Big Problems, Small Progress

The fighting grinds on in El Salvador and Nicaragua

As the political controversy deepened over how the U.S. could best support the government in El Salvador and the rebels in Nicaragua, military professionals were concerned with a basic question: In either case, will the U.S.-backed forces win? The answer: there are grounds for optimism in El Salvador, and pessimism about the CIA-backed contras in Nicaragua.

For the 47 U.S. military advisers in El Salvador, the country's four-year counterinsurgency campaign has mostly been an exercise in frustration. The main reason: the lackluster performance of the...

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