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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 01-11-2005, 08:04 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Amnorix
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I'll disagree with that, despite my prior post that said something kinda along the same lines.

There's a difference between the reality that the battlefield is not a nice place, and that harsh tactics must be used, and what Bormann, Eichmann and the rest of the Nazi leadership is accountable for.

A BIG difference.

I would say the following:

1. Tactics used against enemy armed combatants in order to remove them as enemy combatants are ALL fair. Whether it's ambushing them, using pungi sticks, dropping napalm on their heads, etc. etc. There's nothing "unfair" or morally reprehensible about methods of disarming/killing/removing threats on the battlefield.

2. The only limits to the above would apply to collateral damage that may be inflicted on civilians, and that's SITUATIONAL. Carpet bombing in an all-out war between two civilizations engaged in a life or death struggle for their nation's survival, may be warranted and not considered morally rephrensible. (see, Dresden and/or Hiroshima / Nagasaki).

3. Atrocities, in my mind, can generally only be committed against the civilian population and (usually, anyway) unarmed enemy combatants who have been effectively nullified as a threat. If you capture enemy soldiers, disarm them, and without cause or trial line them up against the wall and machine gun them down, that's an atrocity. As would the Bataan death march (which is another method of accomplishing the same thing).

One man's opinion, anyway....
I agree with your position for the most part, but I'd bet that if Nazi Germany had won World War II, those two wouldn't have been hanged.

And if Bin Laden & Zarqawi''s jihad prevails, beheadings will be considered to have been an acceptable means to the end.

Atrocities are in the eyes of the victor. That's not to say that the victor won't view some extreme acts by their own forces to be atrocities, but if your side wins your chances are a lot better of getting away with pushing the envelope.
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:18 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by penchief
Those questions have all been raised publicly. They just haven't been pursued publicly. Just because anything has yet to be proven publicly does not mean that each questionable situation does not deserve to be scrutinized publicly. The double-standard applied by the right can be mind-boggling at times, IMO.
He said while stating there was no reason to investigate the Clintons.

Thank goodness the left isn't just as mind-boggling, eh?


His request is reasonable, and you are merely pulling fluff to dodge the fact that you have no facts.
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Old 01-11-2005, 10:03 PM   #93
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Every death, no matter which gun fires the round or which side throws a bomb, every death is the fault of the terrorists. Those who attacked our country and those who have worked with Saddam killing the Iraqi people bear the ultimate responsibility for each death this action brings.

You can defend the terrorists all you want and try to call the US soldiers invaders or whatever, but it doesn't change the facts of who is responsible for all the deaths and suffering.

If you don't understand this, then you probably think that the world trade center deaths were caused by falling debris and crumbling buildings.

This is basic right and wrong. What was wrong with your parents??
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:36 AM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu
I agree with your position for the most part, but I'd bet that if Nazi Germany had won World War II, those two wouldn't have been hanged.

And if Bin Laden & Zarqawi''s jihad prevails, beheadings will be considered to have been an acceptable means to the end.

Atrocities are in the eyes of the victor. That's not to say that the victor won't view some extreme acts by their own forces to be atrocities, but if your side wins your chances are a lot better of getting away with pushing the envelope.
I agree with your point, but IMHO even if the atrocity-committing side wins, they still committed atrocities.

In other words, it's not ALL contingent on who wins, but I agree that whether anyone is PUNISHED afterwards IS contingent on who wins.
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:44 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by KCWolfman
If they only kill those trying to kill them or us, I have no problem with the straddling at all. Hell, they can cross over and wave from the other side as far as I am concerned.
I'm just saying that if you wipe out a village because you think ONE person in that village MIGHT be an insurgent, then you're probably crossing the line, and I wouldn't approve (not that my approval is required).

But there aren't any bright line tests or hard and fast rules. I certainly recognize that. It's easy to draw up guidelines from an office. Applying them to every situation encountered by our troops (and other supporters) in the field, where the rubber meets the road, is where things get messy quick.
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Old 01-12-2005, 07:57 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by Amnorix
I'm just saying that if you wipe out a village because you think ONE person in that village MIGHT be an insurgent, then you're probably crossing the line, and I wouldn't approve (not that my approval is required).
I think any reasonable person would agree with that.

But what reasonable person thinks this is in practice?
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:52 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by KCWolfman
He said while stating there was no reason to investigate the Clintons.

Thank goodness the left isn't just as mind-boggling, eh?


His request is reasonable, and you are merely pulling fluff to dodge the fact that you have no facts.
You just don't get it.

You justify the investigations of Clinton which bore absolutely nothing except the entrapment of a sitting president by an independent investigative branch that pursued the president's personal past based on accusations, not facts. And you justify what amounted to a "real time" monitoring of the the president's daily activities by the same independent investigation.

Yet, you slam those who want to look into those things which are very questionable concerning matters most important to the conduct of our government.

I'm not slamming the attacks on Clinton (although they were petty) as much as I'm asking how you can slam those who want to know whether our leaders are on the level or if they are really capable of conducting themselves in the arrogant and wreckless manner that it appears they may have.

You know as well as I do that nothing has really been determined concerning the integrity of this administration's words and deeds. Everything is being looked at (supposedly) but just not being looked at in the open (and often overbearing) way that Clinton's personal life and daily presidential activities were scrutinized.

There is no doubt a difference in the level of diligence in the pursuit of the facts when considering the two situations. And it is mind-boggling when one considers the difference in the context of the real and historical importance of each situation. One (the witch-hunt of Clinton) was petty, partisan, and pushed by the right to the point where it consumed our nation for reasons ultimately unimportant to the conduct of American policy. On the other hand, questionable conduct and judgment in the name of America has been overlooked by the corporately-owned media for what reason? Is it because they have a right-wing bias as business usually does? Or is it because democrats don't control congress rendering them unable to appoint an independent council? Or is it both?

For whatever reason, it is disingenuous, IMO, for thoughtful and intelligent people like yourself to pretend that these distinctions are not valid and that a double-standard does not exist.

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Old 01-12-2005, 10:56 AM   #98
Cochise Cochise is offline
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Originally Posted by penchief
it is disingenuous, IMO, for thoughtful and intelligent people like yourself to pretend that ...
Hey, it's the usual. Either you aren't honest, or aren't intelligent, since you disagree with me.
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Old 01-12-2005, 11:12 AM   #99
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Hey, it's the usual. Either you aren't honest, or aren't intelligent, since you disagree with me.
No, I just think it is blind partisan loyalty.
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Old 01-12-2005, 11:16 AM   #100
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No, I just think it is blind partisan loyalty.
Said the pot to the kettle.
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Old 01-12-2005, 11:20 AM   #101
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Said the pot to the kettle.
You accuse me of one thing. I defend myself. Then you use my defense to accuse me of something else. All the while, the content of my argument is ignored.
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Old 01-12-2005, 11:22 AM   #102
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You accuse me of one thing. I defend myself. Then you use my defense to accuse me of something else. All the while, the content of my argument is ignored.
No, no, you make valid arguments from time to time....I just wonder if you think you're above being partisan.
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Old 01-12-2005, 11:43 AM   #103
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No, no, you make valid arguments from time to time....I just wonder if you think you're above being partisan.
I don't think I'm above being partisan. I am partisan in my ideals. However, I am not a blind partisan that is unwilling to criticize or acknowledge the failures or misconduct of my leaders simply because they hold my ideology.

I also believe that reasonable people know what is reasonable. Yet, IMO, many unreasonable things have occurred and have gone unaccounted for since this administration has taken office. Yet, far too many who are obviously reasonable people seem unwilling to acknowledge even the slightest misstep by this administration. One only has to look at the current state of affairs to know that mistakes were made.

I have recited on this board those issues I have with the Clinton presidency. I have also bashed the democratic party from the first time I logged onto this board.

So, while I may have partisan ideological beliefs I also try to apply objectivity for my own sake. That (and considering what Bush has given us to work with) is one reason that the double-standard that is applied by so many conservatives, and their use of deflection and personal attacks, is so unbelievable to me.
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Old 01-12-2005, 11:47 AM   #104
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No, no, you make valid arguments from time to time....I just wonder if you think you're above being partisan.
By the way, thank you for saying that I do make valid arguments from time to time. You are the first.

I just don't think it is appropriate to have arguments labeled strictly partisan when I believe there is a strong case to support those arguments. That is where I think the White House does a nice job as well. Label criticism as partisan and your supporters will "ditto that," without taking an objective look at what is right in front of our faces.
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Old 01-12-2005, 12:55 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by penchief
By the way, thank you for saying that I do make valid arguments from time to time. You are the first.

I just don't think it is appropriate to have arguments labeled strictly partisan when I believe there is a strong case to support those arguments. That is where I think the White House does a nice job as well. Label criticism as partisan and your supporters will "ditto that," without taking an objective look at what is right in front of our faces.
It is quite a game that both sides play. Partisanship is at it's worst when the truth is ignored. The problem is there is so much grey in the middle that can be taken either way.

Examples, Clinton lied under oath because of a percieved partisan witch hunt. One side believes the witch hunt is to blame and the other doesn't think a President should be allowed to lie no matter what the subject. In their own minds, both sides have somewhat legitimate arguments.

Some believe Bush's administration have mishandled everything in Iraq. One side points their finger and says "This administration has bungled Iraq from the beginning" while the other side says "War is hell, not everything goes as planned, and we're glad FDR didn't puss out like today's liberals want to do". Again, both sides have somewhat legitimage arguments.

An example of going too far is when someone posts on the board that Bush deliberately lied to get us into the war. That simply isn't true or at least unproven which is partisanship at it's worst IMO.

I think most of us like to believe we are objective but at times we all fall prey to our partisanship and some are worse then others.
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