US death squads in Iraq?

  • #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/ [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
russ_watters
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So, teams of soldiers are going to go after insurgents. Could you explain to me the problem here...?
 
  • #3
PerennialII
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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.
 
  • #4
russ_watters
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PerennialII said:
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.... [emphasis added]
Where are you seeing that?
 
  • #5
PerennialII
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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.
 
  • #6
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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...
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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wasteofo2 said:
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...
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....
PerennialII said:
I'm assuming....
...and that's the second.
 
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  • #8
PerennialII
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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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PerennialII
I'm assuming....
...and that's the second.
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".
 
  • #9
wasteofo2 said:
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...
: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/ [Broken]

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
 
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  • #10
selfAdjoint
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You could separate them by their targets.

Death squads target dissidents.

Insurgents target occupying troops and collaborators.

Terrorists target random civilians.
 
  • #11
selfAdjoint said:
You could separate them by their targets.

Death squads target dissidents.

Insurgents target occupying troops and collaborators.

Terrorists target random civilians.
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.
 
  • #12
russ_watters
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the number 42 said:
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.
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.
 
  • #13
kat
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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..
 
  • #14
kat said:
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..
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 [Broken]
 
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  • #15
selfAdjoint
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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.
 
  • #16
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US death squads - how can this be? We only bring democracy and freedom to the oppressed masses.yeah right.wake up guys.
 
  • #17
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tumor said:
US death squads - how can this be? We only bring democracy and freedom to the oppressed masses.yeah right.wake up guys.
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
 
  • #18
selfAdjoint
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Townsend said:
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
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.
 
  • #19
Townsend said:
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:
: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.
 
  • #20
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selfAdjoint said:
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.
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?
 
  • #21
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the number 42 said:
: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.
The only cheap tricks going on here is how you are acting like I said stuff I never did. If you would, please show me where I said I was supporting this military action like you are obviously assuming! Could you please elaborate on where I ever implied that anti-bush is the same as anti-American? I also never said that the whole of the US supports the current president and if you really want to know I only support him in so far as I believe in his economic policies and I believe we should have taken out Saddam long ago. I do not know whether it is his arrogance or ignorance but one way or another this particular president finally decided to take a chance and do what I am sure the last two presidents before him wanted to do.

I do not support Bush on about half of his policies and I seriously doubt that very many people completely support him. In fact there are a lot of things I really hate about his administration. But I do realize that not everything he does or even everything any government administration does is all bad. When that is all I hear from people it really starts to get under my skin because it takes away from any kind of intelligent debate that could be happening.


But, since you have already made up your mind and about what I am thinking then feel free to make any assumptions you wish and extrapolate all you want but that kind of childish behavior is way to immature for my way more mature kindergarten ideas!

Regards
 
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  • #22
selfAdjoint
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Well Townsend you do seem to take every criticism of the US as a rant. Notice I said seem to. Both 42 and I, who are actually pretty thick skinned, took the post we responded to in just that way. Or do you practice bait and switch?
 
  • #23
russ_watters
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selfAdjoint said:
So if wonderful America does death squads in it's own interests it is not to be criticised?
No, if the issue is misrepresented by an overzealous reporter, that's a problem. Yes, there are legitimate problems with the US - what I (and apparently Townsend) object to is the knee-jerk reactions and misrepresentations by people with an anti-america bias.
 
  • #24
selfAdjoint said:
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.
Now that I've thought about it, it would be surprising if the US weren't involved in covert actions. Equally, I'd be amazed if Rumsfeld didn't deny it to the hilt, at least until things in Iraq had cooled down considerably. Do we have anything more concrete than his denials to go on?
 
  • #25
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the number 42 said:
Now that I've thought about it, it would be surprising if the US weren't involved in covert actions. Equally, I'd be amazed if Rumsfeld didn't deny it to the hilt, at least until things in Iraq had cooled down considerably. Do we have anything more concrete than his denials to go on?
??? Think man!!! If we were to actually know something about covert operations then they would not be covert operations. I believe it is fairly reasonable to say that most countries are involved in covert operations in foreign countries all the time. I think it would be pretty unreasonable to suggest that any country involved in armed conflict with another country is not involved in covert operations. I imagine that even countries like France and Germany have covert operatives in Iraq gathering intelligence as we speak. After all a big part of any military budget goes to intelligence gathering.

I really do not understand why you sound like you just had an epiphany about this.

Regards
 

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