A war in search of an analogy
: They kept trying to say that our war in Iraq was Vietnam (or the Soviet Afghanistan): the no-win quagmire. But that dog didn’t hunt. So the search is for another analogy and Peter Maas returns from a brave trip with Iraqi counterinsurgency forces and thinks he has it in today’s NY Times magazine:
The template for Iraq today is not Vietnam, to which it has often been compared, but El Salvador, where a right-wing government backed by the United States fought a leftist insurgency in a 12-year war beginning in 1980. The cost was high — more than 70,000 people were killed, most of them civilians, in a country with a population of just six million. Most of the killing and torturing was done by the army and the right-wing death squads affiliated with it.
In El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Turkey, Algeria and other crucibles of insurgency and counterinsurgency, the battles went on and on. They were, without exception, dirty wars.
Well, yes, it’s a dirty war (isn’t every war?)… It’s a dirty war when “insurgents” and imported murderers and deluded suicidal fanatics blow up and behead innocent civilians. Is it dirtier to stop them?