Thursday, January 27, 2005

Salvador in Iraq

Interesting item on From Our Own Correspondent on Radio 4 - see the article here. Basically, what it is saying is that some Americans would like to see an El Salvador model of counter-insurgency operations in Iraq. What they mean by this is that they would like to see the Iraqi army strengthened to provide a shield for the developing democracy, which would eventually undermine the insurgency. They believe that the model of operations in El Salvador overcame the mistakes made in Vietnam.

What actually happened according to the journalist is that American special forces sought to "out-terrorize the terrorists" in El Salvador to give rise to a culture of fear - the civilian population were more afraid of the government and special forces than they were of the insurgents, and so did not support them. The journalist talked about the six Jesuit priests, their cook and her daughter who had their brains blown out by the counter-insurgency forces, and other people who were beheaded and left in public view. Even the democratic elections in El Salvador didn't lead to the end of the insurgency - it only ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent loss of funding via Cuba. And not one of the leaders of the insurgency in El Salvador was captured by the counter-insurgency forces - in a country the size of Wales!

Please do what you can to prevent this ever happening again.

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