From 1976 to 1983, Washington supported a devastating military dictatorship in Argentina that ran all branches of government, outlawed elections, and encouraged school and business leaders to provide information on subversive people. The administration took control of the police, banned political and union organizations, and tried to eliminate all oppositional elements in the country through harassment, torture, and murder. Journalists, students, and union members faced a particularly large amount of bloody repression, thus ridding the nation of a whole generation of social movement leaders. As was the case in other Latin American countries, the threat of communism and armed guerrilla movements was used as an excuse for Argentina's dictatorial crackdowns. Hundreds of torture camps and prisons were created. Many of the dead were put into mass graves or thrown out of places into the ocean. Five hundred babies of the murdered were given to torturers' families and the assets of the dead totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, were all divided up among the perpetrators of the nightmare. Thirty thousand people were killed in Argentina's repression.
Israel's demonstration of its military prowess in 1967 confirmed its status as a 'strategic asset,' as did its moves to prevent Syrian intervention in Jordan in 1970 in support of the PLO. Under the Nixon doctrine, Israel and Iran were to be 'the guardians of the Gulf,' and after the fall of the Shah, Israel's perceived role was enhanced. Meanwhile, Israel has provided subsidiary services elsewhere, including Latin America, where direct US support for the most murderous regimes has been impeded by Congress. While there has been internal debate and some fluctuation in US policy, much exaggerated in discussion here, it has been generally true that US support for Israel's militarization and expansion reflected the estimate of its power in the region.The effect has been to turn Israel into a militarized state completely dependent on US aid, willing to undertake tasks that few can endure, such as participation in Guatemalan genocide. For Israel, this is a moral disaster and will eventually become a physical disaster as well. For the Palestinians and many others, it has been a catastrophe, as it may sooner or later be for the entire world, with the growing danger of superpower confrontation.