Save the death squads!
By Owen Williamson
The chair of the meeting pounded the polished oak
gavel on the ornate polished desk. The murmur of subdued
voices quickly vanished, leaving only the sounds of bodies
sinking into plush leather-upholstered armchairs, "This
emergency meeting of CISMES, the Committee in Solidarity with
the Murderers in El Salvador, will not come to order,"
announced the chair.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the speaker said without
preamble, "We're in trouble. First, it was the November 11
offensive of the FMLN rebels, which unravelled almost a
decade of painstaking work by our best counterinsurgency
thugs and killers. Then, just when we were finally starting
to turn the truth on its head in the media to make the
Salvadoran government look like 'our side' to the American
people, they go and remind everyone of their true nature by
killing those priests and the others."
"But George," objected an annoyed voice, "they
deserved it! They were opposed to our policies." "Of course
Brent," acknowledged the chair. "You know that and I know
that, but don't you dare breathe the idea to anyone outside
this room! Officially we're 'horrified at the massacre and
demanding an official inquiry.' Remember that."
A woman with a journalist's notepad raised her hand.
"Yes, Georgie Ann?" asked the chair. "Mr. Pres...erh, Mr.
Chair, for the better part of 10 years I've been telling
everyone that the FMLN is at death's door. Now they're
knocking on Cristiani's door with 120mm mortars! What's a
liar to do?"
The chair shook his head. "We're trying, Georgie Ann,
we're trying our best. A million bucks a day..." "Better
that than see the money wasted on housing for the homeless or
some other boondoggle..." grumbled a distinguished-sounding
voice at the back of the room. "Besides," piped up another
voice, "we have to continue standing behind El Salvador's
democratically-elected government." The entire room broke
into hysterical laughter. "You slay me, Bill," gasped the
chair, "but save it for the public. We've got no time for
humor. This is serious business: the death squads are in
mortal danger and we're the only ones who can save them."
"How about creating an excuse for direct
intervention," asked a member. "We tried, Dan, believe me
we've tried! Back when the rebels trapped those American
marines in their luxury hotel for a couple of hours, I tried
my best to make it into a 'hostage drama,' but it didn't
fly." "I don't see why not," commented a military officer,
"anyone who interferes with an American advisor has to be a
"Be that as it may, General," continued the chair, "as
I see it, we have two remaining options: either we make a
last-ditch maximum effort to keep the wool pulled over the
eyes of the American people, or else..." A messenger ran in
with a note.
The chair glanced at it and cleared his throat. "It's
from President Cristiani. Does anyone know of a good,
upscale real estate agent in the greater Miami area?"