The Horror of History:
It's been a while, but this morning, the Rude Pundit awoke on the floor in his underwear in a pool of vomit. He had a simple hope: that the vomit was his own. He gave simple thanks that he still had his boxer briefs on. Vague half-remembrances of the night before slapped him around like a corner dealer he had shorted on cash for blow. He knew there was something about a bottle of vodka, Polish vodka, the kind you could only get in Kracow just before Lech Walesa was elected, and the Rude Pundit was sure that someone else had been with him. He thought he remembered calling an escort service and demanding a hooker who looked like Helen Thomas, but that could be a vodka fantasy. He did not know. In fact, he had chills when he thought about if it was true. But that could be delirium tremens.
What the Rude Pundit did know was what had sent him into this alcoholic spiral was this article from Newsweek, in which it is revealed that the Pentagon (read: Rumsfeld) is giving serious consideration to "the Salvador option" in Iraq. That's Salvador with a "v" and that rhymes with "d" and that stands for "death squads." Yup, we're "giving consideration" (read: already doing) to setting up hit teams of Iraqi Kurds and Shi'a to capture or kill "insurgents." This'd include operations inside Syria by U.S. Special Ops, and, most chillingly, the murder of "sympathizers" of the insurgents. But, hey, at least Saddam won't be doing the killing and torture, right?
The Rude Pundit read this yesterday and some synapses fired off in his brain, sending him whirling into flashbacks of the Reagan era, when "sympathizers" in El Salvador included towns of peasants, as well as priests and nuns. The Rude Pundit remembered cornering a Democratic candidate for Congress and engaging in a heated discussion over death squads in El Salvador, getting the candidate (who would eventually win) to state clearly and unambiguously that he opposed Reagan's policies in Latin America. The Rude Pundit remembered protests, he remembered meeting Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of School of the Americas Watch, and talking about all the motherfucking vicious sons of bitches trained by Americans in the United States to kill their El Salvadoran countrymen because they dared to oppose the U.S.-supported right-wing government. Goodly men, not quite the "moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers," like the murderous thugs in the Contras, but certainly valiant men like 1984 SOA graduate Colonel Dionosio Machuca, who had over 300 torture cases attriubuted to him. The victims were insurgents, we were assured. Oh, how it all came flooding, flooding back, the cackling figure of John Negroponte hovering over it all. Jesus fucking Christ, he thought, do we have to go through this again? Of course the Rude Pundit broke out the good vodka and started shooting. Of course he called for specialty hookers. What else would you do?
You wanna know what's about to happen in Iraq and Syria, kids? Listen: here's the shit from the U.N.'s Truth Commission Report on El Salvador. Check out page 142:
"Shortly after midday on 23 July 1980, a group of approximately 100 civilians arrived at El Bartolillo hamlet in Tehuicho canton. Their faces were painted and they were dressed as peasants. They were very well-armed and dispersed throughout the canton. Witnesses identified Miguel Lemus, who was a civil defence member at the time.
"They identified themselves as guerrillas and called a meeting on the football field, supposedly to distribute weapons. As the operation proceeded, they started to force people to assemble.
"The villagers congregated on the sports field, where they were blindfolded. The strangers then identified themselves as a 'death squad' and accused the villagers of having links with the guerrillas.
"They proceeded to make a selection. Apparently they had a list. 'Orejas' identified people on the list and singled out 14 of them, 12 men and 2 women. The men were taken to a ravine, the two women were taken elsewhere. Shots were heard. Some houses were looted and burned.
"The bodies of the women and the men were found in the course of the night. There was physical evidence that they had been tortured." Government troops did not allow the bodies to be buried for three days.
Check out page 148 for a look at the policy of executing mayors of towns where the population supported the leftist rebels. Check out the whole document for the catalog of horrors that were perpetrated with the full knowledge of the U.S. government.
The problem with death squads, besides, you know, their whole raison d'etre, is that when they're comprised of local citizens, they bear their local grudges with them. Imagine if your neighbor who thinks your dog shits on his lawn everyday was all of a sudden given the power to determine whether or not you were an enemy sympathizer. How fast would your ass be Gitmo-ized? You get it, kids?
After washing the vomit off his face and putting on a robe, for God's sake, the Rude Pundit clicked on the TV, just in time to watch Fox "News" early morning show. There, former Green Beret Lt. Gen. Gordon Cucullu was interviewed about the Salvador option, which he believed was a misnomer. See, said Cucullu, who belongs to the neocon Center for Strategic Policy along with such ratfucks like Frank Gaffney, Douglas Feith, and Little Dickie Perle, the U.S. actually started this kind of insurgency elimination project back in 'Nam, with the Phoenix Program of South Vietnamese soldiers, backed by the U.S., kidnapping, imprisoning, and/or killing what Cucullu (whose name is uncomfortably like the HP Lovecraft monster "Cthulhu")called "insurgents." Of course, Phoenix was used by the President of South Vietnam to eliminate political enemies, as well as justification for the destruction of villages, farms, etc. You'll start hearing the term "neutralization" more often now. Cucullu said Phoenix was "a good model" for what should be done in Iraq, although the good Lt. General thinks it's already going on there. As Cucullu said, the good of the nation demands that these squads capture and "interrogate" or, "if necessary," kill insurgents. Frankly, the Rude Pundit would have rather been still lying in a pool of cold vomit, whether it was his own or not. History is nothing if not a constant spiral of horrors.
Ahh, that's the thing about the Bush Administration, and with the Republicans of the last fifty years: one doesn't learn and move on. If a bad idea fails, be it trickle-down economics or the torture and murder of civilians, try, try again. See, the concept is more important than the execution, so to speak. Theory is more important than practice. And, as always, everything old is new again.