August 17, 2006

Great Moments in Paraguayan History

From the NYT:

Paraguay was an underpopulated backwater the size of California, with a penchant for wars that would swallow its male population in battles of dubious, if operatic, purpose. Among the worst was a disastrous war Paraguay waged simultaneously against Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil from 1865 to 1870, which shrank its population from 525,000 to 221,000 and left the nation with only 28,000 men.

But, looking on the bright side, as Jan and Dean would have sung if they were 19th Century Paraguayans (and weren't dead):

193,000 girls for every 28,000 boys

The obituary continues:

The 1930’s and 40’s were a period of turmoil for Paraguay, which suffered 100,000 dead between 1932 and 1935 in a war with Bolivia over the desolate Chaco region, a swampland that ultimately had none of the mineral resources the two sides imagined were there.

Perhaps the last time Paraguay was in the news was when it was revealed that Doug Feith's initial response to 9/11 was proposing that instead of bombing Afghanistan, we should bomb Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil instead to catch the terrorists off guard. MSNBC reported;

Days after 9/11, a senior Pentagon official lamented the lack of good targets in Afghanistan and proposed instead U.S. military attacks in South America or Southeast Asia as "a surprise to the terrorists," according to a footnote in the recent 9/11 Commission Report. The unsigned top-secret memo, which the panel's report said appears to have been written by Defense Under Secretary Douglas Feith, is one of several Pentagon documents uncovered by the commission which advance unorthodox ideas for the war on terror. The memo suggested "hitting targets outside the Middle East in the initial offensive" or a "non-Al Qaeda target like Iraq," the panel's report states. U.S. attacks in Latin America and Southeast Asia were portrayed as a way to catch the terrorists off guard when they were expecting an assault on Afghanistan.

The memo's content, NEWSWEEK has learned, was in part the product of ideas from a two-man secret Pentagon intelligence unit appointed by Feith after 9/11: veteran defense analyst Michael Maloof and Mideast expert David Wurmser, now a top foreign-policy aide to Dick Cheney. Maloof and Wurmser saw links between international terror groups that the CIA and other intelligence agencies dismissed. They argued that an attack on terrorists in South America—for example, a remote region on the border of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil where intelligence reports said Iranian-backed Hizbullah had a presence—would have ripple effects on other terrorist operations. The proposals were floated to top foreign-policy advisers. But White House officials stress they were regarded warily and never adopted.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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