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Paging Ambassador Death Squad

Everyone seems all upset about the new death squad plan. Well, I'm upset, too. I sort of wish people had paid more attention when John Negroponte was appointed in the first place. Put a man with lots of death squad experience in charge of your counterinsurgency, and you tend to wind up with death squads.

January 9, 2005 | Permalink

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» Ambassador Death Squad from Bloodless Coup
What Matt says: "Put a man with lots of death squad experience in charge of your counterinsurgency, and you tend to wind up with death squads."... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 10, 2005 10:20:57 AM

» Libs fear Death Squads from
Heaven forbid we'd actually want to kill insurgents! I knew when these reports came out we'd see hysterics from the left.... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 10, 2005 6:35:06 PM

» Mr. Death Squad from diablog
Couldn't agree more. [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 11, 2005 11:44:24 AM

» "Death Squads" from Kalblog
An example of what I said a couple of days ago about there being people who hold objectionable views on things like civil liberties and torture just came up with the discussion out there now about "death squads" in Iraq.... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 11, 2005 10:10:49 PM

Comments

"I sort of wish people had paid more attention when John Negroponte was appointed in the first place. Put a man with lots of death squad experience in charge of your counterinsurgency, and you tend to wind up with death squads."

But at least when we ship weapons to the Iranians this time, shipping costs will be lower due to our proximity.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 9, 2005 11:35:48 PM

Negroponte, Rumsfeld, Gonzales.....Bush certainly has a taste for violent, gun-loving goons and torture-supporters.

Posted by: Deborah White | Jan 9, 2005 11:50:15 PM

Well, the fish "rots from the head down", as they say.

Posted by: Jim G | Jan 9, 2005 11:53:03 PM

We on the left were paying attention. Its just that no few in the SCLM or Washington were paying attention to us.

PS "But at least when we ship weapons to the Iranians this time, shipping costs will be lower due to our proximity."

Funny.

Posted by: Green Dem | Jan 9, 2005 11:56:49 PM

PS I don't know if this is better or worse, but Reagan and other previous presidents were at least reasonably competent at keeping this stuff under wraps for awhile. Does Bush not think people will notice, or does he just think he can get away with anything?

Posted by: Green Dem | Jan 10, 2005 12:03:25 AM

OHHHHH, WOE IS ME!!!! Everything is so horrible in the world. What is wrong with terrorist killing terrorists??? At least it takes out troops out of their sights? I say "Fire'em up for Haji!"

Just out of curiosity, if everything that is being done in Iraq is so bad (I know you don't read the good news), how exactly would you guys change things? Pulling out the troops isn't an answer, that's too easy for you and will not happen. Come on, give me something...

Posted by: Bush4Ever | Jan 10, 2005 12:10:00 AM

If this plan goes forward, then so much for the so-called "war on terror." Once you cross the line to target not only fighters but non-combattant civilian "sympathizers", you are engaged in terrorism yourself.

Groups like Hamas justify their atrocious attacks on Israeli civilians on the grounds that these civilians support and sympathize with the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank. When US-trained and assisted peshmergas are murdering Sunni clerics and community leaders on the grounds that they are resistance sympathizers, what will be our rationale for condemning the former while supporting the latter?

Posted by: Dan Kervick | Jan 10, 2005 12:12:34 AM

By the way, do you know where I can find a good man at this hour? I like em hot, hairy, and hung.

Posted by: Bush4ever | Jan 10, 2005 12:13:01 AM

Well, Bush4Evar, since as the Poor Man says, you can't unshit the bed. So, what to do? The first thing to do, as they say, is to stop shitting.

Posted by: neil | Jan 10, 2005 12:16:12 AM

Actually, the Death Squad plan is even more appalling than Mark Kleiman makes out. The Newsweek article also makes it clear that the purpose is not just to try to terrorize Iraq's civilian Sunni population into ceasing aid to the insurgents -- it's to terrorize them into ACTIVELY siding with us against the Sunni insurgents, or we'll slaughter them wholesale. "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." Well, a few large-scale indiscriminate regional massacres will sure encourage them to do THAT. This is going a lot farther than the Nazis did at Lidice -- they only massacred that village for supposedly providing active aid to the assassins of Reinhard Heydrich.

As Newsweek says, Rumsfeld is now so desperate that he's seriously considering these tactics as America's last possible chance to win the Iraq War. (If "win" is the right word under these circumstances.) Quite amazing. Really, the next logical step for us is to establish peace in Iraq by simply exterminating its entire Sunni population -- which Charles Krauthammer seems, in fact, to be moving toward recommending, unless he's just saying that we should pull out and let the Shiites and Kurds try to do it by themselves. The latter course of action is, in fact, probably our best option -- we're going to need our forces elsewhere to deal with real threats like Iran and North Korea. But if we are cretinous enough to help slaughter Iraq's Sunnis ourselves on a large-scale basis, it's not very difficult to visualize how the world's Moslem population will eye us henceforth (the morality of such a slaughter aside).

As for "Bush4Ever" (that possibility is one I have some mild fear of, incidentally) and his statement that simply pulling out the troops "will not happen": one can now see Andrew Sullivan ( http://www.andrewsullivan.com/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2005_01_09_dish_archive.html#110533168328109280 ) quoting "the pro-war Stratfor military experts" as saying that the war is now irreparably lost, and that the only possible course of action for the US to pull back to "the periphery of Iraq" and let the genocidal civil war proceed. By "periphery", I presume he means that we should continue to stay in Kurdish Iraq, where they actually want us (provided the Kurds limit themselves to self-defense against the Sunnis), and maybe whatever portion of Shiite Iraq they're willing to tolerate us in. But -- to repeat -- if we are seen providing active assistance to the Kurds and Shiites in actions against the Sunnis that are not clearly purely defensive, even staying on the "peripheries" of Iraq will be a disaster for us where the worldwide campaign against Islamic Fascism is concerned.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw | Jan 10, 2005 12:33:09 AM

Bush4ever:

The answer is to pull out our troops now. Let the UN and the French move in. Who cares? It doesn't make a predictable difference.

Remember when they told you if we pulled out of Vietnam, the Commies would take over the world, and we pulled out, and the Commies fell? It's like that. Pull the troops out of Iraq now, and democracy will be just around the corner, like it is now.

Oh, and our pullout most certainly WILL happen. How many dead Americans later, Bush4life?

As for "hot, hairy, and hung": we will leave you to jerk off as usual.

Posted by: epistemology | Jan 10, 2005 12:46:02 AM

When I was potty training my puppy, I would rub her nose in it, swat her with a newspaper, and put her outside.

Now i have a dog that shits in the house, smears her nose in her recently deposited mess and then runs out the door.

(Not really, but.... somewhere up in heaven St Ronnie is ringing a little pavlovian bell for his death squad puppies and they're all slobbering with anticipation.)

Posted by: def | Jan 10, 2005 12:54:59 AM

Hey! New template! Cool!

Posted by: def | Jan 10, 2005 1:02:28 AM

what will be our rationale for condemning the former while supporting the latter?

Probably the usual way: "We live in a world that has walls..." and "Stick to sipping your girly-man latte, and let Real Men TCB".

Posted by: Omada | Jan 10, 2005 1:14:33 AM

The latter course of action is, in fact, probably our best option -- we're going to need our forces elsewhere to deal with real threats like Iran and North Korea.

We also need to have them available to fuck up a few other countries. Being bogged down in Iraq is preventing us from pursuing our vital national interest in getting bogged down in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Columbia, Indonesia and Nigeria. Why should Iraq be the only country to benefit ftrom being turned into a made-in-America hellhole? It's an outrage.

We are going to need lots more available troops in the 21st century for the successful pursuit of our 19th century colonialist strategy.

Posted by: Dan Kervick | Jan 10, 2005 1:35:02 AM

Death squad "plan"? What do you think has been going on there for the last year and a half?

Posted by: abb1 | Jan 10, 2005 1:43:38 AM

"We also need to have them available to fuck up a few other countries."

No shit. Will someone - anyone - propose a sane alternative to the so-called war on terror, like oh say getting the 20% of our oil that currently comes from the gulf from somewhere else (or even better from something that isn't oil), withdrawing from Iraq, phasing out our enabling relationships with repressive Arab regimes (which is the chief reason they hate us), shoring up our borders and immigration, and promising retaliatory bombing for future terrorist attack against America on any and every country terrorists responsible for the attacks come from. The worst that could happen is that ten or fifteen years from now we end up in a war with one or more Islamist states in the Arab world, which would be a war we could a) almost certainly win (as opposed to war against a worldwide shadowy non-state network), and b) given our independence of Arab oil no reasonable person would question the legitimacy of such a war.

Posted by: Green Dem | Jan 10, 2005 1:49:48 AM

Ummm, we already have an assasination policy against insurgent leaders: we use F-16s to bomb houses. If we shifted to using more Special Forces assassins, that would probably actually be *more* humane and less damaging to ordinary civilians. The real concerns about "death squads" would be #1. setting up an Iraqi apparatus that will be permanent and a danger to civil society afterwards. But of course the Iraqis need no lesson from us in setting up death squads. The other side is basically a coalition of really proficient death squads, with all the classic techniques of intimidation by massacre. So we're left with #2: The chance that "our" death squad activity will drift into "exemplary" massacres of civilians, pour encourager les autres. That's no doubt a risk, but of course our current approach isn't easy on civilians either. The idea isn't as obviously heinous as you guys think. If we confined most of the killing to our own Special Forces troops, accountable to our chain of command, I think we could set up some safeguards and have it be a net positive.

Posted by: rd | Jan 10, 2005 4:49:13 AM

I don't get it. Don't we want Iraqis to fight for their own country? Isn't special forces part of any decent military? Wouldn't we want them to go after the Sunni insurgent leaders? Aren't they better at identifying the insurgents than we are?

I'm failing to see the problem.

Posted by: Adam Herman | Jan 10, 2005 5:05:05 AM

Yeah, withdrawing from Vietnam was a great solution. The commies took over Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Pol Pot slaughters over 1 million Cambodians, and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese flee by boat even though many die at sea. The lack of American will encourages Soviet adventurism in Angola and Ethiopia, the crackdown in Poland, the invasion of Afghanistan and expansion of Soviet nuclear forces. And the commies are still entrenched in Vietnam today.

Yeah, great solution. No wonder lefties have no credibility when it comes to American foreign policy.

Posted by: Brad | Jan 10, 2005 5:18:13 AM

Green Dem -- "and promising retaliatory bombing for future terrorist attack against America on any and every country terrorists responsible for the attacks come from."

Do you really think America should have bombed Saudi Arabia in retaliation for 9-11? Should America bomb Jordan in retaliation for the attacks of al-Zarqawi?

Or maybe you mean only retaliate for attacks against American territory? So American planes, ships and people are fair game beyond our borders?

Petulance is no subsitute for policy.

Posted by: Brad | Jan 10, 2005 5:32:17 AM

Maybe Negroponte will find himself in a position in which he can be eliminated.

That would be an interesting turn of events. No?

Posted by: raj | Jan 10, 2005 6:10:40 AM

And the commies are still entrenched in Vietnam today.

And they're endangering our way of life! Because they hate our freedom!

Thanks for the laughs, Brad.

Posted by: abb1 | Jan 10, 2005 7:16:58 AM

Pol Pot slaughters over 1 million Cambodians, and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese flee by boat even though many die at sea.

Humour me, but do you actually know how much people in and around Vietnam the US murdered, and made to flee their homes?

Americans are so predictable. Whatever happens, the battles are won and the Murkins are victorious. And whatever goes wrong is to be blamed on someone else.

So declare victory, and leave Iraq to the Iraqi's. With a farewell present of a trained death squad.

Posted by: Duh | Jan 10, 2005 7:23:14 AM

Adam, I agree that if these squads were just attacking insurgents, there would be no difference between what they do and what our military is already doing.

But I assumed that the use of the term "death squads", the explicit references to Central America and the report that these death squads will be tasked with hunting down "rebel leaders and sympathizers tells us that the squads would be designed to undermine popular support for the insurgency by attacking certain classes of civilians.

Posted by: Dan Kervick | Jan 10, 2005 7:36:24 AM

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