Institute for Historical Review

Institute for Historical Review

El Salvador: The War to Come

SAMUEL EDWARD KONKIN III
  • Presented at the 1981 Revisionist Conference.

Introduction

News and its interpretation changes daily, if not hourly, but the lead story on the front page of the November 6 New York Times should have brought chills to Revisionists, whatever their historical period preference:

"Haig says U.S. Aid to Salvador junta Must Be Increased" and subheaded: "He Indicates That Officials Are Studying Ways to Combat Arms Flow to Guerrillas."

The byline was held by long-time Times reporter, Hedrick Smith. The content was no less frightening than the headline. Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig (whom Murray Rothbard refers to as the sane, restrained wing of the Reagan Administration on foreign policy,[1] said in an interview:

... that he was not ruling out actions outside El Salvador but related to that country's guerrilla war. And indirectly, Mr. Haig confirmed the substance of a report in The New York Times today disclosing that he had asked the Defense Department to examine measures for a possible blockade of Nicaragua, or actions around Cuba, including naval exercises, a show of air power, a quarantine or even stronger action, all aimed at curbing the arms flow toward El Salvador.[2]

Further on, Hendrick reports:

Administration officials have disclosed that beginning in June but accelerating recently, Mr. Haig and Robert MacFarlane, the State Department counselor, were pressing the Defense Department to develop contingency options for action against Nicaragua and Cuba.

One option raised was a blockade of Nicaragua, which Mr. Haig has called a transfer point for arms to El Salvador. Among the requested options of possible action toward Cuba, officials said, were a large naval exercise, a show of air power, a quarantine on the shipment of arms to Cuba, a general blockade as part of an act of war and an invasion by American and possible Latin American forces.

Contingency plans, as A.J.P. Taylor has shown us concerning Germany,[3] are not necessarily acts of war or even threatening in themselves. However, these have followed a long period of the American State's saber-rattling on El Salvador and many take them seriously. For example, the Los Angeles Times editorialized, with a most appropriate heading, "El Salvador: The Spreading Crisis;" that:

U.S. Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. has been rattling his sabers this week over El Salvador. Although occasional posturing is routine in international diplomacy, Haig's statements are worrisome when seen in the context of other recent events that could affect the crisis.[4] Snapping one's mind right back to the early days of the Vietnam conflict, the State Department now considers the civil war in El Salvador to be a stalemate.[5]

The countries involved in the wider region certainly take it seriously. Guatemala held recent talks with El Salvador's junta to coordinate military action, says the editorial, adding further:

This kind of activity, and the manacing words from Haig, have not gone unnoticed in Cuba and Nicaragua. Fidel Castro has denied reports that Cuban troops may be fighting alongside the Salvadoran insurgents. He also ordered his island's defense forces to stand at full alert, in anticipation of some overt move against his regime by the United States.

In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas also claim that they are prepared to repulse an expected invasion, in this case by supporters of late dictator Anastasio Somoza. If it comes through Honduran territory, they warn that the resulting war will spread throughout Central America.[6]

The Times concludes wimpishly:

So it is to be hoped that an escalation of the Salvadoran conflict is not necessary. If more troops must be sent in, it would be preferable that they come not only from military regimes like Guatemala and Argentina. Democracies like Venezuela and Colombia also have a stake in the outcome of El Salvador's civil war, and they should be urged to help the Duarte government itself.[7]

Even as I penned these words, The Los Angeles Times reported, "Reagan, Venezuela to 'Stand Together'." Lest we dismiss that as diplomatic rhetoric, the article states, "The two leaders agreed that the U.S. attempt to achieve peace in El Salvador through elections is the correct course, the official said. Reagan 'indicated emphatically that we reject both the right and left extremists and that our path is the democratic middle path' in El Salvador, the official said.[8]

One could interpret Reagan's actions as fulfilling the Cold War Liberals' conditions for support of American intervention. Or perhaps the Liberal media were rationalizing and putting their best face on. The real questions are "does this mean war?", "can it be stopped?" and "what can we do about it?"

There is another important question to be answered first. Can revisionist history predict war?

Future Revisionism

To a large extent, the question of war prediction is of recent vintage. In the past, States were run by explicit ruling classes who weighed the gains and losses of going to war with other States and did so when it was in their interest or unavoidable. With the rise of democracy, majorities had to be swayed.

Statism can be used to redistribute wealth from few to many and can easily win votes for that. War, the health of the State as Randolph Bourne had it, never benefits the many. A majority can be convinced to support a war only if they're convinced they have no choice. That is, the majority must feel threatened and that they would lose more if they eschewed warfare.

Whatever the situation for small countries surrounded by big, rapacious States, the United States and Great Britain have never really been threatened with invasion and conquest. Germany and Russia, both of whom were devastatingly invaded twice this century, have far more grounds for fearing attack. Yet the British and American States have been involved in nearly all major conflicts of this century. One historical school has it that the British-American Imperialist Axis has been fighting one long war since 1914 with cold and hot periods.

The British were frankly imperialist at the turn of the century. By 1945 the constant warfare had devastated their economy and culture and their empire was gone. Yet they had "won" all their wars.

Small wonder that American Republicans warned against the United States becoming an empire from William Graham Sumner's The Conquest of the United States by Spain to Garet Garrett's The Rise of Empire.

The world was sick of war in 1919. Better educated masses with longer memory retention and majoritarian power, at least in extremis, became impervious to Statist blandishments for war. Those countries which could not vote out war overthrew their States and toppled their ruling classes. Bolsheviks took power with peace as the first plank in their platform; fascists seized power to withdraw their nations from the web of entanglements of the international bankers and their sponsored imperialism. In both cases, the hopes of the masses were deluded and then destroyed, but the impetus was there.

In this atmosphere, the Revisionist school of history flourished. Revising the court historians' establishment view of events, they sought original documents and reasons behind reasons given. They sought to explain war, how it happened and why, and later they investigated everything from the causes of the Depression to those of the American Constitution; again, always challenging the State's collegiate brothel of academic prostitutes.

Why?

Two reasons present themselves. First, the Revisionist Historians pursued Truth wherever it may lie, whatever the cost, whoever was hurt or discredited. Still, such an academic exercise would be quite sterile if it did not affect future choice of action. And, indeed, the Revisionists perceived the same conditions arising in 1938 that arose in 1912. They predicted war and they strove to prevent it.

To see the future would fix it indelibly. What will happen could not be changed. To predict the future is to extrapolate present conditions - causes- along the most probable lines of passageeffects. Such predictability, "if this goes on, that will happen" is the basis of science. Thus, History qua academic discipline has sought scientific validity by exhibiting sufficient understanding to predict the historical consequences of human actions. And Revisionists seek the same scientific basis.

Harry Elmer Barnes and Charles Beard saw the coming of World War II, opposed it, and were ready for immediate post-war Revisionist accounts. Though Revisionism was set back badly by the weak post-war reaction to the New Deal war misrepresentation so that Korea soon followed, Korea provided the renewal of disillusionment with statism that revived a new Revisionist wave ready for Vietnam.

The American Imperialists had picked up the fallen banner of Imperium from the collapsing British one in World War II. The U.S. and Britain traded places as senior and junior partner. By 1945 the American Empire effectively ruled the entire planet in coalition or alliance.

But the Churchill-Truman axis, consciously or unconsciously, realized the necessity of the threat of a foreign enemy to maintain the power of the State, the action of its citizen-victims. "Iron Curtain" speeches were made, the former staunch ally in Moscow was menaced, Stalin reacted with appropriate paranoia, and the world grouped around two imperial metropoles.

Only after the Fair Deal imperialists provoked the Cold War did Eastern Europe get converted into buffer states for the Russian Bolsheviks. China became the major Soviet ally in 1949 and they both moved to take Korea, an appendage to Soviet Asia and China's Manchuria. Half was already Soviet-bloc.

The United States could not win in Korea, and if it could, it dare not. If Douglas MacArthur had nuked Peiking and Moscow, the U.S. would have to invent another enemy. The failure of the American statists to fight for unconditional victory-a la Third Reich-left a frustrated populace and fertile grounds for Revisionism.

Revisionists warned of Vietnam, but the sheer length of the drawn-out struggle allowed a strong Revisionist movement to grow during the war itself, a first for Revisionists. The legacy of Vietnam is that the Revisionists are stronger and more accepted than anytime since 1919.

And now we, the Revisionists of 1982, are called upon to prove our value to our supporters, the consumers of our products. If we're so smart and our theories are right-what's going to happen next?

Imperialism On The Wax

There are certain premises needed to fulfill this demand. Each one requires a book on its own, or at least a paper as long as this one. Fortunately, they are not new and can be found already put forward and defended in the works of Revisionist giants, such as Barnes, James J. Martin, A. J. P. Taylor, Gabriel Kolko, William Appleman Williams, Murray Rothbard, G. William Domhoff, Leonard Liggio and R. A. Childs.

The first premise is that Washington and New York are the centers-is one center, really-of a political-economic empire, based on the American State, but controlling many of the other States in the world to different degrees and in different manners. This empire has a ruling elite who run the empire for their own benefit, that of their corporate holdings, and that of their friends, allies and relatives-that is, of this class. This is our second premise.

Our third premise is that the world is largely divided between this Empire -- I call it American, though it has nothing to do with an Iowa farmer, a California fruit trucker or a New Orleans shopkeeper -- and a smaller, weaker Empire centered in Moscow.

There are few neutrals -- Switzerland and Finland are about it, maybe Costa Rica -- though there is a lot of shifting back and forth on the borders. One side-switcher could also be considered a tertiary empire itself, and if China was that strong -- which it is not -- the great predictive Revisionist George Orwell would have 1984 right on the button. (He was close anyway.)

A fourth premise is that these Empires fight "brush-fire wars" in the marginal, borderline-countries for several reasons: retain control or gain control; protect existing investments or open new ones; make diplomatic gambits to affect general configuration of power in neighboring States for strategic purposes; and ultimately, to win popular support at home for a large war machine.

A fifth premise is that the natives of these countries on the Imperial borders have little preference for which Imperial Legion will rule them and would rather be left alone by both sides.

Finally, a premise should be added that "Left" and "Right," Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Conservatism, Democracy, Populism and so on, have little to do with the alliances of internal political groups with external imperialist groups. Conservatives like Charles De Gaulle were a thorn in the American Imperium; China's Communists urge the American Empire to even-greater anti-Sovietism. Everyone who opposes American hegemony is linked with Communism; everyone who opposes the Soviet hegemony is linked with the American State Capitalism.

With this seemingly long but actually highly abbreviated background, we may commence a Revisionist analysis of our present time, and, hopefully, the immediate future.

On the whole, Soviet Imperialism is a recent phenomenon and considerably overstated in hawkish American circles. Antony Sutton has made a fairly moderate case that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was almost completely financed and armed by Western plutocrats-a position once held only by the "fever swamps" of the far right. Libertarian economics indicates that the closer a State comes to pure State Communism, the closer its economy will be to chaos.

Here I may refer to my upcoming book, Counter-Economics, Ch. 3, on the large Counter-Economy which actually maintains the Soviet society. Though the USSR spends considerbly more on sophisticated armament than anyone but the American State, how well the technology would work in a land where right and left shoes often don't match or simply can't be found in the official economy, is open to serious question.

Moreover, the history of direct Soviet intervention is a string of sordid disasters. Finland fought the USSR to a standstill in 1939 and most Russian conquests afterward were the result of first German and then Anglo-American assaults on the Western frontiers of the concerned states. The Soviet conquest of its eastern satellites was the conquest of a vacuum, the Russians being the only ones in the area heavily rearmed by the U.S. lend-lease.

The Soviets never intervened directly in China, Korea or Vietnam. Their moves into Hungary and Czechoslovakia were simply restoring control in already occupied land, and today they are fighting a losing battle to hold their historic puppet in Afghanistan and are hesitant to attack heretical Poland and its turn to syndicalism.

The USSR has only two real pieces on the international chessboard to play: a paper nuclear force which has some deterrence to nuclear usage by the American Empire and the ability and willingness to supply all levels of military equipment- though limited in economic capacity to do so-to forces opposing the U.S. Empire. To many countries around the globe, the Soviets and Americans are interchangeable and one buys or refuses goods from either-like choosing between Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola.

Even in indirect imperialism the USSR has been hopelessly outclassed by the American imperialists. For all the Bircher talk of the globe turning Red, in reality, the Russian Empire has contracted in terms of client states since the 1960s. Ethiopia and Mozambique were minor gains, Angola is still contested, and Egypt and Somalia were minor losses. Vietnam was a fairly good gain but more than offset by the loss of China. Laos and Cambodia are contested

While the majority of governments profess some form of socialism, they are pro-American social democrats. The Socialist International, which supports Nicaragua and one wing of the Salvadoran rebels, for example, is simply lined up with one faction of the American Imperial Ruling Class against the other.[9]

There are currently three areas of hot conflict for the American Imperialists, and it is in these areas that the war will most likely break out-just as the Balkans were "hot" in 1912, Central Europe "hot" in 1938 and Korea and Vietnam were festering sores with escalating battles in 1950 and 1961.

Let me first eliminate some unlikely possibilities. The American statists will not intervene in Poland or anywhere in Central Europe; that area is granted to the Soviet sphere of control. The same is true of Afghanistan, though they would draw the line at Iran and Pakistan. But the USSR has not moved into those unstable situations, largely because it's bogged down in Afghanistan.

It is also unlikely that war will break out in Korea again, because China has switched sides and controls Kim Il Sung. Southern Africa is headed for further negotiated settlements along the Rhodesian precedent, though whether SWAPO or Turnhalle will come out on top is open, but it probably matters as little as Rhodesia. Remember, Mugabe is tied to China and hence ultimately serves the American Empire.

The rest of Africa may see net U.S. gains; the American imperialists are on the side of the national liberators in Angola, Eritrea and Ogaden for a change. North Africa is another matter.

South America looks condemned to military juntas with occasional fascist dictatorships (such as Peronism), except for the democratic north of Colombia and Venezuela. Guyana, for example, could not go further left without Brazil crushing it and probably excusing an annexation. The Caribbean is currently volatile, but really little problem for the U.S Marines and fleet to control.

The three hot spots for a future war, induced by both current instability and elimination of alternatives, are South-East Asia, the Middle East, and Central America.

South-East Asia is on the back burner now, but Cambodia is still hotly contested and China is itching to hit Vietnam again. Thailand is threatened by Vietnam but has the ASEAN pact behind it. The interlocking treaties here make 1914 look simple and there will be another war here soon. My humble revisionist opinion is that it won't be there sooner than the other hot spots, and even if it boils over, China can deal with it directly... unless the American Imperialists are bogged down elsewhere and the Russian Imperialists have settled Afghanistan and Poland. In that event, all bets are off and the U.S. will have to intervene to keep the Russians off the Chinese.

The next hotter spot is the Middle East. Iran is unstable, but Afghanistan has the USSR bogged down. Israel is probably not going to directly drag the U.S. into a war right away. The Trilateralist higher circles. of America's power elite have clearly indicated their preference for Saudi Arabia as their top client state, and Israel has to swallow it. However, Israel could widen a lot more likely possibility of war, if not start its own.

The media attack on Muammar Qaddafi of Libya is stronger than anything since Idi Amin, yet Idi Amin was attacked for his internal policies. Qaddafi is blamed for everything from the IRA to Basque separatists to Maltese obstreperousness to airline hijackers. He supposedly has designs on the Sudan-which is no great prize -and Chad- which is a dead loss.

The recent U.S attack on Libyan airplanes over Libyan territory is reminiscent of the Reuben James incident of 1941 except that the U.S. did not sacrifice their planes, but Qaddafi's.

Qaddafi is called a madman by the American Establishment press; that, of course, is a prelude to an attack. If a State is run by a madman, it cannot be trusted and the few little restraints of inter-state morality can be cast aside. War becomes justified.

Remember, the Kaiser was mad, Hitler was mad, Kim was mad, but Ho Chi Minh wasn't and look what it cost the U.S. in support. Actually, Qaddafi's Green Socialism is a mixed enterprisecommunal economy supported by oil royalties. His stated intention is to abolish the Libyan government in his lifetime, and though he will sell out or die first, he's certainly the most hbertarian statist rhetorically around, more than Ronald Reagan. But perhaps Reagan is only slightly less mad.

What the U.S. Imperialists dislike is that Qaddafi spends his State's money backing all sorts of wild cards in the world scene, such as the RAF, Brigate Rosse, IRA, -ETA, and Japanese Red Army. The Soviets hate them equally, though they will sell military supplies to Libya rather than have the Yanks get the trade, or the French. The Soviet Imperialists also hope for a windfall gain which would fall in their lap if the U.S. attacked Libya and drove Qaddafi into accepting direct client status from Russia in desperation. Naturally, all political groups which are controlled neither by Washington and Moscow are terrorists. That is, they terrify the Politburo and the Trilateral Commission.

The Trilaterals were about to strike recently when Qaddafi pulled a master coup. By pulling out of Chad immediately upon the request of the very premier who invited him in, he stymied the invasion threat to his own country. Libya has cooled off, but may heat up again. Even then, Egypt can handle the invasion as a stand-in for U.S. troops, as long as the rest of Arabia stays out. In that situation, Israel could spark off a widened war and plunge the entire Eastern Mediterranean into the real holocaust.

(Events after the Conference change little in the analysis. Reagan's paranoid assassination fantasy was issued to counter Libya's withdrawal move and generally fell flat as no evidence was offered.)

Since the speaker immediately following is representing the Palestine Arab Delegation, I'll let him deal with the Palestinian factor and spend much more time on the situation there.

The hottest spot is Central America. Things may change but the Washington-New York Trilateral Empire wants a war for domestic as well as external reasons, and it looks like El Salvador is the center of that war-to-be.

El Salvador: The Lies Begin

Before we forget, this is a paper of Revisionist History. What we're going to revise, hopefully as fast as the Court Historians can spit it out, is the torrent of lies and distortions about the civil war in El Salvador. One way to predict a war is to see when the Imperial States are most distorting a situation and misrepresenting the sides.

According to the American statists, El Salvador is run by a junta of Christian Democrats and various moderate military people opposing the reactionary landowners, fascist police and military, and Communist and deluded left-socialists. The Left and Right are killing each other and Jose Napoleon Duarte, President of the junta, is trying to keep down the terrorism and hold honest elections to settle the matter. Alas, the Nicaraguans are sending Cuban arms and money to the Salvadoran guerrillas whicl-1 they undoubtedly got from Moscow. The massacres taking place are due to Duarte's difficulty in taking control, but with increased American assistance, order will be restored and his land reform can be consummated and eliminate the history of inequities.

None of the above is true.

Let us begin with the most crucial issue for justifying American intervention in El Salvador, the prior intervention of Sandinista Nicaragua and the Soviet proxy, Cuba.

When the State Department released its report on El Salvador on February 23, it also released 100 copies of a 11/2-inch thick packet of documents to support the Reagan Administration's decision to increase military aid to the Salvadoran government. The meat of the documents' original raw intelligence consists of 47 pages of handwritten jottings, memoranda and minutes of meetings, culled from confiscated guerrilla files.[10]

Supposedly those documents were to show that socialist and communist countries were supporting the opposition to the junta, and with material, not just the usual rhetoric of solidarity.

But these very same documents-in addition to other intelligence reports available to the Reagan Administration that were not included in the White Paper-provide conclusions that fall far short of the Administration's portrayal of El Salvador as an arena of U.S.-Soviet confrontation.

The White Paper charges that 800 tons of arms were promised, and 200 tons were delivered, to the insurgents by the time of the (January) offensive. The captured documents, however, indicate that far lesser quantities were promised or in shipment, and only about 10 tons ever actually crossed the border.

Battlefield evidence gathered since January, including the statements of a captured Nicaraguan solider-turned-informer, reveals that the guerrillas were forced to depend on relatively antiquated rifles and other weapons purchased on the international black market.

In contrast to the Reagan administration's interpretation that the Soviet Union masterminded the arms traffic, the documents reveal that the guerrillas' Communist Party representative encountered a cool reception in Moscow, and was deeply concerned that Soviet "indecisiveness" might jeopardize any promise of arms made by other socialist countries.[11]

So where did the State department come up with the 800 and 200 tons figures?

The highest figure mentioned anywhere in the documents is in a hand-written letter, dated Nov. 1, from a certain 'Vladimir,' who was identified by the State Department as the guerrilla's logistics coordinator in Nicaragua. He wrote that 150 tons of arms had arrived in Cuba, and that "This week" there would be a total of 300 to 400 tons destined for the guerrillas-but that plans to smuggle -109 tons" into El Salvador in November were "almost impossible," Another document, the minutes of a guerrilla General Staff meeting in late September, reported only four of 130 tons of arms in storage had been smuggled into El Salvador.[12]

The rest of this quoted source is rich in instant revisionism, but let me just hit a couple of high points.

Neither official battlefield reports nor journalists on the scene have reported large quantities of weapons captured from guerrillas.

Other sources of intelligence that tended to contradict the picture of huge arms shipments were available to Reagan analysts, but were not included in the packet of documents.

And, finally,

The key document in Reagan's case that the Soviet Union is the mastermind behind the insurgency, is a report of Salvadoran Communist Party chief Shafik Handal's tour of Vietnam, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany and the Soviet Union last June and July. It is the only piece of evidence that actually mentions the Soviet Union, with the exception of a passing reference in another document to a "Sov." being present at a meeting in Mexico City with socialist diplomats. According to the White Paper, Handal left Moscow "with assurances that the Soviets agreed in principle to transport Vietnamese arms."

The supporting document, however, reports that Handal "exposed his unhappiness with the denial of a meeting at the proper level and the non-resolution of the request for help." A few weeks later, according to the document, the Soviets granted his request to give military training to 30 (presumably Salvadoran) youths studying in Moscow, but ignored his request to ship the Vietnamese arms. The document concluded, "The campaniero (Handal) expressed his concern that the Soviets' indecisiveness could affect not only the help they might give but also (prejudice) the willingness to cooperate of the other parties of the European Socialist camp..." There, in mid-sentence, the document provided by the State Department ends.[13]

What little foreign support the Salvadoran opposition gets is a few dollars they spend in the black market. This justifies the U.S. sending the junta "$35 million in military aid this year and studying requests for over $200 million in economic assistance"?[14] In fact, the only major foreign intervention in El Salvador is the American State's, that of the Trilateral Imperialists. The countries in the area saw it that way on March 11:

...the key governments in Latin America-Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina-have responded to United States charges that the Soviet bloc is supplying weapons to the Salvadoran guerrillas with warnings against deeper United States military involvement in El Salvador. And with rare unanimity they have called for a negotiated solution to the simmering civil war.

"I don't see why it is any more legitimate for the United States to arm the junta than for the guerrillas to get weapons from whatever they can," a Mexican official noted! ... Mexico's President, Jose Lopez Portillo, noted last month: "The crisis that has its temporary epicenter in the Salvadoran conflict has become a spiral that threatens to involve all the states in the area. For this reason, it is necessary to avoid the internationalization of the crisis through a combined policy that has the objective of rigorously preserving the principles of self-determination and non-intervention."

Mexico and Venezuela, in particular, seem worried that further militarization of the Salvadoran conflict might polarize the entire isthmus, heightening the domestic crises in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua and prompting regional governments to meddle openly in each others' affairs.[15]

So we see there is no Red intervention requiring an American response to balance the scales, or whatever, and the attitude of all the other States in the area is isolationist or non-interventionist, if you prefer. Most of these states are pro-American and some are right-wing dictatorships. The only imperialism in the area is American.

What about the manace of an internal Red takeover? Anti-interventionists may support a policy of self-determination in other countries, but if a few million dollars and a few advisors could tip the balance and save El Salvador from becoming another Cuba-or even Nicaragua-why bother being worked up to oppose it?

Space and time limitations prevent me from fully diagnosing the internal situation of El Salvador. Let me recommend "El Salvador: The Myth of Progressive Reform" by Roy A. Childs in the June 1981 issue of Libertarian Review. The land reform fiasco of Duarte is spelled out in pages of gory detail. Let me give you one irresistible tidbit.

Within days of the original land decree 153, the military swept through El Salvador, invaded farms, and told the peasants that land reform was an accomplished fact. They were to regard the land as theirs, elect their own leadership and, for the first time in their lives, farm land which was their own property. The peasants, who had heretofore been forbidden to organize, were now ordered to organize. But they did manage to elect leaders, and the Army then came back and shot those elected. Eyewitness reports indicate that several times soldiers poured back onto the farms within days after the elections, took away the leaders, and machine-gunned them. More than two hundred peasant leaders are reported to have been killed that way.[16]

This is the moderate, benevolent, Centrist government which is to save the Salvadorans from the horrible fate of communism and deserves the blood and treasure of the American people?

Way back in 1972, a ticket of Duarte for president and Guillermo Ungo, leader of the Social Democrats, won an election, against candidates of two major power blocs, the military and the landed oligarchy-the infamous 14 families. The military's candidate, Colonel Arturo Molina, promptly overthrew the government. In 1977, Molin was ousted by the oligarch's man, General Humberto Romero. On 18 October, 1979, the U.S. backed a coup by reformist military officers-one of three coups being planned-and ousted Romero. The junta brought in the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats in a joint civilian-military junta.

The Social Democrats quit and today Ungo, Duarte's former running mate, heads the Democratic Revolutionary Front.

By mid-February, following a denunciation by the extreme rightist D'Abuisson, armed men broke into the home of the Christian Democratic Solicitor-General of the second junta and machine-gunned him to death. The entire left wing of the Christian Democrats withdrew in protest. Remaining in place as the last fig leaf of the "center" was the right Christian Democrat, Jose Napoleon Duarte.[17]

The oligarchs and military oppose Duarte and freely murder opponents in massacres, including the assassination of Archbishop Romero, the Catholic leader of El Salvador. The left, the Faribundo Marti Liberation Front, oppose the government in armed combat and counter-terror. The moderate left and center, in the DRF, oppose Duarte. No one is left to prop up Duarte except the American interventionists.

Sound like Vietnam after Diem's death? You bet. After two years of direct U.S. intervention, we hear the Secretary of State demand massive additional aid, proxy troops, and, maybe, just maybe, direct U.S. military intervention, against not only El Salvador guerrillas, but widening the war to engulf Central America.

I rest my case for The Coming War as being in El Salvador. You may recall that Ronald Reagan welched on his promise to abolish draft registration in this country. To a Revisionist audience I hardly need say more, except to look to your aware conscience and take appropriate action.

The War Keeps Coming: Update

Updates, or follow-ups, are undoubtedly rare in historical publications. And authors taking a flyer at prophecy and prediction are usually loath to re-examine their claims for verification later. This revisionist author welcomes the opportunity offered by The Journal of Historical Review's editor to observe, six months after my announcement of it last November at the 1981 IHR Revisionist Conference, to see how "The War To Come" is coming along.

Actually, my thesis was formulated over a year ago at a small libertarian meeting: the United States government, or at least powerful elements in the American States, treads a path that leads to War -- at least of the nature and involvement (of the citizenry) of the Vietnam War. The basis for my prediction was the science, or at least proto-science, of Revisionist History. In a nutshell, if revisionism tells us what led to a war (what it's most often used for and for which he have the most data), then, scientifically speaking, it should tell us what leads to war. A science, once the rules are discovered, must be predictive to be conclusive.

Nearly six months later, in early November of 1981, the article was written and presented to the Third Annual Revisionist History Conference sponsored by the Institute for Historical Review. The additional six months more than doubled my references (many of which were footnoted in the article) and doubled my confidence in the predictions. Since then another six months have passed and the predictions. Since then another six April of 1982, we stand on the brink of a full-scale Viet-Nam War right where I pointed.

True, various leftists and rightists and other libertarians have viewed the situation in Central America with alarm and cries of potential conflict. Many of them have seen'wars everywhere, though, such as in Angola and Zimbabwe and various Middle Eastern sites, none of which came off. If one predicts wars everywhere, one will eventually be correct. Today, even many establishment newspapers and other media see a war horizon... but they also see various signs of backing away or some sort of "victory" before any get going in earnest. What all the above have in common is wish-fulfillment: both the positive one of seeing the American-centered Empire enmeshed and humiliated again, and the negative one of warning the U.S. off before it gets enmeshed and humiliated.

None of the above are scientific. Nor is Revisionist History -- the collection of knowledge, facts and interpretations of facts -- consulted save selectively and for partisan purpose. Most importantly, except for the Marxists perhaps, no one else is really offering a scientific claim for the prediction of events among States and within States. And those Marxists who try to proceed scientifically simply end up as one school of revisionism, which is not to denigrate the contributions of such as C. Wright Mills, Gabriel Kolko, and William Appleman Williams to revisionism.

In "El Salvador: The War To Come" a combination of premises from compilation of past revisionist work with modern data, mostly in the form of fairly accessible press clippings, led to the following conclusions. First, the nature of States, at least in recent history, and their reactions to internal economic crises, leads the revisionist to see a War seen as solution to these internal problems. Second, the class nature of the States - for whom the State acts to benefit -- leads us to certain conclusions as to where the War will happen and even when to an extent. Third, the actions of States so far in relation to other States (diplomacy and military maneuvers) follow a predictable trend and after a certain point approach inevitability of conflict. These premises were spelled out in specific for the context of 1981 and the actual world was observed.

By a rapid process of elimination, the most likely scenarios were selected. Third most likely was Cambodia, and, indeed, since that prediction Vietnam heated up- their attack on the Khmer Rouge to end that threat. Hanoi not only failed to finish off the Indochina struggle but pushed the Chinese-backed Reds closer than ever to a coalition with the U.S.-backed Khmer Serei and neutralist Prince Norodom Sihanouk. The theatre is still on the back-burner relative to the Middle East and Central America, but continues to heat up.

When Libya was first predicted as the site of the second most likely theatre for War with the American State, we had only got as far as the American shooting down of Libyan planes over Libyan-claimed waters. A revisionist scenario akin to the provoking of the Japanese to commit Pearl Harbor was seen. By the time the original article was submitted to The Journal for Historical Review for publication, President Ronald Reagan had imagined Qaddafi-unleashed assassins stalking the U.S. to slay him.

Imagined? On 10 March 1982, neutralist, non-interventionist (or Isolationist, as we die-hards like to call it) Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria welcomed Muammar Qaddafi to Vienna and replied to the questions of his parliamentary opposition and the Austrian press, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, (11 March, page 9):

Kreisky responded that recent U.S. charges that (Qaddafi) sent "hit squads" to the United States were groundless propaganda and that there was no reason to keep the Libyan leader from accepting an invitation extended by Austria long ago. "There is absolutely no evidence for charges that Qaddafi is the so-called father of terrorism," Kreisky said.

Within a day, in fact reported in that very same day's edition of the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. responded to this revelation by announcing discovery of a new plot by Libya, to blow up a club in Sudan where Americans, especially women and children, hung out, and banning Libyan oil. U.S. material to Libya, save food or medicine, was banned without a special licence. And President Reagan upped the lie denied by Kreisky, claiming that Qaddafi's perfidies "includes the training of 5,000 terrorists a year who are then sent on missions 'from Ireland to the Philippines.'"

From the Reuben James (Libyan aircraft) sinking to the insulting of ambassadors (calling Qaddafi a madman), lying about Japanese alliances and military objectives (same for Libya), freezing of assets and blocking of trade (banning of Libyan oil and exports. to Libya), we await only some sort of Pearl Harbor to complete the revisionist scenario to War in the Middle East. So far, Qaddafi seems less willing to play kamikaze.

Even so, Libya and the rest of the Middle East seems more like a diversion, or a "spare war in the pocket" for Reagan and the Administration should the prime target not take off in Central America. They seem to have little reason to fear. The $35 million in military aid for 1981 has already jumped over a hundred million and "non-military" aid is several times that. The U.S. advisors who were sent last year have since been reported to be carrying arms and even using them on guerrillas of the Faribundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMNL).

One of the contentions of the original paper presented was that the U.S. would engulf the whole of Central America in a war which began with an attempt to surpress the Salvadoran rebels. Sure enough, Guatemala and Honduras were provoked into having elections, and Guatemala promptly went through two coups while the war against their guerrillas continued. Meanwhile, Nicaragua armed itself, though nowhere near as much as claimed by the U.S. nor with anywhere near the support from Cuba and the USSR claimed (see The Lies Begin section of the last paper). For example, in a response that they had lengthened airstrips for Soviet-built MiG fighters, Sandinista spokesman (then visiting the U.S.), Jaime Wheelock, said there are no Soviet MiGs in Nicaragua and that "we don't expect to have any." (Same edition of the Los Angeles Times cited.) Furthermore,

Wheelock repeated charges made previously by the Sandinista government that the United States, in conjunction with the rightist regimes of Argentina and Chile, is undertaking a covert operation to achieve the economic, political and military destabilization of Nicaragua ... Asked Wednesday about reports of such a covert operation, Haig said it would be "inappropriate for me to comment..."

One would not have to bend Central America around too much to put El Salvador in South Vietnam's place, Nicaragua in North Vietnam's, perhaps Guatemala for Laos and Honduras for Cambodia.

The most recent event at the time of the writing of this update is the Salvadoran election. For an ostensibly democratic country as the United States, an election is paramount to proving that the Trilateralist Empire is really backing the good guys. In Vietnam, an election without the National Liberation Front simply led to coups and further internal chaos. How about the El Salvador election of 28 March 1982?

Of course, it's too early to tell too much. the New York Times of Tuesday, 30 March claimed the U.S. was jubilant and the FMNL demoralized because "900,000 of the estimated 1.3 million eligible voters had turned out, a figure greatly exceeded expectations..." Actually, only the previous week 800,000 were predicted and the newspapers were careful to point out then that there were three million Salvadorans of voting age. That is, less than a third of El Salvador chose to engage in ballots.

But that's not the worst problem. Only 40% voted for President Jose Napoleon Duarte's Christian Democrats, with 60% of the seats of the constituent assembly going to five rightist parties. 28% went to Roberto d'Aubuisson of the National Republican Alliance or ARENA, which had never run before this election. ARENA is as close to a fascist party as can exist today without Benito Mussolini leading it. As the New York Times put it:

The Christian Democrats had hoped to appeal to voters with their economic changes -- the redistribution of land and the nationalization of banks and the export of basic commodities. However, Mr. d'Aubuisson ran an unexpectedly strong race on calls to wipe out the guerrillas in three months and to reverse the land redistribution. He pledged to rid the country of "Communists," a group in which he included the Christian Democrats.

In short, the U.S. is about to lose control of their chosen government to a nationalist, if not anti-American, rightist coalition, one which shall certainly have no support among American liberals. Remember all the problems Lyndon Johnson had with Nguyen Cao Ky.

Of course, the Trilateral Imperialists will attempt to buy off some of the smaller parties or, should that fail, force in Duarte or other Christian Democrats anyway. Remember that the coup which brought Duarte in was against precisely the same landedoligarchy-backed type leader as d'Aubuisson is, and that National Conciliation Party is now angrily backing ARENA in revenge.

I concluded "El Salvador: The War To Come" with "No one is left to prop up Duarte -- except the American interventionists" and "Sounds like Vietnam after Diem's death? You bet." You bet still. I also noted that Reagan welched on his promise to abolish draft registration. He still has. The economy is worse and the U.S. is deeper than ever in El Salvadoran politics and military operations.

Six months from now, should predictive revisionism hold scientifically, I cannot imagine any alternative to an update save to describe the Ongoing War.


Footnotes

  1. The Smart Set, October 1981, page 4.
  2. The New York Times, November 6, 1981, page one, as titled in text.
  3. Ibid., page 4.
  4. L.A. Times, Part II, page 6, November 13,1981.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Los Angeles Times, November 18,1981, Part I, page 6.
  9. See, for example, the Yankee and Cowboy War by Carl Oglesby for a crude picture of internal U.S. power elite Divisions.
  10. "White Paper or Blank Paper?" by John Dinges, Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, March 17,1981, Part II, page 7.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid.
  14. "The Salvador Strategy" by Alan Riding, New York Times, Wednesday, March 11, 1981, page 2.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Source as quoted in text, pages 32-33.
  17. "El Salvador, Reagan's War" by Alexander Cockburn and James Ridgeway, The Village Voice, March 4-10, 1981, page 10.

Bibliographic information

Author:

Samuel Edward Konkin III

Title:

El Salvador: the war to come

Source:

The Journal for Historical Review (http://www.ihr.org)

Date:

Spring 1982

Issue:

Volume 3 number 2

Location:

Page 129

ISSN:

0195-6752
Attribution:
"Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, PO Box 2739, Newport Beach, CA 92659, USA. Domestic subscriptions $40 per year; foreign subscriptions $60 per year."

Please send a copy of all reprints to the Editor.


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