Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Anti-Insurgency Dilemma

See this Associated Press article concerning former President Fujimori of Peru. Without becoming tedious, it lays out the dilemma of anti-insurgency in its look at Fujimori's successes and shortcomings as President. He saved the country from a brutal home-grown Maoist terrorist movement, the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso in Spanish).

To summarize, he violated the human rights of some Peruvians in the process of largely eradicating the Shining Path. It is likely that some people died who didn't deserve to die. In spite of this, if the article is to be believed, he is today more popular in Peru than the current President.

I would suppose you could find the same sort of support for former dictator Pinochet in Chile, who likewise accomplished good things for the Chilean economy and people while being less than scrupulous about observing human rights. In this behavior we hear the echos of U.S. President Roosevelt imprisoning ethnic Japanese during World War II, or Abraham Lincoln suspending the right of habeus corpus during the American Civil War.

Extreme times demand extreme measures. And yet, none of us want our civil rights infringed. That, in a nutshell, is the dilemma of anti-insurgency. I predict we will continue to grapple with this issue.