Dirty Wa, Dirty Secrets

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's September 2001

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Dirty War, Dirty Secrets Throughout the course of history, there have been many documented cases of a government exceeding the scope of their power and entering into inhumane territory to eliminate a group of detractors. One example of the most atrocious and merciless set of acts committed by a branch of the government can be found in the country of Argentina, where the Navy School of Mechanics (ESMA) waged a gruesome campaign of systematic torture and death from 1976 to 1983. The most prevalent form of persecution was to take a small group of "subversives," give them a sedative to knock them out, and transport them to the military airport via a green truck with a canopy. Once at the airport, the prisoners were loaded into an airplane, given another shot, and taken over the ocean, stripped naked, and dropped from the plane.

It seems shocking that the navy and the government were able to keep these flights a secret from the general public.

In his novel, The Flight: Confessions of an Argentine Dirty Warrior, Horacio Verbitsky is able to interview one of these "dirty warriors," Francisco Scilingo, that actually participated in the flights. Through their dialogue, and the information provided throughout the novel, it appears that the government was able to cover-up their secret operations because of the navy's cohesiveness and their ability to control the officers.

Probably the navy's strongest characteristic throughout the "dirty war" was their ability to maintain their poise and control over their operations. They did this through a very distinct method: the ESMA utilized a system of rotation in which all of the officers were to participate in the war against the "subversives." The officers had no options concerning this stipulation, and the only way that an officer was excluded from the...



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