-Qaeda, Abu Graibh, Guantanomo, Valerie Plame, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and the recent payola scandal (among MANY other things too numerous to mention), it is reasonable for someone to assume that this administration would take the same single-minded and aggressive yet, less than honest approach to leading America in this particular covert situation, too (IMO).

It would be reasonable for someone to be concerned about that, wouldn't it?

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Old 01-09-2005, 03:53 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by KCWolfman
Shucks, we didn't live up to your expectations while we kill beheading murderers.
I fundamentally agree with what you infer about my statements. But the caveat is the track-record of this administration. Judging from the very distinct patterns they have forged by their penchant for operating in secrecy and making false claims against their advesaries (at every level), their words and their actions about Iraqi WMD, Iraqi links to Al-Qaeda, Abu Graibh, Guantanamo, Valerie Plame, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and the recent payola scandal (among MANY other things too numerous to mention), it is reasonable for someone to assume that this administration would take the same single-minded and aggressive, less than honest approach to leading America in this particular covert situation, too (IMO).

It would be reasonable for someone to be concerned about that, wouldn't it?

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Old 01-09-2005, 04:11 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadProphetMargin
1. I disagreed with Clinton on Kosovo. We were never intended to be the world's cop...and we ARE the aggressors, technically. We invaded them "pre-emptively", remember?

2. I didn't compare them. The Pentagon did.

What exactly does the worlds most powerful nation suppose to do...

By that we need to pull out of the UN and close our borders... I mean if we are not out there quelling terrorists or countries causing terror, who will??? The UN sure is not capable...
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Old 01-09-2005, 04:14 PM   #34
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someone already said it.. there are no rules in war..

and the only way to obtain peace is thru war...

yin/yang, its the truth... there will never be any other way, unless god/jesus/alah/divine being/aliens/angels want to come down and set up some new rules...
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Old 01-09-2005, 05:54 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penchief
I fundamentally agree with what you say about my statements. But the caveat is the track-record of this administration. Judging from the very distinct patterns they have forged by their penchant for operating in secrecy and making false claims against their advesaries (at every level), their words and their actions about Iraqi WMD, Iraqi links to Al-Qaeda, Abu Graibh, Quantico, Valerie Plame, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and the recent payola scandal (among MANY other things too numerous to mention), it is reasonable for someone to assume that this administration would take the same single-minded and aggressive yet, less than honest approach to leading America in this particular covert situation, too (IMO).

It would be reasonable for someone to be concerned about that, wouldn't it?
That responds to my sarcastic coda. What about the meat? Give me anything. . . ANYTHING. . . to back up your baseless and embarassing hypothesis that

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randomn [sic] targets of these type operations are probably no different than the innocent victims
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Old 01-09-2005, 05:57 PM   #36
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but, but, but this violates international law and would NEVER have been a preferable alternative TO war.

Now they are doing BOTH.
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Old 01-09-2005, 06:00 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by memyselfI
but, but, but this violates international law and would NEVER have been a preferable alternative TO war.

Now they are doing BOTH.
Whatever Saddam's drawbacks, he was a sovereign leader. Rogue roving terrorists, kidnappers and bombers are not.
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Old 01-09-2005, 06:46 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memyselfI
but, but, but this violates international law and would NEVER have been a preferable alternative TO war.

Now they are doing BOTH.
This from the hypocrite that recommended such actions.


You have no validity on the topic.
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Old 01-09-2005, 06:47 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penchief
I fundamentally agree with what you infer about my statements. But the caveat is the track-record of this administration. Judging from the very distinct patterns they have forged by their penchant for operating in secrecy and making false claims against their advesaries (at every level), their words and their actions about Iraqi WMD, Iraqi links to Al-Qaeda, Abu Graibh, Quantico, Valerie Plame, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and the recent payola scandal (among MANY other things too numerous to mention), it is reasonable for someone to assume that this administration would take the same single-minded and aggressive, less than honest approach to leading America in this particular covert situation, too (IMO).

It would be reasonable for someone to be concerned about that, wouldn't it?
Sure be concerned, it doesn't change the fact that we are killing kidnapping killers.
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:11 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCWolfman
This from the hypocrite that recommended such actions.


You have no validity on the topic.
ah, you missed the sarcasm...
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:38 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by memyselfI
ah, you missed the sarcasm...
I guess that is one way to hide your faux pas, Mr. Franken.

Next you can tell us it was satire as well.
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:52 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by KCWolfman
I guess that is one way to hide your faux pas, Mr. Franken.

Next you can tell us it was satire as well.

Oh, please. I've been arguing the merits of hit squads as an alternative to war for almost two years. It has been you who has maintained how wrong I am for advocating breaking the law...



Now they are doing it IN ADDITION/SUPPLEMENT to a failed war is reprehensible.
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:56 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by memyselfI
Oh, please. I've been arguing the merits of hit squads as an alternative to war for almost two years. It has been you who has maintained how wrong I am for advocating breaking the law...



Now they are doing it IN ADDITION/SUPPLEMENT to a failed war is reprehensible.
So if they break the law and kill international leaders, you are cool with it, but if they break the law and simply kill terrorists, then you find it "reprehensible"?

BRILLIANT!!!!
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:02 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCWolfman
So if they break the law and kill international leaders, you are cool with it, but if they break the law and simply kill terrorists, then you find it "reprehensible"?

BRILLIANT!!!!

If they break the law in order to save lives and avoid war, I'm cool with it.

If they break the law because they need to save face because they miscalculated and are losing a debacle and are in danger of being involved in a quagmire, I'm not.
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:58 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by memyselfI
If they break the law in order to save lives and avoid war, I'm cool with it.

If they break the law because they need to save face because they miscalculated and are losing a debacle and are in danger of being involved in a quagmire, I'm not.
So saving people from being beheaded is merely "saving face"?

Damn, your priorities are screwed up.
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