Sunday, January 09, 2005
Reagan's dirty wars. The smiling grandfatherly old man, the optimism, "morning in America." In the US, among conservatives, that's how Reagan is remembered. But there are other, darker memories of this man in Central America. In Guatemala, in Nicaragua, in El Salvador, in Honduras, the American government, through the CIA fought a series of "dirty wars." The US trained Central America's right-wing insurgents in torture at the notorious School of the Americas. Fast-forward two decades, and it appears that this is the new solution for Iraq. They are even calling it the "Salvador Option." I suppose we can all sit around and debate the merits of sending out death squads to solve America's problems. Maybe you are some sort of deluded utilitarian who thinks that the deaths of a few priests or nuns along with other assorted innocents is "worth it" to accomplish your strategic goals. But I'm going to reflect on something larger than the relative merits of unleashing death squads on a population. Look at how badly this has all gone! We've gone from the whole liberators-greeted-with-bouquets rhetoric of Paul Wolfowitz et al to this. How many more times are the marines going to have to "pacify" Fallujah or Samarra or whatever town goes bad next? I always had misgivings about this undertaking, but still, we are looking at death squads as a serious option to be pursued by the US government. That is how bad things are.