The Right Coast

January 11, 2005
Belmont Club
By Tom Smith

Just in case you're curious about what's going on in Iraq.

I suspect the way the Sunni insurgents will be defeated in Iraq is indeed by ruthless paramilitary action carried out by the government that will be elected January 30th. One of the more instructive episodes is not Nicaragua (and be sure you pronounce it correctly, comrade) or The Salvador, but the defeat of Pablo Escobar's criminal underground in Colombia. Escobar waged a ruthless terror campaign against the government that was trying to capture and extradite him. He murdered hundreds if not thousands of civilians in car bombings and other indiscriminate attacks, not to mention the policemen and family members that he killed. Escobar defined the cruel drug lord. Raping, and torturing to death the children of his enemies while their parents watched was a favorite Escobar technique. As the Democrats said of Saddam, nobody was saying he was a nice guy. He was brought to heel in Colombia, put on the run and finally killed only when semi-official and just plain "black" para-military forces started to target and kill anybody who did anything for Escobar. The CIA helped out. If you were an accountant who helped Pablo launder money, you got shot. If you worked for an Escobar owned business, your car blew up. It was dirty war at its dirtiest. It was fighting fire with fire, although I don't know that the bad good guys tortured any children.

I don't know what's necessary in Iraq, let alone what's justified. I do think that a new government is not going to show a lot of restraint against their internal terrorists. When you're worried about car bombs, the approbation of the international community is the least of your problems.