10 September 2008

Phoenix in the Desert?

In the news, we find assertions that the United States is secretly hunting opponents in the Global War on Terror in Iraq and assassinating them. Famed journalist Bob Woodward implies that there is some kind of technological trickery involved here, as his parallel is the Second World War's Manhattan Project. Well, time will eventually reveal whether his is the right parallel.

In the mean time, we could speculate that all we are seeing is a new Phoenix Program, the campaign of assassination conducted in Vietnam. The standard text on this appears to be Douglas Valentine's 1990 book, which you can read an excerpt from here. Opponents of the war tend to seize on such organized murder campaigns as somehow inherently evil.

Yet war will always throw up such schemes, as leaders look to every weapon at their disposal to win. Sometimes, even liberal opponents of war might view the victim as deserving exactly what he got. We even find, outside of war and causing war, conspiracies in which one leader may attempt to assassinate another.

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