Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mercenaries 'R' Us

Update II: As I was sayin': Jeremy Scahill, who has written a book on Blackwater, was interviewed by Bill Moyers on PBS last night, and provided a horrific glimpse into the ongoing results of Bush's obsession with privatization of traditional government functions, ~ e.g. the convenient relationship of the expenditure of taxpayers' dollars to said private companies' contributions to campaign coffers. (A lesson Hillary has already learned). If you missed it, here's a taste:
Update I (coverup):
Continuing Lessons in Cowboy Capitalism
Well, if you're going to launch an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation & occupy it indefinitely so as to get at its oil, the least you can do to avoid a draft (with its requisite drain on ordinary Americans who would otherwise be shopping) is to outsource the messy job of willy-nilly killing to professional mercenaries.
George may have gotten a "gentleman's C" in history (which would be an "F" for all y'all for who weren't born into privilege) by dint of the Affirmative Action for the Rich program at Yale, but he does know everything there is to know about outsourcing American problems to private corporations, servicing that particular portion of his constituency, & protecting them from Congressional investigations.
Never mind that history has demonstrated over & over again that hiring out the business of war is very, very dangerous to the integrity of the state which foolishly expects to use it without being bitten in the ass by it later. But we all know George doesn't worry about the long term; he plans to dump those problems into the lap of the unfortunate who follows him into office.
And what a problem it's turning out to be, pitting the Department of Defense against the Department of State, against the Iraqis. While the Department of State orders Blackwater not to cooperate or reveal its dealings to the Congressional investigation that's sprung up, however belatedly, the poobahs in Washington officialdom argue amongst themselves while Blackwater mercenaries continue to run amok on the ground, jeopardizing the mission in Iraq, whatever it may be.
"This is a big mess that I don't think anyone has their hands around yet," said another U.S. military official. "It's not necessarily a bad thing these guys are being held accountable. Iraqis hate them, the troops don't particularly care for them, and they tend to have a know-it-all attitude, which means they rarely listen to anyone -- even the folks that patrol the ground on a daily basis."
Last week, Blackwater employees fired into a crowd of civilians, according to the Iraqi government, leading to its decision to revoke the company's "license" to operate there. Of course, Blackwater claims it was under attack by insurgents. And in the meantime, the Department of State does its best to obstruct a Congressional investigation of mercenary forces in Iraq. The Iraqi government is also investigating killings of Iraqis prior to this episode, according the New York Times.
"This is a nightmare," said a senior U.S. military official. "We had guys who saw the aftermath, and it was very bad. This is going to hurt us badly. It may be worse than Abu Ghraib, and it comes at a time when we're trying to have an impact for the long term."
Not to mention accusations of gun-running by Blackwater, which may have ended up in enemies' hands, further complicating the problem we started ourselves: who, indeed, of the Iraqis are enemies, & who are friends?
"Blackwater may also face investigation on another front: The News and Observer newspaper in Raleigh, N.C., reported that United States federal investigators were looking into whether the company shipped unlicensed automatic weapons and military goods to Iraq. The Department of Justice would not confirm whether an investigation was under way; Blackwater, in a statement issued Saturday, said it had not done anything wrong."
But with "friends" like Blackwater, who needs enemies?
The Washington Post's coverage of the imbroglio:
New York Times coverage:
"Security Firms Face Criminal Charges in Iraq":

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Blogger Librocrat said...

Princess! I haven't heard from you in so long!

You know what I realized today? You're from Seattle, yeah? I could know you and not even realize it.

Probably not, though. None of my friends read my blog.

Be well.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Demon Princess said...

It's a weird unintended consequence of blogging. None of my friends read my blog, either. So, no, we probably don't know each other & don't know it :)

However, when I reflect upon the weirdnesses of blogging, I realize that some of the reason I do it is to spare my friends the rants & tirades I would otherwise impose on them non-stop. I'd be a very boring companion (even to myself) if all I did was talk about the dismal state of politix in real life. Hell, sometimes I bore me. Bushco rarely does anything new. It's really depressing. Mess up the world & our domestic well-being, undo every legal underpinning of democracy, lie about it, cover it up, & hope we'll all be too fascinated by Britney's white trash misadventures in parenting to pay very close attention.

And so, the true purpose of talking to ourselves in cyberspace: those who are interested will find it, & we can keep our real-time friendships:)

That's my theory, anyway.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Librocrat said...

No kidding. I remember I spent 3 days trying to make this anti-Iraq war music video for YouTube. After it was completed, I was so proud of it I broke my rule about not sending out the political stuff I do and sent it to everyone I knew. All of 0 people saw it. One person claimed they did, but I started playing it one day in their presence and they said "Wow, this is really good. What is this?"

My friends have to worry about the rants less now, because rarely does anything upset me anymore. At this point, I've begun adding fake emotion to my blogging simply because I know other people still care. But I've passed that point. While I still feel sick every time I hear him speak, in general his actions have become more of a constant comedy than anything else. I used to read the NYTimes every day. Now I have to force myself just to visit the webpage.

Still, it's fun being a raving liberal lunatic. Just the other day I got to call Ann Coulter a "sandy rancid vagina." I mean, it is Seattle, and I could probably get away with yelling that in the middle of Northgate Mall on a loudspeaker on Saturday, but I'd prefer to be the normal preppy kid when I'm not ranting online. Good times.

10:27 AM  

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