What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called "the Salvador option"—and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. "What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are," one senior military officer told NEWSWEEK. "We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgency—as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time—than in spreading it out.
What, you may be asking, is the Salvador option? Well, let me tell you. First, in regards to the use of the name it is a rare acknowledgment of truths formerly covered up by the U.S. government regarding its role in El Salvador. Second, it is the method itself which was first exposed by Allan Nairn in a 1984 article(pdf) in The Progressive Magazine in which he detailed the CIA's role in the El Salvadore death squads. Democracy Now! covered the Salvador option in todays show:
Within the Pentagon, the tactic is named "The Salvador option" after the strategy that was secretly employed by Ronald Reagan's administration to combat the guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. The U.S.-backed death squads hunted down and assassinated rebel leaders and their supporters.
The current US ambassador in Iraq is John Negroponte. As ambassador to Honduras, Negroponte played a key role in coordinating US covert aid to the Contras who targeted civilians in Nicaragua and shoring up a CIA-backed death squad in Honduras.
It is important to note the word "supporters" in the above. The death squads did not target just the militants, it targeted activists of all kinds. We have created a mess in Iraq and few will deny that. The truth is that the mess we have created is a downward spiral that has resulted in the deaths of many thousands of civillians, possibly more than 100,000. This to supposedly bring them "freedom" and "democracy" though many would argue the truth is that we are murdering them for the oil their country sits on.
I wonder, what would Jesus say about the Salvador option and Iraq?