JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 347
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an automatic presumption of due obedience-the so called "taking orders"
defense (see Nino 69). This overly prudential and limited strategy would
prove to be quite contentious. However, despite initial modifications, it
ultimately asserted itself, drowning any legal claims that exceeded the canny
consideration for reconciliation. On 22 December 1986, the "punto final"
(full-stop) law was passed. This law specified a sixty-day limit for submitting
charges against the military; after the date all charges would once and for all
be extinguished. After Alfonsin negotiated with a serious military rebellion,
the "due obedience" legislation was introduced and subsequently passed (4
June 1987) by Congress; the law revised the due obedience defense to favor
a perfunctory closure for the trials.
7. The "anti-terrorist campaign" was often invoked, by the Alfonsin govern-
ment that had initiated the trials and by the prosecution, as a "regretful and
aberrant episode" that was the fault of "two terrorisms," one emanating from
certain segments of the military and the other from the "guerrillas." Interior
Minister Antonio Troccoli and Luis Moreno Ocampo, Assistant Prosecutor in
the trial of the juntas, both expressed that the military and "the left" were
"twin sides of the same coin" (qtd. in Osiel, "Making" 158). Despite the fact
that the "guerrilla struggle" was all but eradicated at the time of the 1976
coup, and that the violence which the state wielded was incomparably more
damaging than that of the sparse "guerrilla struggle," both the (phantom)
"guerrillas" and a handful of overly zealous military officers were-accord-
ing to this formulation-equally to blame for the "dirty war," and hence
equally responsible before the law.
8. Even if we were to overlook (and this surely would be quite irresponsible)
the atrocities that were committed during Argentina's early formation, recent
history cannot justify a time when "democracy" and respect for "human rights"
were "the norm": consider that between 1955 and 1983 Argentina had only six
years of freely elected governments. Of course, the repressive strategy of
"disappearance," between 1976 and 1983, was both abhorrent and unprec-
edented in the way it affected and implicated large sectors of the population;
yet, the authoritarian conceptual framework (that tolerates no sense of
otherness) that fueled the military's "dirty war" does not stand as an anomaly
within Argentine history, but is continuous with its uncompromising quest
for "national purity." For a discussion that seeks to grapple with how
Argentine national culture is constructed against an excluded other, see
9. In its concluding remarks about the trial of the military, Amnesty
International made a statement about the possible problematics of attempting to
seek justice through the procedural peculiarities ofa "criminal" case: "The Court
was guided by the basic principle in criminal law that liability and the corre-
sponding sentence must be assessed individually and not collectively. Collective
entities cannot stand trial, only individual persons, and this poses major difficul-
ties in cases of offenses planned or perpetrated by groups. Although the question
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/93/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .