Monday, June 08, 2009

A Salvadoran Resurrection

The following piece was originally published in the Boston Globe on June 1. Charlie Clements forwarded it to me, and I am happy to post it here.

By Charlie Clements
June 1, 2009

SAN SALVADOR. At the Plaza Libertad today, inauguration day of President Mauricio Funes, I will be thinking back to Feb. 28, 1977, when security forces opened fire there on hundreds of unarmed civilians protesting a fraudulent presidential election. Less than a week earlier, Oscar Romero, then considered a priest of the privileged, had been installed as the archbishop of El Salvador.

Vrtually unnoticed by the US press, that massacre prompted the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee to act, leading the first of 17 congressional fact-finding missions to the region. That first mission included a Jesuit priest, Robert Drinan, who was also a member of Congress from Massachusetts. Romero and Drinan celebrated Mass together in the unfinished cathedral, where Romero's decision to halt construction had recently angered the powerful of El Salvador. "Only when peace and justice are established and the hungry are fed, then we can resume building our cathedral," the archbishop explained.


The Rev. Robert Drinan (left) and Archbishop
Oscar Romero (center) during Mass in
El Salvador in 1978. (UUSC Archive)

By 1980, the diocese would document 1,000 Salvadorans a month dying or disappearing at the hands of government-sanctioned death squads. It would take the rape and murder of four American nuns that same year before El Salvador finally came to the attention of most Americans.

Romero's assassination in 1980, as well as the kidnapping, torture, and murder of several civilian leaders of the broad coalition known as the Democratic Revolutionary Front, ended more than a decade of nonviolent social change in El Salvador and marked the beginning of the 12-year armed struggle of the FMLN (Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation).

At the time, I was finishing a family-practice internship in California, where I treated many Salvadoran refugees. The dispatch of helicopters and US military advisers to El Salvador seemed eerily reminiscent of Vietnam and led me to volunteer to care for civilians. From 1981 to 1982 I worked in an area controlled by the FMLN, but was bombed, rocketed, or strafed daily by US-supplied aircraft. In Vietnam, pilots would have called it a "free fire zone."

I returned to the United States, testified in Congress, and traveled around the States, speaking mostly to faith-based audiences. In 1986 I was hired by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee to continue its delegations to the region to help elected leaders understand the brutality abetted by US tax dollars. After a 1988 mission, Representative Connie Morela of Maryland and others began questioning the billions of dollars in US aid to El Salvador. "Is it directed to really helping the development of the country? Or are we just saying that on paper?"

When the war ended in 1992, I was a guest at the ceremony in Chapultepec, Mexico. As the guerrillas and generals signed the peace accords, I cried in relief, having experienced some of the horror of what was about to end. I also cried in sadness, thinking of the tens of thousands of innocent civilian casualties.

Those peace accords allowed the FMLN to form a political party of the same name. With the help of the United Nations and, to a more limited degree, the United States, the struggle, which was always about poverty and privilege, was transformed into a political conflict.
In January, the FMLN won a plurality in the National Assembly, and two months later the presidency. In his victory speech, Funes urged unity and reconciliation; he also committed his government to Romero's "preferential option for the poor."

Funes also said one priority would be to strengthen relations with the United States. The attendance of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at today's ceremony could signal how the United States, under the Obama administration, may be reshaping its relations with the progressive movement in El Salvador and perhaps in Latin America.

Weeks before he was murdered, Romero said, "If they kill me, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people." Many, both here and in the United States, believe that in this election Romero did, indeed, arise - in the ballots of the Salvadoran people. Yesterday, at a Mass in the cavernous, unfinished concrete Metropolitan Cathedral where Romero is buried, I wondered if a time will come, under President Funes, for it to be completed.

Charlie Clements is president and CEO of the Cambridge-based Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and was an Air Force pilot in Vietnam. He is the author of Witness to War, An American Doctor in El Salvador.

61 comments:

Daniel Schmidt said...

What a wonderful op-ed. It's nice to see coverage, albeit late, of the inauguration of Funes and what it means for El Salvador.

Anonymous said...

Tim, your friend, Dr. Charles Clements, is a cowardly and disgusting individual to say the least. He was called to serve his own country during the Vietnam war where he made act of presence in the safety of a noncombatant protester role.

Clements then decides to serve the communist terrorist insurgency in El Salvador, at the Cerro de Guazapa, where he undoubtedly was a direct cause of prolonging the was and contributing to many unnecessary battle casualties.

Now after 30 some years, Clements comes back with articles about some historical massacre in El Salvador that supposedly occurred more than three decades ago, and which hold absolutely no relevancy to our modern day Democracy.

It would be a lot more honest and a lot closer to home for your friend, Clements, to preach about the Mai Lai Massacre in Vietnam or perhaps the massacre at Kent State University. These are historic happenings that are relevant to his his own country.

Dr. Charlie Clements does need not go outside his own borders to find wrenched poverty or despair, and try to feel good about himself by being an angel of mercy toward the poor and downtrodden. Write Clements back and tell him to forget El Salvador, that we're doing just fine with our experiment in Democracy. That If he feels the calling to evangelize or do missionary work, tell him to take a ride down the Mississippi Delta and see close up and personal what poverty and hopelessness is all about in his own, the wealthiest and most powerful county in the world.

Anonymous said...

Son las personas come este metido doctorcito, Clements, que usan y necesitan de sufrimentos ajenos para tratar de aplacar su propio cargo de conciencia.

Todos conocems de sobre el actuar y compartamiento de este doctorcito cuando su propia patria requeria de sus servicios en Indochina

En vez de estarnos molestando, Clements deberia de estar luchando por las 48 milliones de familias en EEUU que no tienen seguro medico, o talvez sintir compasion por los pueblos sufridos de Cuba o Haiti.

En vez de enfocar en una astilla en oyo ajeno, pimero deberia de sacar la estaca del suyo propio.

Anonymous said...

To Dr. Charles Clements:

Why don't you show compasion and concern for injustices in your own country?

The repression of the Native American minorities (who are the only shrinking minority in your ocuntry) constitutes genocide pure and simple. Shame on you!

Your contry has the highest percentage in the world of its people incarcerated, and suffering even sadistic sexual abuse.

The list of crimes and injustices is long, and I'm sure you know and try to avoid each and every one of them.

Anonymous said...

To the above Post:

As a "conscientious objector" Clements did his country a huge disservice in Vietnam. The training, the monies and all the effort spend on this coward and loser all went to naught.

Good men have died in Nam because of your inaction's, Clements. You now present and try to aggrandize your sorry self as a fighter pilot, but we all know your reality don't we.

How can you live with yourelf?

One of Many

HUMAN RIGHTS SUPPORTER said...

ASININE COMMENTARY FROM THE PREVIOUS FOUR "ANONYMOUS" MOUSEKETEERS. MASS MURDERER APOLOGISTS APPARENTLY STICK TOGETHER.


THESE BLOWHARDS SHOULD READ HISTORY EXTENDING BEYOND THE CONFINES OF THEIR JOHN WAYNE MACHO CONCEPTION OF WHITE PEOPLE UBER ALLES, RIDING INTO "INDIAN COUNTRY" IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE TO "KILL 'EM ALL OFF AND LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT."

DR. CLEMENS COMPASSIONATE RESPONSE IN HIS ACTIONS TOWARD SALVADORAN CAMPESINOS IN 1983, IN THE TEETH OF THE FAES AND U.S. MILITARY ADVISORS MASS MURDER CAMPAIGN IN THE SALVADORAN COUNTRYSIDE, DEMONSTRATED HUMANITARIAN CONCERN; THAT CONTRASTS SHARPLY WITH THE PLAINTIVE BLEATINGS OF MASS MURDERER AND IMPERIALIST APOLOGISTS POSTED ON THIS BLOG.

THOSE BLOWHARDS COULDN'T DISTINGUISH BETWEEN A MEMBER OF THE SALVADORAN COMMUNIST PARTY AND A LIBERTARIAN THEOLOGIAN, IF YOU PAID THEM (A PRETTY PENNY, LIKELY WHICH SOME OF THESE BLOWHARDS WERE)!

APOLOGISTS FOR MURDER BASED ON POLITICAL IDEOLOGY (COMMUNIST, LIBERATION THEOLOGY, SOCIAL DEMOCRAT, FPL) OR SOCIAL CLASS (CAMPESINO), OFFER JUSTIFICATIONS FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, AND THEREFORE HAVE LITTLE CREDIBILITY IN INTERNATIONAL LAW, OR MORALLY.

DR. CLEMENS WAS MEDICALLY TREATING CIVILIAN VICTIMS OF AN ILLEGAL FAES MILITARY STRATEGY--UNDER ARTICLE 3 OF THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS.

CLEMENS' HEROISM IN MEDICALLY TREATING THOSE CIVILIANS PERSECUTED AND UNDER FIRE AT GUAZAPA BY U.S. MADE HELICOPTER GUNSHIPS AND U.S. TRAINED RAPID REACTION BATTALIONS (BIRIS) SHOULD BE FOREVER LAUDED!

YOU SEMPER FI AND BIRI "SECUACES" BLOWHARDS GO CRADLE YOUR BARREL, BECAUSE YOU'RE WHISTLING DIXIE!

Anonymous said...

Go find an inner tube and float away to your Cuban paradise. You'll see a lot of people headed the opposite direction, but those are the smart one.

As far as your gringo hero worship, Clements is a trator to his own kind. Vietnam proved that.

And Semper Fi isn't something Semper Foolish would be more appropriate Get it.

Anonymous said...

The above post simply reaffirms my contention that Clemsnts is a turncoat to his country and to his own kind.

Miguel Marmol said...

"Clemens is a turncoat...to his own kind." Do you have a racist implication there sir?

Anonymous said...

To the above Posting:

Aiding, abetting and opening collaborating with the enemy of ones country has nothing to do with racism, and all to to with being a traitor and a turncoat to ones own country and kind.

You may research and remember the murder of unarmed U.S. embassy Marine personnel at the infamous Zona Roja massacre, and also the cold blooded murder of U.S. Army personnel who were assassinated by these same terrorists when their helicopter developed mechanical problems and landed near the Guazapa Volcano. This is the same theater of operations where Charles Clements gave aid and comfort to the terrorist assassins.

I lament that I'm dashing your obvious hopes, but as you can see there is no implication here of racism, but rather a historical accounting of facts that condemn Clements as a coward, a traitor and a turncoat as far back as our involvement in the Vietnam conflict that concluded in 1975.

Grotius said...

Regarding the following:

"You may research and remember the murder of unarmed U.S. embassy Marine personnel at the infamous Zona Roja massacre, and also the cold blooded murder of U.S. Army personnel who were assassinated by these same terrorists when their helicopter developed mechanical problems and landed near the Guazapa Volcano. This is the same theater of operations where Charles Clements gave aid and comfort to the terrorist assassins."

1985 San Salvador was a war zone for FAES and FMLN personnel. The Reagan Administration's construction at the time of Marine deaths at FMLN hands as a human rights violation, was a public relations achievement worth noting, but mistaken--since military combatants are not provided with a free pass in a war zone, even if they are at a swanky watering hole watching girlie shows. Sorry, they lost their lives, but under humanitarin law, full-time soldiers may be considered as such, even off-base and without weapons. The Geneva Conventions are pretty explicit about this.

The Marine deaths, far from human rights violations, were executed as legitamate acts of war against military elements of a co-belligerent, ie., the US, which chose sides with a widely despised, murderous military/security force regimen, against which the FMLN, as a legitimate political force and recognized belligerent, was fighting. Arming to the teeth and financing the Salvadoran military to carry out its bloody reprisals against the Salvadoran civilian population, did not help relations with the FMLN.

As for the law of armed conflict, analagously, dropping mortars on sleeping soldiers and killing them in their skivies, weaponless, (FMLN's various 4th Infantry Brigade assaults, as examples) likewise would not be considered a war crime. They would be caught unawares, just as the Marines were.

As for the downed copter pilots, just because their darling little machine was felled from the sky, made them no less belligerents; the details are vague, but if they fought their putative captors, resulting return fire would have been legitimate under the laws of war. If they were hors de combat, their execution by FMLN members would constitute a violation of the laws of war. If CIA operatives manned the flight, there might be more of a grey area.

Did the US ever make a "declaration of war" against the FMLN? No. In fact, U.S. personnel were prohibited by the U.S. Congress from engaging in combat, since U.S. were "trainers" and "advisors," were putatively attempting to wean the Salvadoran military from their flagrant violations of the laws of war. On balance the 70,000 civilian deaths by the FAES/death squads/security forces would appear to show that the students learned little from their overseers, other than duplicity, which their commander-in-chief Reagan inculcated.

The deaths you cite happened long after Clement's was gone from Guazapa.

If you bothered to read his book, he provided medical care to civilians in the Guazapa zone.

Anonymous said...

To the above post,

And I repeat, aiding and abetting, and giving comfort to terrorists who are recognized and admitted enemies of ones own country constitutes the despicable act of a traitor and shameless turncoat.

In Vietnam, Clements might as well have been treating the Viet Cong, as his cowardly status of "conscientious objector" led to the deaths of countless honorable Americans who served with distinction and bravery.

Although Clements' crimes against his nation happened 30 or 40 years ago, to his compatriots who served with honor, his hideous actions will never prescribe.

!Dr. Begoña García Arandigoyen Que Viva! said...

To the above post:

To set the record straight, Dr. Clements served as an Air Force pilot in Vietnam, during the Vietnam war. After he served his tour of duty, he left the service and earned his medical degree.

I don't believe he requested "conscientious objector" status during the Vietnam War--nor would it have been offered, since he had already killed who knows how many Vietnamese in aerial bombardments.

The implication that his activities providing medical treatment to Salvadoran civilians someehow helped prolong that country's civil war, could only fit in the mind of a person who recognizes no distinction between civilian and combatant and who is prepared to withhold medical care from those in need in time of war, both violations of the Geneva Conventions.

You appear to fit that description, sir.


Your allegations against Dr. Clements are baseless.

Anonymous said...

To the above post that states: I don't believe he requested "conscientious objector" status during the Vietnam War"

What you may believe or don't believe are completely irrelevant and senseless issues to this reality.

What part of "Clements is a shameless traitor to his country" don't your understand.

Anonymous said...

The Post is correct,

Clements: If you collaborate and give comfort to the admitted enemies of your country, and you aid and abet know terrorist assassins of unarmed United States Marine embassy guards, you are a traitor.

Live with it, but we'll never forget your treachery.

Anonymous said...

Gross statement of Grotius:

"The Marine deaths, far from human rights violations, were executed as legitimate acts of war against military elements of a co-belligerent, ie., the US, which chose sides with a widely despised, murderous military/security force regimen, against which the FMLN, as a legitimate political force and recognized belligerent, was fighting. Arming to the teeth and financing the Salvadoran military to carry out its bloody reprisals against the Salvadoran civilian population, did not help relations with the FMLN".

For your information, the only legitimate force in El Salvador during that country's civil war, was the military arm of the elected government of that country who was fighting a terrorist threat from murderers of innocents, bank robbers, and known kidnappers and assassins of honest citizens.

The cold blooded murder of unarmed U.S. Marine Embassy guards at the Zona Rosa sidewalk cafe, was the typical cowardly act of these gutter terrorists. Vestiges of these killers are currently active in the naive Funes government, and it is Funes himself who is now seriously at risk from these same assassins that now surround him. Realizing his dangber, Funes has tried to placate the nefarious ambitions of these aged terrorists by handing out jobs and quota posts to them in his new cabinet.

But that's Funes' problem, and as I was saying, Clements is the traitor who collaborated and gave comfort to these hyena terrorist cess pool scum.

Personally, I pity the innocent victim Salvadoreans who haven't realized that they are in the den of rabid wolves.

Mister Bigote said...

What a shame. Anonymous is still fighting the Vietnam war. He says,"What part of "Clements is a shameless traitor to his country" don't your understand?" What part of "get over it" don't you understand?
It is our obligation as citizens to oppose immoral actions conducted by our government.
Anonymous choses to brand the FMLN as terrorists for killing US Marines, but overlooks the government troops rape and murder of American nuns. I suppose they too were traitors. There is also the murders of the Jesuit priests at UCA. 3/4 of the known participants were trained at the school of the Americas at Fort Benning, GA. And let's not forget El Mozote, most of the hundreds dead were killed by the Atlacatl battalion, again trained at the SOA. Of course these are just the most notorious atrocities committed by government troops, all of which I believe would qualify as immoral. The US government supported and supplied the perpetrators. It is the duty of US citizens to stand up and oppose such actions wherever the may exist, or at the very least help mitigate the damage.

Anonymous said...

News for "Mr. Bigote's" above post:

The following information is common knowledge, but since you choose to ignore historical fact and for the sake of honesty, I'll attempt clarity events once again for you. But please remember that the worst blind man is the one who doesn't want to see. In this case, that would obviously be referring to you.

First of all, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but U.S. combat troops never participated in your Mickey Mouse civil war. That was more a police action of your legally elected government and some terrorist insurgent thugs. Your military never asked for nor did they ever need active U.S. combat ground forces. Get it!

Second point, and regarding Clements and the Vietnam conflict, I'm certainly not fighting that war all over again (I wasn't even born then) but rather I only mention Vietnam because that when Clements declared his cowardice as "conscientious objector" to remain in the safety of the sidelines while his fellow countrymen did the fighting and the dying in his stead.

Thirdly, and during the Salvadoreans little war, Clements acted as traitor by admittedly aiding and abetting the admitted enemy of his own country.

The U.S. and Salvador are allies, and as such we assisted the friendly Salvadorean government with courses in military tactics and logistics for officers and enlisted men at the School of the Americas. We maintain active programs for military personnel from all over the world at our many training facilities.

Forth point, as for any specific battles or confrontations between your government forces and the terrorists, I imagine that there were many battles and skirmishes during the course of the fighting. And I'm also sure that innocents were undoubtedly caught in the middle of fire fights and killed. That is one of the major draw-backs of irregular warfare, there is always unwanted collateral damage and people get hurt. That's what happens in war, and that's why unnecessary wars such as yours was so stupid.

History has shown that no one "wins" a war. War tends to only produce more misery and nothing is really resolved. This becomes obvious with your own little war and the corresponding peace accords. Nothing was accomplished, and only Democracy and Democratic principles were what continued to grow and flourish in your impoverished country.

The peaceful transfer of power in the recent Salvadorean elections serve as irrefutable proof that Democracy is the way to progress and development. This is what the U.S.A. stands for and this is our motivation in the world today.

Hopefully, Mr. Bigote, you'll find this minuscule review of reality useful to you.

Anonymous said...

Tim, bringing up this Romero thing is a very poorly charged political scheme to condone the fact that the FMLN were the first ones to initiate this conflict. Had Cuba and Nicaragua not stuck their noses where it did not belong we would not have been in that war. Also please be aware that religion has no place in politics and although I admired the man myself as well, I strongly feel that he should have not engaged in political affairs. I will remember him for his bravery to do gods work, but will never bring him into politics as this Funes character is doing. That is just shameful.

Anonymous said...

It's so true, that Dr. Charles Clements was and continues to be a coward and worse yet, a traitor.

I wonder how many sons and daughters were lost because of his inaction and cowardice.

Mrs. Louis Figueroa

Anonymous said...

Religion and politics don't mix.

Liberation Theology was a loony Brazilian priest's brainchild that was obviously rejected by Rome. Any priest who insisted on following that flawed and silly doctrine became a renegade as was made evidently clear during the Papal visit to Nicaragua.

This was just another of those goofy things that seem to happen and pop out throughout history.

Anonymous said...

Humans have long been known for their stupidity and petty squables

Pesky reality is that the World Health Organization (WHO) is on the verge of declaring the first influenza pandemic in more than 40 years, but wants to ensure countries are well prepared to prevent a panic, its top flu expert said on Tuesday.

Keiji Fukuda, acting WHO assistant director-general, voiced concern at the sustained spread of the new H1N1 strain -- including more than 1,000 cases in Australia -- following major outbreaks in North America, where it emerged in April.

Confirmed community spread in a second region beyond North America would trigger moving to phase 6 -- signifying a full-blown pandemic -- from the current phase 5 on the WHO's 6-level pandemic alert scale.

"The situation has really evolved a lot over the past several days. We are getting really very close to knowing that we are in a pandemic situation, or I think, declaring that we are in a pandemic situation," Fukuda told a teleconference.

Fukuda said a move to phase 6 would reflect the geographic spread of the new disease.

"It does not mean that the severity of the situation has increased or that people are getting seriously sick at higher numbers or higher rates than they are right now," he said.

A decision to declare a pandemic involved more than simply making an announcement, he said. The United Nations agency had to ensure that countries were able to deal with the new situation and also handle any public reaction.

As an initial reaction to the threat, Salvadorean schools have been ordered to close for at least a week. And the music plays on.

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Anonymous said...

Funes was right when he said in the campaign that he was going to break the cycle of poverty for the Salvadoreans.

So far, it looks like he hit the ground running as ha already has a mansion in the swakiest part of town, and if you notice he's even gaining weight. And for a Latin, to get fat, well that's a dead giveaway that he's now eating fried food and not just the boiled stuff any loonger.

This people in their simplicity and inherent poverty are just so very predictable. They start getting fat, sucking their teeth, buying an SUV and they star baring and showing their big bellies. I think it's a kind of a prestige thing for them.

Mr Bigote said...

I can't believe the ignorance and blatant racism being displayed here.

Please tell me the person who posted this,"Lynda, I suppose you read where these people are natural born thieves,and if it's not nailed down, they'll steal it.", was joking.

That someone believes this is beyond sad. "Liberation Theology was a loony Brazilian priest's brainchild that was obviously rejected by Rome."

I guess 70-80 thousand Salvadoreans died for nothing. The opinions displayed here are a true tragedy.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

In response to, Part Time Jobs Online said...
Indian Free Classifieds :


It's a shame that you came on late, the guys who do all the gun runnifor the FARC terrorists are the FMLN perople awaiting criminal injuctions.

I'm sure things will really start popping now that the FMLN has a hand in the cocaine corridor running through Salvador. Patience is the name of the game.

How does that old saying go? "El que nunca a tenido y llega a tener, loco se va volver." Yeah, that's it!

Anonymous said...
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Rutilio Grande said...

You Clueless Militarist Blowhard Apologists for Salvadoran Mass Murder out there (and racists to boot), here's Dr. Clements biography, as posted by the Physicians for Human Rights:

Imagine non-violence, not your reveries of mass-murder from behind the gun-sight of a 50 caliber of an AC-130 gunship!

"Dr. Charlie Clements

“Our activism is fueled by the belief that we have the potential to recognize rights, to correct wrongs, to find solutions...and to make the world a better place.”

A distinguished graduate of the Air Force Academy and pilot in SE Asia, Charlie Clements was used to following orders. But when he was ordered to fly missions in support of the invasion of Cambodia, he knew he had to say no. At that point, his life took a dramatic turn. Raised with the notion of a life of service, he decided to apply the life-changing lessons about the consequences of war in the service of medicine. Dr. Clements’ distinguished medical career has focused on war, human rights, public health and humanitarian needs of civilian populations in conflict zones. He assisted a 1989 PHR medical delegation to investigate allegations of violence against health care workers in El Salvador, and went on to establish the International Commission on Medical Neutrality. He traveled twice to Turkey to investigate allegations of torture there. In 1997, Dr. Clements represented PHR at the signing ceremony of the Mine Ban Treaty in Ottawa, Canada, and at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Oslo, Norway. In 2003 he took part in a PHR investigation in Iraq just prior to the US invasion to study the impact of the then-impending war on Iraq’s public health infrastructure. His reports from internet cafes in Baghdad were widely covered in the press. A public health physician, Dr. Clements has been a persistent advocate for expanding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to include the right to clean water. He is author of Witness to War, which chronicles his journey of conscience from a pilot in Vietnam to a physician in rural El Salvador, and was the basis for the Academy Award winning documentary film of the same name.

Dr. Clements is President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. He is a long-time board member, past president, and current advisor to PHR."

Anonymous said...

Here's another bio about Dr. Clements from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee web site:

Charlie Clements
Staff Rights Aloud speaker Executive

Charlie Clements is a well-known human rights activist and public health physician. Throughout the years, Clements has faced several moral dilemmas that shaped his life. As a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Academy who had flown more than 50 missions in the Vietnam War, he decided the war was immoral and refused to fly missions in support of the invasion of Cambodia. Later, as a newly trained physician, he chose to work in the midst of El Salvador's civil war, where the villages he served were bombed, rocketed, or strafed by some of the same aircraft in which he had previously trained.

For two years in the late 1980s, Clements served as director of human rights education at UUSC, leading a number of congressional fact-finding delegations to Central America. In 1997, as president of Physicians for Human Rights, he participated both in the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and the treaty signing for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Clements is author of Witness to War (Bantam) and subject of an Academy Award-winning documentary of the same title.

Masferrer said...

Hey, anonymous blowhard who claims to know something of El Salvador's history, listen up!

"... was more a police action of your legally elected government and some terrorist insurgent thugs. Your military never asked for nor did they ever need active U.S. combat ground forces. "

Get real buddy, the FAES and the GOES received one millon dollars every day for twelve years; the U.S. Congress prohibited combat troops, but that didn't prevent the US Military group from illegally sending out "advisors" with FAES units to oversee mass killing expeditions. Read Mark Danner's "El Mozote" about how US military advisors have a "wink and a nod" to the massacre of close to 1000 campesinos in Morazan in late 1981. Happily the School of the Americas trained butcher who directed the massacre, Cnl. Domingo Monterrosa was killed by the FMLN later.

"Second point, ...Clements declared his cowardice as "conscientious objector" to remain in the safety of the sidelines while his fellow countrymen did the fighting and the dying in his stead."

Hey buddy, Clements refused to fly more missions after the US ILLEGALY bombed Cambodia. The 5 years of US Cambodia bombing bombing is estimated to have killed between 200,000 and 650,000, helping to trigger the rise of the genocidal Pol Pot regimen.

"Thirdly, and during the Salvadoreans little war, Clements acted as traitor by admittedly aiding and abetting the admitted enemy of his own country."

This is the most ludicrous thing on this blog. This is how the US nuns who raped and murdered by the Salvadoran National Guard, were perceived, due to allegations that the nuns provided humitarian aid to internally displaced Salvadorans. Do you agree with the rape and murder of nuns since if our allies did it, its OK, you moral cretin!

"The U.S. and Salvador are allies, and as such we assisted
...with courses in military tactics and logistics for officers and enlisted men at the School of the Americas."

The US got sucked into supporting the Salvadoran state repressive apparatus. The US was complicit in the deaths of tens of thousands of Salvadran deaths of non-combatants, deaths which were facilitated by School of the Americas training which taught officers to violate the Geneva Conventions, when engaged in so-called "internal security." Landless and immiserated rural folk, mistreated for decades by a rural "security forces" such as the National Guard, Treasury Police, and National Police, and ORDEN decided to defend themselves against repression. About the reasons for the Salvadoran Civil War, I suggest James Dunkerly's "The Long War", not the tendentious goobledy gook spoon-fed you jarheads at your badly named "war colleges".

"Forth point, ... And I'm also sure that innocents were undoubtedly caught in the middle of fire fights and killed. That is one of the major draw-backs of irregular warfare, there is always unwanted collateral damage and people get hurt. That's what happens in war, and that's why unnecessary wars such as yours was so stupid."

The stupidity was the US' dozen year involvement in supporting a despised army and security forces in a country whose people had had enough of abuses of their human rights.

As Archbishop Oscar Romero put it:

"La Iglesia, defensora de los derechos de Dios, de la Ley de Dios, de la dignidad humana, de la persona, no puede quedarse callada ante tanta abominación. En nombre de Dios, pues, y en nombre de este sufrido pueblo, cuyos lamentos suben hasta el cielo cada día más tumultuosos, les suplico, les ruego, les ordeno en nombre de Dios: Cese la represión". (Homilía dominical, 23 de marzo de 1980)

Anonymous said...

Misfiring "Masferrer"

You continue talking about your Mickey Mouse war with a bunch of terrorist thugs of years past.

But then, let me again respond to your simpleton arguments and banal recollections.

For your information, as a military to military gesture of friendship, we maintain trainers and advisers in many countries. You see, we are the sole world superpower and we have the most technologically advanced weapons systems, so of course our advisers are needed for training, Etc. We maintain friendly relations with almost every country in the world.

We give economic aid, and both technical and military assistance all over the world. We are universally considered as the most generous people in the world, and our assistance is requested and gladly given on an ongoing basis.

If military aid to your tiny country was only a meer one million dollars a day, it's only because you are a small country that was involved in a local police action and more was not necessary. You see, we usually give aid in the hundreds of millions, so obviously your small conflict was not considered as important as you seem to think it was. The dollar amount of our aid is self explanatory.

From your comments, it becomes clear that you don't seem to understand your own country's limitations. Salvador is simply a tiny poverty stricken country without natural resources nor any world implications worth mentioning. Your biggest export is your own people trying to reach the U.S.A. And your principle source of foreign hard currency is the family remitances sent from the U.S.A.

Salvador as so many other third world countries needs urgent help from the wealthier industrialized countries, and President Barack Obama has said as much. In a statement to all Latin American leaders, he said that the U.S.A. was certainly willing to maintain honest, positive and respectful relationship with all Latin America, but that Latin America needs to get beyond the victim mentality of blaming others for its own situation and condition.

The problem now is, that because of the murderers and terrorists in your current government, it is illegal for Congress to allot monies and assistance. But I hope that Congress and Barack Obama can find a way to sidestep this issue.

I can only imagine with dread the wild stampede of Salvadoreans trying to break down our border wall if the terrorists in your government ever take the reins. For the moment, only Funes stand between them and the power they dream of.

Regarding killings and massacres in your Mickey Mouse war, civilian casualties in war are tragic but collateral damage in war is always a reality. And in your little war specifically, you yourself must know the idiosyncrasy of your own countrymen. After all, you are the murder capital of the world. And the bigger the ignorance of a population, the bigger the crimes. So, as you can see, violence and the lack of respect for the rights of others is and has always been an integral part of your national nature. This is your problem.

A most recent "unsolved" massacre comes to mind, when some idiot compatratiot of yours assassinates in cold blood two unarmed boys and then runs over their mother, simply because of a parking lot argument. Everyone knows who the killer is, but neither he nor his girlfriend are in custody. So please, have a little self dignity and don't be blaming others for the sorry human beings that you are.

In closing, religion and politics don't mix, and you mix these at your peril.

Clements aided and abetted the enemy, he comforted known terrorists. And he cowardly sidelined himself as "conscientious objector" to let his fellow countrymen do the fighting and the dying in his stead. Accordingly, Clements is a shameless traitor pure and simple.

As for the present, Mauricio Funes needs to watch his back at all times. He naively placed himslef in a den of vipers who would love nothing better than to get him out of their way to power.

Anonymous said...

"Masferrer" states

"The US got sucked into supporting the Salvadoran state repressive apparatus. The US was complicit in the deaths of tens of thousands of Salvadran deaths of non-combatants, deaths which were facilitated by School of the Americas training which taught officers to violate the Geneva Conventions, when engaged in so-called "internal security." Landless and immiserated rural folk, mistreated for decades by a rural "security forces" such as the National Guard, Treasury Police, and National Police, and ORDEN decided to defend themselves against repression. About the reasons for the Salvadoran Civil War, I suggest James Dunkerly's "The Long War", not the tendentious goobledy gook spoon-fed you jarheads at your badly named "war colleges"."


OMG what a load of ignorant stupidity!

You are so full of "it" that I bet your eyes are that conspicuous colored brown

You obviously have no idea of what you're talking about, but your hatred of these U.S.A. is very evident. Hopefully National Security is monitoring these posts and will follow-up on those who clearly support terrorism.

Creeps like you talk a lot but do not have the courage to follow your convictions and go to Cuba. I say "Cuba" because it's close and you can get there in an inner tube; that's how millions of Cubans get here.

naseous

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with the above, that all these hate America types leaching off our country should be investigated.

Polin said...

To Misfiring Masferrer:

As usual, lots of breast-beating interventionist rationalizations about how we just happened to be asked by our neighbor in a little internal domestic dispute, and how did we know there were mass graves in the backyard!
That sort of pettifoggery won't cut it pal.

Banal rhymes with anal, and that is apparently your historical perspective pal,...very constricted.

As for Dr. Clements, I would take him over John Wahglstein, James Steele, Elliott Abrams, Deane Hinton,and other rationalizers of the mass-killing of civilians by their "students", any day.

Your implied threat (see below), however, reveals your true colors, Anonymous, as a murderer wannabe of those prelates who dare to speak truth to power: SHAME ON YOU!

"In closing, religion and politics don't mix, and you mix these at your peril."


As a riposte to your asinine remark, here, further quotes from Archbishop Oscar Romero:


"When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises" (8/6/78).

"I will not tire of declaring that if we really want an effective
end to violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root
of all violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion
of citizens from the management of the country, repression. All
this is what constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest
flows naturally." September 23, 1979.

Anonymous said...

Church and State should never mix. This became an accepted reality in Mexico, we all should know that history.

As the Boss said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is Gods." Now that's pretty simple don't you agree?

By the way, why are you here and not in Cuba. Innertubes here are plentiful.

Anonymous said...

I agree and it is absolutely clear that the terrorist doctor Clements is a traitor to his country.

Check definitions of "traitor" in any dictionary.

Oh, and what was dumb priest's name who was shot along with his terrorist cell buddies by what was called "Tanques de Holanda?" As I read the account, I thought to myself that if this moron wanted to be a terrorist, he shouldn't have been hiding under his russ as priest.

Anonymous said...
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POLYCARPIO said...

"Religion and politics don't mix," is a nice platitude, except when it is routinely ignored by those who espouse it (who are happy to mix religion and politics if the subject is abortion, gay marriage, or anything other than "social justice"). Religion and politics DO mix, and ARE inextricably mixed. That's why Pope John Paul II shared a seat with the superpowers. That's why Pope Benedict went to Gaza and declared his support for a "two-state solution" to the Arab-Israeli crisis. That's why Jesus, a Jewish rabbi living in Roman-occupied Judea, was executed by a coalition of religious and political authorities.

Having said that, I am made extremely uncomfortable by the triumphalist rhetoric that declares that Romero has been "resurrected" in Funes. One recent article I read even claimed that Funes looked like Romero -- as if the writer halfway suspected that it actually WAS Romero who had assumed the government. Let's see how Funes governs, and then see if he's anything like Romero.

I'm glad that Funes is inspired by Romero; that's very encouraging, and it commends Funes very well that he should admire Romero. But as Dagoberto Gutierrez said, Romero is "the most valiant, the most marvelous, and the most universal" symbol we have, and until proven otherwise, Funes is just a man, a politician, who became president. We've had an election, not an apotheosis.

Octavio said...

Right On Polycarpio!

Misfired Masferrer writer should sign up as a congressional aide to Congressperson Dana Rohrbacher. He apparently could use jackasses.

Anonymous said...

Polycarpio ageees, that

"Religion and politics don't mix,"

Yes, it is a nice platitude that not only religion and politics "Don't mix but shouldn't be mixed".

That Funes is religious and believes in something other than himself is a human trait that's more common that coca cola. Big deal, give that man a doggy biscut.

Simple.

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Anonymous said...
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SAY NO TO PREJUDICE! said...

Tim,

Can we remove the neo-Nazi skinheads that appear to be littering this blog?

Thanks!

Tim said...

Yes.

Mr Bigote said...

Thank you Tim.
Also thanks for your work in maintaining this blog.

MARIANELLA GARCIA VILLAS said...

For you jarheads and semper fis out there wanting to deport Salvadoran "terrorists" from the U.S. here's a short list:

1) Nicolas Carranza, former vice minister of defense and Treasury Police chief, convicted of Crimes Against Humanity in a Memphis, TN courtroom. THROW HIM OUT!

2) Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, former Defense Minister and National Guard chief, and all around pretty-boy "military reformer" for the US lap-dog media in the early 80s', convicted of command responsibility for torture in the HQ of the Salvadoran National Guard in a US courtroom, Palm Beach, FL. THROW HIM OUT!

3) Jose Guillermo Garcia, fomer Defense Minister, convicted of command responsibiity for torture in a US courtroom, Palm Beach, FL.
THROW HIM OUT1

I invite all jarheads and semper fi-types to join in the call for the expulsion from the US of these "terrorist" Geveva Convention and human rights violators.
Call your congresspersons to sign on to legislation to do so being written by Senators Durbin and Coburn (bipartisan).

Can we make common cause, gentlemen?

Anonymous said...

Yes! I agree with the above post.

Throw out all those damned illegal aliens who come here and break our laws. We don't want them, but they just don't get it and keep on coming. Homeland Security needs to monitor all this extremist Blogs and isolate the terrorists and gangs. They are a threat to our entire way of life and to our freedoms. Kick'm all out!

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Anonymous said...

"We are universally considered as the most generous people" Why did you have to go and lose all credibility with a comment like that?

Anonymous said...

"a small country that was involved in a local police action" Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh would be very impressed with you

Anonymous said...

Polycarpio, very well said.

Anonymous said...

"a small country that was involved in a local police action"

Isn't it a bitch when you realize you are completely irrelevant.

Hey, and you left out Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin.

But I would have preferred all our American heros who have made this county the greatest country in the world.

Or why do you think you decided to come here and not Cuba or some other rat hole. Let me guess.

Anonymous said...

Menos mas que los muertos no reviven. Con una sola despedia basta!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

The U.S. is thee greatest country in the world in spite of Palin, Cheney, Coulter, Bush, Rove, and Limbaugh.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Apparently a lot of opinions are being removed by Tim.

But does anyone really care what the Blog Administrator doesn't like and removes from his Blog. This is Tim's Blog, and if he gets his jollies and only accepts one sided radical Marxist rhetoric, so be it.

If you don't like it, start your own Blog. It's basically BS anyway

Anonymous said...

In spite of all the "hate America" rhetoric and envy, the U.S.A. is the greatest country that has ever existed. And that's why everyone wants to come here, no matter what, with hope in their eyes and a desire to be free of the languishing poverty and repression that they have known in whatever cess pool they come from.

Just ask any illegal alien why he/she is here.