An interesting article, although like many articles one reads these days, the Iraq tie-in is somewhat tangential to the real point of the story, which is a recounting of Reagan era abuses in Central America, especially Guatemala. (It is a very good history of U.S. involvement in Guatemala, by one of the reporters who broke the Iran-Contra story.) Having said that, I think the list of people currently involved in high level Iraq policy, who were previously involved in Central America policy is something that should be cause for concern as we look at Bush’s exit strategy.
The key counterinsurgency lesson from Central America was that the U.S. government can defeat guerrilla movements if it is willing to back a local power structure, no matter how repulsive, and if Washington is ready to tolerate gross human rights abuses.
… <a href="http://www.consortiumnews.com/2003/111303.html" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', 'http://www.consortiumnews.com/2003/111303.html', 'The temptation to recycle these counterinsurgency strategies from Central America to Iraq is explained by the number of Reagan-era officials now back in prominent roles in George W. Bush’s administration.']);" >The temptation to recycle these counterinsurgency strategies from Central America to Iraq is explained by the number of Reagan-era officials now back in prominent roles in George W. Bush’s administration.</a> They include Elliot Abrams, who served as assistant secretary of state for Latin America in the 1980s and is a National Security Council adviser to Bush on the Middle East; John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Honduras in the 1980s and now Bush’s U.N. Ambassador; Paul Bremer a counter-terrorism specialist in the 1980s and Iraq’s civilian administrator today; Bush’s Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was the senior military adviser to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in the 1980s; and Vice President Dick Cheney, who was a Republican foreign-policy stalwart in Congress two decades ago.
This post by Calpundit about how Dick Cheney has long believed that democracy can be brought about by brute force shows an ideological consistency which makes me even more worried about what might be left behind when the U.S. leaves Iraq.
UPDATE: editorial fixes.