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Encyclopedia > Doctrine of the two demons

Teoría de los dos demonios (Spanish, "theory of the two demons") is a rhetorical device used in Argentine political discourse to disqualify arguments that appear to morally equate violent political subversion with illegal repressive activities carried out by the state. St. ... Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is the art or technique of persuasion, usually through the use of language. ... A political argument is an instance of a logical argument applied to politics. ... Subversion is an overturning or uprooting. ... A state is a set of institutions that possesses the exclusive legitimate authority to make the rules that govern the people in one or more societies, having internal and external sovereignty over a definite territory. ...


Since the end of National Reorganization Process and the Dirty War, when guerrilla groups (mainly left-wing Peronist Montoneros and the Trotskyist Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo or ERP) were persecuted by the armed forces (together with law enforcement agencies and paramilitary groups), this term has been in wide use by people mainly in human rights movements, the political left, and former guerrilla members and supporters. These people argue that a national state, even one controlled by a de facto government, cannot be compared to a guerrilla or other subversive group, the difference being precisely that a national state is assumed to be a guarantee for ethical law enforcement, including the use of repressive violence (when needed) in a lawful way. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Dirty War. ... Dirty War (in Spanish: Guerra Sucia) refers to a program of a state-sponsored war on domestic citizens in response to strikes, social unrest, violence or subversion that is claimed to threaten a countrys stability. ... Look up guerrilla in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Left-Right politics. ... Peronism (Spanish: Peronismo), or Justicialism (Spanish: Justicialismo), is an Argentine political ideology based on the ideas and programs associated with former president Juan Perón. ... Official logo of Montoneros The Movimiento Peronista Montonero was an Argentinian radical leftist nationalist-catholic guerrilla group, active during the 1970s. ... Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. ... ERP Flag The Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (ERP) was the military branch of the PRT (Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores, or Workers Revolutionary Party) in Argentina. ... The armed forces of a state are its government sponsored defense and fighting forces and organizations. ... For the band, see The Police. ... A paramilitary organization is a group of civilians trained and organized in a military fashion. ...


People employ the term "theory of the two demons" accusing other of professing it. Among the accused are journalists and other personalities who plead to support "national reconciliation", sometimes appealing to the Christian idea of "forgive and forget". These people are sometimes felt to have hidden agendas. Since the image of the military has been deeply tarnished by human rights abuses, economic chaos and the Falklands War defeat, accusers claim that advocates of right-wing repression must resort to reconciliation rhetoric, because a plain admission of support would disqualify them in the eyes of most Argentinians. This article is becoming very long. ... Combatants United Kingdom Argentina Casualties 258 killed [5] 777 wounded 59 taken prisoner 649 killed 1,068 wounded 11,313 taken prisoner The Falklands War (Spanish: ) was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. ...


As nobody actually owns up to overtly endorsing this "theory", it can be said that this rhetorical device (its currency in the political debate notwithstanding) is actually a type of straw man argument. A straw man, or straw person, argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponents position. ...

Contents

Background

Starting with the kidnapping and assassination of former de facto President Pedro Aramburu by the Montoneros in 1969, armed violence by left-wing groups increased. Some argued for the legitimacy of armed struggle on one or more of the following arguments: Pedro Eugenio Aramburu Cilveti (1903-1970) was a former president of Argentina. ... 1969 (MCMLXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ...

  • Argentina was under a military dictatorship.
  • The government outlawed political parties and persecuted all forms of dissent, sometimes through violent means.
  • Juan Perón, the leader of a vast mass of Argentinians, was in exile and forbidden from re-entering the political arena.

The Cuban revolution lent a romantic aura to armed struggle, and many young people found themselves sympathizing with the guerillas or with left-wing Peronist organizations such as Juventud Peronista (JP), which had a radicalized wing named Tendencia Revolucionaria ("Revolutionary Tendency", sometimes shortened to La Tendencia) which was subject to Montoneros' influence. A military dictatorship is a form of government wherein the political power resides with the military; it is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military. ... A political party is an organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ... Juan Domingo Perón (October 8, 1895 – July 1, 1974) was an Argentine soldier and politician, elected three times as President of Argentina and serving from 1946 to 1955 and from 1973 to 1974. ...


It can be argued that none of these groups attempted to terrorize the general populace through random violence. On the other hand, these groups were responsible for thousands of bombings and hundreds of incidental deaths, as well as kidnappings of non-government personnel for ransom.[citation needed] Specifically, Montoneros killed visible persons who were not guilty of violence against the people (such as the architect of democratic transition Arturo Mor Roig and labor union leader José Rucci), and some operations against the military resulted in the death of drafted soldiers with no responsibility on the political crimes of their superiors. Terrorist redirects here. ... A union (labor union in American English; trade union, sometimes trades union, in British English; either labour union or trade union in Canadian English) is a legal entity consisting of employees or workers having a common interest, such as all the assembly workers for one employer, or all the workers...


Justification for the criticism

Many have condemned the violence of the guerrilla radical groups (the ends, the means, or both), but feel that the atrocities committed by the armed forces and their associates during the Dirty War that started on 1976 have a different moral status, since the Argentine state under the armed forces dictatorship sought to terrorize the citizenry by means of kidnapping and forced disappearance of persons without trial or recourse of habeas corpus. 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... A forced disappearance occurs when an organization forces a person to vanish from public view, either by murder or by simple sequestration. ... In common law countries, habeas corpus (/heɪbiəs kɔɹpəs/), Latin for you [should] have the body, is the name of a legal instrument or writ by means of which detainees can seek release from unlawful imprisonment. ...


The main criticism of the state's measures, as mentioned above, is that a national state is expected to enforce the law and respect human rights, even when repressing violent criminals that do not show such respect. Moreover, Argentine state terrorism included the illegal arrest and disappearance of high-school students asking for a rebate in public transportation, nuns who assisted the poor, and persons who happened to be on a guerrilla's telephone list. State terrorism is a controversial term (see:State terrorism. ...


After the restoration of democracy

The Argentine military and other people have expressed different opinions on the Dirty War. A few among the military involved have conceded that their actions were morally wrong and unjustifiable. A number of them have fully acknowledged their commitment and expressed no regrets. A third group refers to the crimes of the military as "excesses", implying that the country was in fact undergoing a war, with two sides fighting for different goals, so that certain objectionable outcomes were inevitably bound to occur, "as in all wars".


Democratic forces were united in their criticism of the military in the run-up to the restoration of democracy in 1983, while the alleged crimes of leftist organizations were never addressed. However, less than three months after the inauguration of President Raúl Alfonsín, several critiques of Montoneros arouse from the democratic spectrum. Firstly, Montoneros, la soberbia armada (ISBN 950-37-0018-3), a book written by the leftist journalist Pablo Giussani, that compared Montoneros to European extreme-left terror organizations. Then, a comprehensive and documented effort by British historian Richard Gillespie titled Montoneros, Soldados de Perón was widely read and contributed to cement a non-romantic image of Montoneros. Juan José Sebreli invested a whole chapter of his Los deseos imaginarios del peronismo (ISBN 950-37-0018-3) to Montoneros, calling it "left-wing fascism". A few years later, Silvia Sigal and Eliseo Verón deconstructed the (verbal) opposition between Perón and Montoneros in the third section of Perón o muerte. Los fundamentos discursivos del fenómeno peronista. Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín (born 13 March 1927) is an Argentine politician, who was the President of Argentina from 10 December 1983 to 9 July 1989. ... Fascism (IPA: ) is a radical political ideology that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, nationalism, militarism, anti-liberalism and anti-communism. ...


Alfonsín put the military juntas on trial, and prosecuted Montoneros leaders as well. Under the Alfonsín administration, a state committee inquired into the disappearances. When its report was delivered to the government, the Interior Minister, Antonio Tróccoli, gave a speech equating Dirty War criminals and terrorists that was criticized by the leftist and Peronist opposition as an exponent of the "doctrine of the two demons". The Juicio a las Juntas (Spanish, Trial of the Juntas) was the judicial trial of the members of the de facto military government that ruled Argentina during the dictatorship of the Proceso de Reorganización Nacional, which lasted from 1976 to 1983. ... The Comisión Nacional sobre la Desaparición de Personas (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, CONADEP) was an Argentine organism created by President Raúl Alfonsín on December 15, 1983, shortly after his inauguration to investigate the fate of the desaparecidos and other human rights violations (see...


In 1988–1989, President Carlos Menem pardoned both the military commanders and the guerilla leaders. Carlos Saúl Menem (born July 2, 1930) was President of Argentina from July 8, 1989 to December 10, 1999 for the Justicialist Party (Peronist). ... A pardon is the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it. ...


After taking office in 2003, the Néstor Kirchner administration has shifted the focus towards the uncovering and punishment of crimes of the Dirty War, including those formerly covered by the now-repealed amnesty laws passed in the mid-1980s. In August 2005, a judge struck Menem's pardons as unconstitutional, and a definitive pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the matter is expected soon.  , full name Néstor Carlos Kirchner Ostoic (born 25 February 1950), was sworn in as President of Argentina on May 25, 2003. ... The Supreme Court of Argentina (in Spanish, Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación) is the highest court of law of the Argentine Republic. ...


The CONADEP report

In 1984, the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP) published a report titled Nunca Más (Never Again) with extensive research about instances of forced disappearance during the dictatorship. It started with a prologue which read: "During the 1970s, Argentina was shaken by a terror that came both from the extreme right and from the extreme left." For a new edition of the CONADEP report presented at the Buenos Aires Book Fair of 2006, the Human Rights Secretariat added a paragraph stating the following: The Comisión Nacional sobre la Desaparición de Personas (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, CONADEP) was an Argentine organism created by President Raúl Alfonsín on December 15, 1983, shortly after his inauguration to investigate the fate of the desaparecidos and other human rights violations (see...

"It is necessary to leave it clearly established [...] that it is unacceptable to attempt to justify State terrorism as a sort of game of counteracting violences, as if it were possible to look for a justifying symmetry in the action of individuals faced with the Nation and the State's estrangement from their proper goals."

Journalist Magdalena Ruiz Guiñazú, a former member of CONADEP, criticized the new prologue: "It is a grave historical mistake to think that the report was an apology of the theory of the two demons." Former President Alfonsín restated Ruiz Guiñazú's opinion and claimed that the addition of the prologue "shows a dangerous tendency to re-invent history". [1] Human Rights Secretary Eduardo Luis Duhalde justified the change saying that "the original prologue did not match the political philosophy that the State supports today with regards to the prosecution of crimes against humanity". [2] Hebe de Bonafini, president of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, expressed satisfaction over the new text and harshly attacked the original: "Sábato and Tróccoli wrote that shit to talk about two demons. Our children were not demons. They were revolutionaries, guerrilla warriors, wonderful and unique, who defended the country." Hebe de Bonafini was born in Argentina in 1928. ... The white shawl of the Mothers, painted on the floor in May Square, Buenos Aires. ...


See also

This article is about the history of Argentina. ... The armed forces of Argentina are controlled by the Commander-in-Chief (the President) and a civilian Minister of Defense. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Dirty War. ... Dirty War (in Spanish: Guerra Sucia) refers to a program of a state-sponsored war on domestic citizens in response to strikes, social unrest, violence or subversion that is claimed to threaten a countrys stability. ... Desaparecidos means literally the disappeared in Spanish, and is a reference to people who were arrested, often illegally, by various South American military governments and then vanished. ... The white shawl of the Mothers, painted on the floor in May Square, Buenos Aires. ... Official logo of Montoneros The Movimiento Peronista Montonero was an Argentinian radical leftist nationalist-catholic guerrilla group, active during the 1970s. ... The Comisión Nacional sobre la Desaparición de Personas (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, CONADEP) was an Argentine organism created by President Raúl Alfonsín on December 15, 1983, shortly after his inauguration to investigate the fate of the desaparecidos and other human rights violations (see...

External links


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One purpose of the demonization of individuals - as opposed to groups - is to divert attention from their arguments, and discredit them personally by ad hominem attacks.
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