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Old 01-11-2005, 05:21 PM   #31
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Originally posted by paxetaurora


I doubt this was contemplated the first time it was tried, either, but we've seen disastrous consequences for this kind of action before. I guess what I'd like to know is this:

1.) How will this help to convince people that the U.S. is bringing peace and stability to the region?

2.) How will we guarantee that (notoriously unreliable) regional militiae carry out their "duties" ( :shudder: ) as carefully and ethically as possible, to absolutely minimize risks of killing innocent people?

I don't have a lot of trust in this administration to begin with, and knowing that this kind of thing is being "contemplated" sure as hell doesn't make me feel any better.

1) By attacking and destroying the terrorist leadership, the number of terrorist attacks in Iraq can be reduced. Less bombings gives Coalition troops and other aid workers more flexibility in working to make life better for Iraqi's. When more humanitarian work and economic development can occur, this will insure stability.

2) There is no guarantee that mistakes, problems and abuse will not occur, just like the military can not guarantee that no civilians will be hurt in any operation it undertakes in cities. But consider the costs to civilians all over Iraq, if some of the best methods for capturing and killing terrorist are not used. Terrorist in Iraq today killed 18 people.
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:27 PM   #32
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And how many civilians did we kill?
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:31 PM   #33
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Originally posted by Scarletwine


I think the first two questions cut right to my feelings on this strategy. NO! IMO there are no reasons to even considering this stategy especially in light of what history has shown.

There should be firm moral boundaries for even war and especially "terrorist" situations. Assassinations, death squads, extreme bombings, and nuclear alternatives should not even be on the table.

This admin. is big on maintaining morality, but only of a sexual nature. Human rights aren't even on the radar.
There is nothing immoral about using trained Kurdish and Shia militia's who know the language and the culture, to go in and try to better target these terrorist leaders that are murdering innocent Iraqi civilians on a daily basis. It would be foolish not to us these tactics which over time could become very effective in decreasing the number of terrorist attacks in the country.
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:33 PM   #34
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And how many civilians did we kill?

According to Iraqbodycount.net between 15,000 and 17,000. The lancet study was a flawed cluster survey that gave results that defied belief and their 95% confidence was that between 8,000 and 190,000 were killed - that is one very big range.
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:39 PM   #35
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Originally posted by Scarletwine
I'm sorry but thats BS. The enemy should not define us.

You didn't apply my question to the Viet Cong or many other guerilla armies operating in the world today. By your standards the Sudanese are correct in their actions for the civilians possible harboring of insurgents. Or the French in Algiers, or for that matter our wiping out of Native American warriors. Or does that only apply to the ones we are fighting.

Don't get me wrong I don't want my soldiers killed, but stooping to death squads is wrong under any circumstances.
The Viet Cong were partly destroyed by the use of similar tactics among other things. By the early 1970s, the Viet Cong nearly ceased to exist as a fighting force, and the war was carried on almost entirely by the regular North Vietnamese military. The Sunni terrorist in Iraq have no similar force equalivant to the regular North Vietnameses military to continue the conflict once they have been defeated. These tactics can help decrease the number of terrorist attacks, allow for Iraq to get on its feet, and eventually, handle this situation itself.
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:41 PM   #36
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And how many civilians did we kill?
Far less than the 20,000 French Civilians that died during D-Day! Do you consider D-Day to be an immoral operation?
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Old 01-11-2005, 06:44 PM   #37
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By the way I meant today.

If I was a pacifist I suppose I could say yes. However I don't think you can compare the two. One an action to repel invaders of France, much like the insurgents no?, the other a war of choice. This is OT to the death squad issue.
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Old 01-11-2005, 07:00 PM   #38
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One an action to repel invaders of France, much like the insurgents no?
Insurgents like Allied Forces and USA like Nazi Germany - No.

USA, Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis working for a brighter future are the freedom fighters. Terrorists who wish to crush that hope under the iron fist of Radical Islam and Fascism seem more like the Nazi's.

The simmilarities between D-Day and OIF is that they each involved the liberation of nations.
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Old 01-12-2005, 05:21 AM   #39
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A tactical reason to not use death squads.

http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/20962/
This latest bit of news may be the best indicator to date as to just how far around the bend the current crop of Pentagonistas has gone in their straw-grasping attempts to check the insurgency-they-never-thought-could happen. The plan should be a cause for alarm, and not just because Pentagon hawks are apparently still rationalizing away the murder of scores of Salvadoran citizens. It¹s also disturbing because the U.S. military's own scholarship over the past 20 years holds that that the military and political counterinsurgency efforts in El Salvador are at best a case study in how to prolong an insurgency, not end it.

Success? What Success?

In a 1991 paper for the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Maj. Robert J. Coates characterized the conflict – then in its twelfth year – as an ongoing "insurgency to be defeated." In other words, not quite the "success" that the Bush administration now claims it was. Having been a U.S. military advisor to the El Salvadoran Armed Forces (ESAF), Coates was certainly in a position to know just how well things were going on the ground: Contrary to rosy reports about the ESAFŒs "improvements," Coates characterized its officer corps as one so "riddled with corruption" and inhumane to its own soldiers (where "officers view the enlisted men as a replaceable commodity") that it was "detrimental to the war effort" – so much so that it had actually "aided the insurgency¹s ability to prolong the war."

Coates' report was, however, really only a shorter, updated version of a 1989 report, titled "American Military Policy in Small Wars: The Case of El Salvador," by the conservative quartet of Andrew Bacevich, James Hallums, Richard White and Thomas Young, all of whom were U.S. Army lieutenant colonels at the time. Their considered opinion: a decade of billions of dollars in U.S. military and civil aid had done little but preserve a wretched status quo with no end in sight.

Unlike many who start from the errant presumption that fighting a counterinsurgency is primarily a military, rather than political, affair, the colonels held that U.S.-backed military efforts should not be the primary strategy of a counterinsurgency operation, but that the real focus should be on genuine social, political, economic and military reform – and should be conducted only with a "honest and responsive government" as a partner.

In El Salvador, the officers found, U.S. aid in the name of counterinsurgency had produced two results. The first was the creation of a better equipped and slightly better trained Salvadoran army that, in taking the fight to the FMLN, merely encouraged the rebels to disband into smaller units – units that the Salvadoran army refused to engage, opting instead for "search and avoid patrols," as one U.S. officer derisively put it. The second outcome was the strengthening of a corrupt and repressive oligarchy, financed by billions of dollars justified by wishing-will-make-it-so rhetoric about reforming El Salvador's government. Only too aware of the American obsession with not losing a country to communism, the government felt free to flout U.S. demands for progressive change and let its paramilitary terrorists run rampant. "The failure to revitalize the government," the officers wrote, "further accounts for the existing stalemate and poor prognosis for the future."

With nothing to lose, the Salvadoran military and its proxies pursued a campaign of "lavish brutality, fail[ing] to distinguish between dissenters and revolutionaries," killing tens of thousands of citizens (many of whom had nothing to do with the FMLN), all of which added up to a "U.S. policy built on a foundation of corpses." So concluded Benjamin Schwartz, the RAND Corporation analyst tasked with assessing El Salvador policy for the Department of Defense, in December 1998's Atlantic Monthly.

Schwartz noted that the "dirty little secret" to maintaining a perpetual stalemate was that "death squads worked." Looking back with revulsion, Schwartz summed up "counterinsurgency" in El Salvador as a policy that in theory "demanded nothing less than that America effect fundamental changes in the country's authoritarian culture, its political practices, and its economic, social and military structure. Such a project used to be called, presumptuously, 'nation-building¹." In reality, "for a decade American policymakers in Washington and American civilian and American military personnel in El Salvador consorted with murders and sadists." And it was mass murder that received bipartisan authorization, with Republicans "greatly exaggerating" the human rights achievements of what they knew was a perpetually "homicidal regime" and Democrats pursuing a policy of "meaningless threats," getting the occasional unenforceable condition attached to aid that they would never block lest they be perceived as too leftist.

The Moral of El Salvador

As Schwartz and others have noted, the end of the war in El Salvador had little to do with a triumph of military counterinsurgency or the effectiveness of U.S. "nation-building" efforts, but with the end of the Cold War. With the collapse of the mighty Soviet Union, the Salvadoran government knew that Tio Sam would no longer be so generous with aid or as accommodating of murder. And so the government sat down and negotiated a peace with the FMLN. The end result illustrated on of many lessons about the U.S. efforts endeavor in El Salvador: "American involvement in counterinsurgency," observed the Army War College's Steve Metz, "is often like lending money to a chronic gambler – it postpones real resolution of the problem rather than speeding it."

So what then are the real parallels between El Salvador and Iraq? First, in terms of its ability to fight, the Iraqi military is just as bad, if not worse, than the Salvadoran military. Second, given the Sunni boycott of the upcoming elections, Iraq's not going to have a truly legitimate, representative government anytime soon. Third, despite the Bush administration's rhetoric about its plans to provide a better future for the Iraqis, any U.S.-backed government in Iraq will, in light of current circumstances, likely be allowed to be as ineffectual, brutal or corrupt as it wants. As was the case in Salvador, the imperative of staving off the guerillas – now that fighting terrorism rather than communism is our prime national security objective – will trump all other considerations.

There may be some optimists in the White House – as well as Democratic enablers in Congress – who think the U.S. can still use the Salvador model without repeating its errors. But for that plan to work, the U.S. government and its army will need a modern counterinsurgency doctrine and training regimen – which it didn't have it in El Salvador, and which it doesn't have now. Pray that fortune favors the foolish.
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Old 01-12-2005, 08:00 AM   #40
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Alternet.org is a military think tank?
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:30 AM   #41
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The article cites military experts, all of whom seem to have come down against death squads.
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Old 01-12-2005, 05:58 PM   #42
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#1 Iraq is not El Salvador
#2 This is not the 1980s
#3 The Iraqi military is not the equilavent of the El Salvador military in the 1980s. My friends in Iraq have told me how impressed they are with the Iraqi troops that have been serving with them.
#4 The Sunni's are only 20% of the country and there will be Sunni's voting in this election despite the problems. 15 million Iraqi citizens are now registered to vote. Voter turnout all over Iraq will exceed voter turnout in the United States on January 30 for an equilavent type of election.


There is nothing wrong with using individuals who know the language and the culture of the population, to use their skills to get inside these area's where terrorist leaders are and take them out one way or the other. This is probably how Bin Ladin will be killed or captured as well.
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:09 PM   #43
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By the way I meant today.

If I was a pacifist I suppose I could say yes. However I don't think you can compare the two. One an action to repel invaders of France, much like the insurgents no?, the other a war of choice. This is OT to the death squad issue.
You were the one that asked "how many did we kill?." I simply used an example to explain that civilian loss of life was unfortunately unavoidable regardless of when and where the operation takes place, but also to point out that civilian loss of life has been far, far less than in others wars.

I was also comparing the loss of life to civilians not the justifications for overall military action in each case. That does bring up an interesting question though. I believe you were opposed to the Fallujah operation that killed nearly 2,000 terrorist and ended that towns recent history as the capital of terrorism and torture in Iraq, correct me if I'm wrong.

Is there any military action the military has launched against the Sunni terrorist that you support, or are you opposed to any and all military action in Iraq because you were opposed to the initial invasion of Iraq 2 years ago? How would you deal with the Sunni terrorist that are attacking the Iraqi people and trying to prevent them from forming a democratic government?
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Old 01-13-2005, 01:55 PM   #44
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Alternet.org is a military think tank?
No but Schwartz is.
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