Occupying the hot seat through these deliberations is the shadowy mercenary company Blackwater USA. Unbeknownst to many Americans and largely off the Congressional radar, Blackwater has secured a position of remarkable power and protection within the US war apparatus. This company's success represents the realization of the life's work of the conservative officials who formed the core of the Bush Administration's war team, for whom radical privatization has long been a cherished ideological mission. Blackwater has repeatedly cited Rumsfeld's statement that contractors are part of the "Total Force" as evidence that it is a legitimate part of the nation's "warfighting capability and capacity." Invoking Rumsfeld's designation, the company has in effect declared its forces above the law--entitled to the immunity from civilian lawsuits enjoyed by the military, but also not bound by the military's court martial system. While the initial inquiries into Blackwater have focused on the complex labyrinth of secretive subcontracts under which it operates in Iraq, a thorough investigation into the company reveals a frightening picture of a politically connected private army that has become the Bush Administration's Praetorian Guard.More and more, the face of modern warfare is a mercenary face. Not good for military morale. Not good for accountability. Not good for the taxpayer. And not good for democracy.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Blackwater's well-connected, profitable, private war
Blackwater and Iraq -- a marriage made in heaven for Rumsfeld's merry band of neocons and corporate welfare bureaucrats in the Pentagon. Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, talked about the Bush administration's favorite private army on WPR's Kathleen Dunn show. Stream the program here, or check out the article in The Nation adapted from his book.