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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Iraq war equated to ’80s foreign policy

    Womens studies director Laura Briggs explains her theory on the counter-insurgency tactics used today in Iraq and those used in El Salvador in the 1980s, last night in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering building.
    Women’s studies director Laura Briggs explains her theory on the counter-insurgency tactics used today in Iraq and those used in El Salvador in the 1980s, last night in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering building.

    The wiretapping, war tactics and religious fundamentalism that characterize the war in Iraq are similar to past conflicts the U.S. has been involved with, said Laura Briggs, director of women’s studies, at a lecture last night in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering building.

    Briggs spoke about the “”The Salvadorization of Iraq”” and said there’s a parallel between U.S. counterinsurgency tactics used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and those used during the 1980s in El Salvador.

    “”What characterizes the current situation is the same people are involved,”” Briggs said. “”Col. James Steele headed counterinsurgency operations in El Salvador, and he is the head of these operations in Iraq.””

    Briggs said there are other similarities, such as the letter-opening and wiretapping practices that took place in the 1980s and similar methods that tread upon U.S. civil rights, but U.S. citizens now have a more unsettling reality to deal with.

    “”Then, at least, the U.S. government had the good grace to deny what they were doing,”” Briggs said. “”Now they say they have secret prisons and are capturing people off the streets and holding them illegally.””

    Briggs also said the two eras were similar because religion played a role in both conflicts.

    “”Is Islamic fundamentalism mobilization a legacy of the cold war?”” Briggs said. “”Now we have hard-right Christians in the U.S. and hard-right Jews in Israel against hard-right Islam. The religious ties are striking.””

    “”Now we have hard-right Christians in the U.S. and hard-right Jews in Israel against hard-right Islam. The religious ties are striking.””

    – Laura Briggs,
    women’s studies director

    Briggs said that while she would have liked to get her information from more interesting sources, most of the fodder for her presentation was taken from “”bland”” records such as The New York Times and government documents.

    In a New York Times article, Briggs read that Sunni Muslim villagers saw people with bullet holes in the temples of their heads, acid burns on their skin and what appeared to be marks created by power drills.

    “”There were massacres of civilians where insurgency was believed to be strong, similar to the El Mozote massacre in 1981, where 750 were killed in El Salvador,”” Briggs said.

    Briggs said that during both conflicts there have been protests, but protests of the 2003 war are of a much different fashion than other conflicts such as the war in Vietnam.

    “”Anti-war protests toward the end of Vietnam were based on democracy,”” Briggs said. “”Now the war movement talks about bringing the troops home. I am surprised at how nationalist they are. I went to one recently and they played ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.'””

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