My ... review certainly did refer to Central America: "Until I sat with him and a few others serving on the transition team to discuss the El Salvador war in detail and depth, I too half believed the stories" (about Reagan's incompetence). But that was certainly not a 'dirty' war. It was a very clean war indeed in which I am proud to have played a small part, by helping villagers defend themselves against guerrillas who refused to take part in elections, and instead attempted to impose a Cuban-style Communist dictatorship by force of arms. When they were defeated by the US-trained Salvadorean army and by village militias, they did participate in general elections and were soundly beaten. By then everyone knew that the Sandinistas of Nicaragua were predators and that Cuban Communism was a miserable failure.The concentration of euphemising code here is breathtaking. The murder of 30,000 Nicaraguans by US-trained terrorists disappears behind a blithe 'by then'. And it's odd how Cuban Communism's 'failure' is clear to him at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, yet not to his powerful buddies who still insist on a crippling embargo. To them, Cuba's survival and progressive social programs appear to be an irritating success, just like Afghanistan in the 80s, whose unacceptable human rights record was an irrelevance when it was resisting the attentions of its nearest superpower. But that too is another euphemism: 'miserable failure' means 'does not allow investment opportunities'.
But back to that clean war. Another US-based scholar gives an insight to US training of Luttwak's heroic liberating armies:
In the 'fledgling democracy' that was El Salvador, teenagers as young as 13 were scooped up in sweeps of slums and refugee camps and forced to become soldiers. They were indoctrinated with rituals adopted from the Nazi SS, including brutalization and rape, to prepare them for killings that often have sexual and satanic overtones. According to [a] deserter, draftees were made to kill dogs and vultures by biting their throats and twisting off their heads, and had to watch as soldiers tortured and killed suspected dissidents - tearing out their fingernails, cutting off their heads, chopping their bodies to pieces and playing with the dismembered arms for fun.Of course, this is not part of Luttwak's clean war itself, so how did it get on 'in the real world'?:
The results of Salvadoran military training are graphically described in the Jesuit journal America by Daniel Santiago, a Catholic priest working in El Salvador. He tells of a peasant woman who returned home one day to find her three children, her mother and her sister sitting around a table, each with its own decapitated head placed carefully on the table in front of the body, the hands arranged on top "as if each body was stroking its own head".Not only clean, but tidy!