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Thread: El Salvador war: postscripts

  1. #21
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    Default Great job, David

    on giving us a separate thread and bringing in the Ucko comments.

    FSO, I really overlooked Vides. He was a really impressive guy and, when we briefed Pres Duarte on the Combined ESAF Assessment, Vides was the only person in a room fulll of senior gringos and Salvadorans who was able to answer Pres Duarte's question about whether the govt was winning the war. (Vides answered in the affirmative, correctly IMO.) I never got to know Blandon but I would agree with your assesment. I also agree that Vides got a raw deal from the USG in those suits. Amb Corr, to his everlasting credit, went out ofhis way to testify for Vides.

    I also agree with you on Ponce. The Truth Commission report clearly leaves much to be desired. In general, it accepts as true any allegation about ESAF crimes without investigation but invstigated allegations of FMLN crimes and/or lumped them together while treating each allegation against ESAF individually and as true.

    Finally, regarding Benavides, my sources tell me he was responsible - but he had been stashed at the Academy because he was considered to be among the least comptent of his Tanda mates - but he was a known hard liner. The problem was that whe San Salvador was underattack he had responibility for the defense of the sites you indicate and TACON of the Atlacatl for purposes of site defense. Motive and opportunity.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  2. #22
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    Default Books on El Salvador Conflict

    John:

    A Vides Casanova story for you: in response to continued Embassy pressure to remove COL Staben from command of the Arce BIRI, Vides reportedly said "I can't remove him, he is our Patton." (The Embassy rejoinder should have been that Patton inherited his wealth.)

    One of my favorite books on the El Salvador conflict is the 1988 NDU oral history volume edited by your colleague Max Manwaring, "El Salvador at War." (See: http://www.amazon.com/EL-SALVADOR-AT...3890512&sr=1-1 ). It has a lot of interesting and useful comments from most of the U.S. and Salvadoran military players during the 1980s.

    Another of my favorites is "Strategy and Tactics of the Salvadoran FMLN Guerrillas." (See: http://www.amazon.com/Strategy-Tacti.../dp/0275950182 ) As you probably know, it was ghost written by Gustavo Perdomo, the Commander of the Special Operations Group (GOE) during the war. I got to know General Perdomo when he was assigned to Salvadoran Embassy in Washington in the mid 1990s. A very sharp and charismatic guy - until Iraq and Afghanistan came on the scene he probably had more combat experience than any other Special Forces officer in the world.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-25-2009 at 02:56 PM. Reason: Add links to books cited.

  3. #23
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    Default Although Staben didn't inherit

    his wealth, he did marry it (or at least most of it). For those who don't know Staben was accused of being part of a kidnapping ring. My personal belief is that if he was it was not (less) for the money but for Tanda (Academy class) loyalty. Regardless, it's a great story and captures some of the dilemmas of COIN.

    We certainly worked hard on El Salvador at War which Max and Court wrote while under contract with SWORD. I was the active officer supervising the project.

    I think that Dave Spencer told me that Perdomo was the real author of much of the book - that was after Dave joined us at CHDS. I met Perdomo at the Centro de Altos Estudios Estrategicos (CAEE) in 1996 when he was a Colonel and "going through the course." Camps Anaya was the CAEE Director at the time. Incidentally, CHDS just announced that it was awarding the William Perry Award (for institutions) to the CAEE this year.

    Cheers

    JohnT
    Last edited by John T. Fishel; 09-25-2009 at 02:32 PM.

  4. #24
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    Default Influencing Clients in Counterinsurgency: U.S. Involvement in El Salvador’s Civil War

    Spotted via Twitter an article by David Ucko, on this 2016 article 'Influencing Clients in Counterinsurgency: U.S. Involvement in El Salvador’s Civil War' and so this thread has been re-opened.

    Here is a telling phrase:
    the United States struggled to persuade its proxy in San Salvador to follow its advice. Whereas American offers of aid and assistance were warmly welcomed, guidance on how to do things differently often fell on deaf ears. Simply put, interests in San Salvador did not always match those in Washington DC and, more often than not, local preferences won out. In this regard, El Salvador is far from unique.
    Link:https://issforum.org/articlereviews/...form=hootsuite
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-25-2018 at 07:11 PM. Reason: 17,177v and now 27,902v
    davidbfpo

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