Death Squad Democracy


“As successive imperialist powers have shown, the bottom line in combating the hopes and dreams of ordinary people is to resort to spreading terror through the application of extreme violence.”

“For Iraq, the ‘Salvador Option’ becomes Reality”

Max Fuller


The notion that Iraq is now consumed by civil war depends on a number of assumptions that are inherently false. First of all, it assumes that the Pentagon is ignoring the fundamental principle which underscores all wars: “Know your enemy”. In this case, there’s no doubt about who the enemy is; it is the 87% of the Iraqi people who want to see an immediate end to the American occupation. Therefore, the greatest threat to American objectives of permanent bases and occupation is the camaraderie that that manifests itself in the form of Arab solidarity or Iraqi nationalism.

To this end, the Pentagon, through its surrogates in the media, has created a “self-fulfilling” narrative that civil war is already under way. Most of the war coverage now makes it appear as though the violence is generated from ethnic tensions and sectarian hatred. But is it? Some of the more astute observers have noticed that other parts of the propaganda war, (like references to the “imaginary” al-Zarqawi) have completely vanished from the newspapers, as government spin-doctors are now devoting 100% of their time to promoting their latest product-line; civil war.

In fact, if any of us were involved in the Pentagon’s “pacification” plans we’d probably be doing the same thing. After all, the War Department is already overextended, so a plan had to be devised to divert attention from the occupation forces and get Iraqis to kill each other. The only reasonable choice is to incite “sectarian violence” and make civil war inevitable. That, of course, is the task of the American trained death squads. (The New York Times has confirmed that the Interior Ministry death squads were trained by American forces)

For three years the Iraqi resistance has successfully kept American troops on the defensive; taking control of more area, destroying pipelines and oil facilities at will, discouraging enlistment in the Iraqi Security Forces, and undermining public support among Americans (63% of who now believe the war was “a mistake”)

These are the goals of every guerilla movement; a gradual erosion of public support, deflating morale, surprise attacks, and eliciting greater support from the general population.

It is clear that this has been a winning strategy for the resistance, and not one that they would readily abandon to pursue an ethnic/religious war.

So, where does the violence originate? Could it be that the independent militias are engaged in sectarian war without help from the greater resistance?

It could be, but it’s not likely. Again, the only one who benefits from civil war is the US military; and it’s clear that the military has no other option but to follow a “divide and rule” strategy. They simply don’t have the human resources for any other plan.

In a larger sense, the “alleged” sectarian violence is consistent with what we have seen in previous CIA-run operations in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Negroponte are alumna of those conflicts (which, according to Cheney, succeeded quite admirably) so it’s probable that they would apply what they have learned about counterinsurgency to the ongoing war in Iraq. The El Salvador-experiment proved that the masses can eventually be terrorized into compliance.

Isn’t that what is taking place in Iraq?

In Iraq, terror is being used as a substitute for security, because the United States has no intention of providing the manpower or funding needed to maintain order.
Death Squad Democracy

Video footage of a massacre outside of Nahrwan, east of Baghdad, has appeared on the Internet showing the bodies of Shiite laborers who were allegedly killed by Sunni death squads. Journalist Paul McGeough was given the tapes and is planning to report on their content in the “Sydney Morning Herald”.

In one incident, four adults were pulled from their vehicle and either shot or stabbed to death in front of a 5 year old boy whose father was one of the victims. When the townspeople came to investigate the scene, they discovered the bodies of 48 men and women who had been dumped in a ditch. The corpses showed the signs of having been “systematically murdered. Most were shot but some appear to have been stabbed and mutilated”.

It is the “stabbed and mutilated” part that should interest us. After all, the intention of the Iraqi resistance is to gather greater support for their cause, not to alienate ordinary Iraqis through gratuitous acts of murder. If, however, this was the work of American-backed death squads, then the alternate goal of “governing through terror” has been achieved.

Journalist McGeough sticks with the same, feeble mantra as the establishment-media to explain the tragedy: “The current round of tit-for-tat sectarian violence was sparked by the bombing of the Samarra mosque”a holy site for Shiites. In the immediate aftermath, there were reports of many killings and fears that Shiite reprisals could see the country descend into a civil war.”

Isn’t this the official narrative?

The media insists that the destruction of the Golden-dome mosque was a “9-11-type event” which caused an up-tick in the bloodshed. But, was it? Or was it merely part of a broader (covert) strategy to foment civil war?

There’s evidence that the plan to divert attention from the occupation forces is succeeding. In February the military reported less servicemen killed (31) than in any month in the last year.

Isn’t this the goal?

In Max Fuller’s seminal article “For Iraq, the ‘Salvador Option’ becomes Reality” the author disproves the idea “that sectarianism is a sufficient explanation for the violence in Iraq”. Instead, Fuller says that what is taking place is in “the hands of the state” and a “part of the ongoing economic subjugation of Iraq.”

Fuller’s well-documented article is indispensable in making sense of the apparent chaos:

“In Iraq, the war comes in two phases. The first phase is complete: the destruction of the existing state, which did not comply with the interests of British and American capital. The second phase consists of building a new state tied to those interests and smashing every dissenting sector of society. Openly, this involves the same sort of shock therapy that has done so such damage in swathes of the Third World and Eastern Europe. Covertly, it means intimidating, kidnapping, and murdering opposition voices.”

Fuller backs up his observations with ample evidence; citing open-source material he has compiled in his research:

“What we do know, however, is that hundreds of Iraqis are being murdered and that paramilitary hit-squads of the proxy government organized by US trainers with a fulsome pedigree in state terrorism are increasingly being associated with them.”

The objective of the death squads is not simply to target one particular group or ethnicity, but to direct the violence outwards creating as much fear as possible in order to pacify the population.

Fuller winds up his polemic with a summary statement that confirms the long and bloody history of colonial wars:

“The pattern is repeated time after time in every imperialist so-called counter-insurgency war; for behind each and every one lurks the reality of exploitation and class war, and, as successive imperialist powers have shown, the bottom line in combating the hopes and dreams of ordinary people is to resort to spreading terror through the application of extreme violence.”

A spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars, Hareth al-Dhari, put it more succinctly than Fuller; “This is state terrorism.”

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at:




MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at