"Riding with the Bad Boys"
The rise of Iraqi death squads
By Mike Whitney
"ICH" - --- The
New York Times confirmed today that the "Iraqi (security) forces
are carrying out executions in predominantly Sunnis neighborhoods."
Hundreds of men have been taken from taken from their homes by men
in Iraqi uniforms and either "found dead in ditches or fields, with
bullet holes to their temples, acid burns to their skin, and holes
in their bodies apparently made by electrical drills. Many have
simply vanished". (Dexter Filkins, "Sunnis accuse Iraqi Military
of Kidnappings and Slayings" NY Times)
The Times merely reiterates what has been echoing through internet
for some time now, that the Iraqi Interior Ministry is using lethal
force to undercut the Sunni-led resistance and terrorize the public.
The plan was first uncovered in
an article by Seymour Hersh in January 2005. Hersh reported that
the Pentagon was intending to trigger "The Salvador Option"; a
strategy which involves the training of "death squads" to execute a
bloody secret war against "alleged" insurgents.
"Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?"
one official asked Hersh. "We founded them and we financed them. The
objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want."
Then he added ominously, "We’re going to be riding with the bad
The authorization for the death squads comes straight from the Oval
According to Chris Floyd, "Through a series of secret executive
orders, George W. Bush has given Rumsfeld the authority to turn the
entire world into a 'global free-fire zone’’. (Chris Floyd,
Darkness Visible: The Pentagon plan to foment terrorism is now in
Floyd’s observations are consistent with what we already know of
Rumsfeld’s involvement in overseeing the development of the Iraqi
security apparatus. Following the presidential elections in Iraq,
Rumsfeld paid a surprise visit on the newly-appointed al-Jaafari to
discourage any changes in the Interior Ministry where American
agents were training Iraqi goons in the fine art of torture and
Commenting to BBC, Rumsfeld issued a clear "hands off" warning to
al-Jaafari: "Its important that the new government be attentive to
the competence of the people in the ministries and that they avoid
unnecessary turbulence." He said it was important for the security
forces to continue building their strength because US forces were
not going to be there forever.
The genocidal attacks reported by the New York Times are the
predictable upshot of a process that was initiated by the Pentagon
to destroy the Iraqi resistance through violence alone. As yet,
there has been no effort to engage in dialogue with members of the
resistance. This suggests that the Bush administration still
believes that the dilemma they face can be resolved without a
There can be no political solution without direct negotiations with
the Iraqi resistance. The smoke-and-mirrors phantom that the Bush
administration mistakes for democracy has nothing to do with the
serious formation of a legitimate Iraqi government. Voting, in
itself, does not signify democracy unless there is broad acceptance
among the many factions in the society. The massive demonstration of
daily violence indicates a clear rejection of the legitimacy of the
state. This can only be decided by eliminating the factors that prop
up the puppet regime (the occupation) and engaging in a political
process free from outside coercion.
The death squads are in fact just one part of a three-pronged
strategy to crush the resistance and establish Iraq as a
corporate-colony of American energy giants. The other phase of the
operation involves the systematic decimation of Sunni cities.
In the last few months the US military has carried out numerous
assaults on Sunni cities to break the resistance and destroy its
ability to wage war. In consecutive operations, the occupation
forces have followed the same ruthless pattern of wanton destruction
and collective punishment they perfected in their siege of Falluja.
Ghali Hassan’s shocking article, "Iraq: A Criminal Process"
(Global Research) is an invaluable resource for those who really
want to grasp the breadth of the war crimes being perpetrated in
"Just before the U.S. forces attacked al Qaim last 29 August, a
thriving town of 150,000 people in western Iraq, they cordoned it
off, cut electricity, water and food supplies. Then they
indiscriminately and disproportionately blanketed the town, from the
ground and from the air, with artillery shells, cluster bombs and
napalm bombs with the full knowledge that civilians, particularly
women and children, would be killed.
When it was all over, the U.S. Marines entered the city to fight
(with air cover) those who were still alive. Humanitarian aides and
medical supplies were prevented from entering the town, in gross
violations of international law and the Geneva Conventions. This
cycle of criminal process to legitimize the colonization of Iraq is
depicted by the Bush-Blair axis as the "political process" towards
The slaughter and destruction in western Iraq are not simply
isolated incidents that are kept from the media. They are, in fact,
a pattern of willful devastation of city after city executed by the
Defense Dept. to break the back of the resistance by decimating the
civilian enclaves where they draw their support. The results have
meant "scores of casualties due to 'indiscriminate bombing’ by US
forces. Paralleling the atrocities committed in other towns and
cities, all of which savagely attacked and destroyed the entire
population of Tal Afar are now 'ethnically cleansed’ refugees". (G.
The death squads and the intentional destruction of the Sunni
heartland comprise the first two parts of the three-pronged strategy
to defeat the Iraqi resistance. The final leg on the stool is the
propaganda war that is being directed against the American people to
conceal the details of the military’s war crimes. The arrest or
liquidation of independent journalists reporting from the front has
allowed the Pentagon’s "embedded" legions to shape a narrative of
benign intervention in the name of fighting terrorism. According to
the Washington Post not one of the more then one thousand prisoners
captured in Tal Afar was a foreign fighter. This should put to rest
the Pentagon’s spurious claim that Sunni cities are "Al Qaida
American media now functions as an annex of the War Department. The
news is fashioned to meet the policy objectives of the state and its
constituents. The war that appears on TV stations across America,
where US soldiers are dutifully ushering a backwards Muslim nation
towards democracy and free enterprise, bears no resemblance to the
gruesome realities of the colonial war that is devastating Iraqi
The media’s performance in Iraq has been the most successful part of
the entire campaign. It continues to embellish, obfuscate or divert
attention from the clear facts of America’s criminal involvement.
The media has unfailingly provided the ever-shifting rationale for
the ongoing occupation and continued to mobilize public support for
the most unpopular war in American history. Its embedded
propagandists have been more vital to the war-effort than
laser-guided technology, cluster-bombs or detention centers.
The Bush administration’s three-pronged strategy for Iraq precludes
a political solution because it is designed as a model for future
wars. The Washington warlords and their boardroom constituents have
no intention of negotiating the terms of global rule; that is the
exclusive duty of the White House mandarins.
Negotiation and diplomacy are signs of weakness. The administration
will remain faithful to its right-wing mandate; concealing its real
goals behind the smokescreen of withdrawal, while ruling according
to its basic precepts of force and deception.
Copyright Mike Whitney
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