Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

US death squads in Iraq?

  1. Jan 10, 2005 #1
    "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.

    ... one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads ... to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria... It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries, officials tell NEWSWEEK.

    Also being debated is which agency within the U.S. government—the Defense department or CIA—would take responsibility for such an operation".

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6802629/site/newsweek/
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2005 #2

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    So, teams of soldiers are going to go after insurgents. Could you explain to me the problem here...?
     
  4. Jan 11, 2005 #3

    PerennialII

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If it means fighting the insurgents with guerilla forces ("own insurgents") who don't really care that much whether any sort of rules of conduct are followed, and these actions are then considered acceptable and legal in Iraq, then it goes way beyond what is being done now. Might even argue that it would "legalize" the abhorrent means the insurgents are applying.
     
  5. Jan 11, 2005 #4

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Where are you seeing that?
     
  6. Jan 11, 2005 #5

    PerennialII

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm assuming that since they're loaning a term which has been used for example in reference to the actions in Central America in the 80s there might be something in common with the methods they'd be using. The implementation in this case could of course be anything, the dots from some sort of a local police force to death squads in historical sense have in all likelihood been connected by the reporting party.
     
  7. Jan 11, 2005 #6
    What exactly is the definition of a Death Squad, just a geurilla group? It's not like the rest of the military is over there with their guns and tanks NOT killing people...
     
  8. Jan 11, 2005 #7

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I think it has its roots with the Nazi SS, but doesn't really have a definition. Its not a military term. That's the first part of my objection here....
    ...and that's the second.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2005
  9. Jan 11, 2005 #8

    PerennialII

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I wouldn't call myself an expert in giving a definition, but previously they've been adept in conducting assassinations and operations were civilian casualties haven't been a problem. I'd say it's a concept like promoting a civil war by aiding one party against the other with a gloves - off policy. It seems to be an effective way to destroy an internal enemy by promoting its local adversaries against it, and internal conflicts have a way of turning messy.

    I'd say all this is pretty much assumption, it's not like the US officials are going to state "we'll put up death squads".
     
  10. Jan 11, 2005 #9
    :rofl: I agree. I was using the term that the BBC World Service news report used. For the record, here is how the Oxford English Dictionary defines
    death squad: "an armed paramilitary group formed to murder political enemies, suspected subversives, etc". So a quick look at the definition of paramilitary: "Of or pertaining to an organization, unit, force, etc., whose function or status is ancillary or analogous to that of military forces, but which is not a professional military force".

    So it sounds like 'covert operations', a term too shadowy to be found in the OED. But it explains why it might be a bit of a hot potato, as implied in the statement: "Also being debated is which agency within the U.S. government—the Defense department or CIA—would take responsibility for such an operation". http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6802629/site/newsweek/

    I have just turned up this description from former CIA director Stansfield Turner: "Covert action is the term that describes our efforts to influence the course of events in a foreign country without our role being known." Turner also notes that covert action "has always been assigned to the CIA to perform, by means of unattributable propaganda, sub rosa political action, or secret paramilitary support." http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/PA118.HTM
     
  11. Jan 11, 2005 #10

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    You could separate them by their targets.

    Death squads target dissidents.

    Insurgents target occupying troops and collaborators.

    Terrorists target random civilians.
     
  12. Jan 12, 2005 #11
    If only life were so clear-cut. I reckon the poor old random civilian gets it from all sides, whether claimed accidental or colateral damage or whatever. In any case, it would fly in the face of fact to say that terrorists only target civilians. In the case of Iraq, from the news reports it sounds like the main target is the police.
     
  13. Jan 12, 2005 #12

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The news reports rarely call them terrorists (at least in the US). The usual term is "insurgents." This reflects the nebulousity, but in my opinion, is too soft of a characterization: A significant fraction of those hit (because of the ease of hitting them) are civilians standing in line to apply for police jobs.
     
  14. Jan 12, 2005 #13

    kat

    User Avatar

    erm...I believe that police are technically "civilian" and not considered legitimate military targets... unless they are..military police..which the iraqi police force are not, as opposed to the Iraqi military force..which would be a legitimate military target..
     
  15. Jan 12, 2005 #14
    Who makes this distinction? I doubt the insurgents/terrorists do, and ABC News Online certainly don't:
    "US troops who opened fire after being targeted by a roadside bomb have killed two Iraqi policemen and two civilians south of Baghdad on Saturday, an Interior Ministry spokesman said on Sunday".
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200501/s1279127.htm
     
  16. Jan 12, 2005 #15

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    It now looks from a press conference Rumsfeld had, that the Newsweek story may have been "creative", or at least derived from some deep internal memo that was never considered for implementation.
     
  17. Jan 12, 2005 #16
    US death squads - how can this be? We only bring democracy and freedom to the oppressed masses.yeah right.wake up guys.
     
  18. Jan 12, 2005 #17
    Why is it that whenever the US is brought up you start up with your diatribe? If you want to be taken seriously then you need to keep your objectivity and clearly all you are capable of is objecting to anything the US does in its own best interest. It is incorrect to say that the US is all bad but at every opportunity you try to make it sound like it is.

    Sorry for going on but I get pretty sick of reading the same anti-American crap come from the same people time after time. And I know this is the politics forums and if I do not like it I should avoide it blah blah... :mad:

    I just do not understand how all these intelligent people on these forums are so completely subjective about everything....

    Regards
     
  19. Jan 12, 2005 #18

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    So if wonderful America does death squads in it's own interests it is not to be criticised?

    The US used to call itself a city on the hill, a beacon to mankind. What possible gain to our interests can balance the stain of evil we put on ourselves with tactics like death squads.
     
  20. Jan 13, 2005 #19
    :rolleyes:

    I, for one, am pro-American, and am against the policies of the Bush administration. It is a cheap rhetorical trick to try to make out that
    anti-Bush = anti-US, or that whole of the US supports the policies of the present government.

    I am for what the US is supposed to represent in the world: freedom, truth, justice etc. These are things that the Bush administration seem to care little for. Stop resorting to whining about 'why everyone hates us'; this belongs in the kindergarden. If you have an intelligent point to make, make it.
     
  21. Jan 13, 2005 #20
    I never said any such thing at all nor have I ever implied it. Never not once and if you would be so kind as to stop with assuming you already understand my point of view this would be obvious to you too.

    I am all for reasonable criticism of our actions but I am totally getting sick of hearing things such as

    "US death squads - how can this be? We only bring democracy and freedom to the oppressed masses.yeah right.wake up guys."

    How can this kind of diatribe be construed as anything but diatribe?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: US death squads in Iraq?
  1. US-Iraq security pact (Replies: 12)

Loading...