Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Blackwater: A Must Read!

I spent some of my time off pursuing other avenues of inquiry. One of the things that I did was finally get around to reading Jeremy Scahill's Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

Jesus, is that ever some scary shit!

From Blackwater's eerie beginnings in the febrile brain of Fundo Xian millionnaire Erik Prince through the questionable orders that sent four "contractors" to their deaths in Fallujah (and thereby causing the military to decimate the town, with an astronomical death rate, which in turn became a nifty recruiting tool for Al Qaeda) to now -- or at least late 2006, Blackwater cuts to the core of the world's first modern mercenary army and explains in excruciating detail how -- and why -- this malevolent bunch of greedy profit-seeking Christian Reconstructionist cutthroat mercenaries have wormed their way so far into the Military-Industrial Complex that it will take major surgery to root them out.

In chilling detail towards the beginning of the book, Scahill describes the mood among even the mainline Fundo Xians during the latter years of the Clinton Administration:
In November 1996 -- the month Clinton crushed Bob Dole and won reelection -- the main organ of the theoconservative movement, Richard Neuhaus's journal First Things, published a "symposium" titled "The End of Democracy?" which bluntly questioned "whether we have reached or are reaching the point where conscientious citizens can no longer give moral assent to the existing regime."
A series of essays raised the prospect of a major confrontation between the church and the "regime," at times seeming to predict a civil-war scenario or Christian insurrection against the government, exploring possibilities "ranging from noncompliance to resistance to civil disobedience to morally justified revolution." Erik Prince's close friend, political collaborator, and beneficiary Chuck Colson authored one of the five major essays of the issue, as did extremist Judge Robert Bork, whom Reagan had tried unsuccessfully to appoint to the Supreme Court in 1987.
"Americans are not accustomed to speaking of a regime. Regimes are what other nations have," asserted the symposium's unsigned introduction. "This symposium asks whether we may be deceiving ourselves and, if we are, what are the implications of that self-deception. By the word 'regime' we mean the actual, existing system of government. The question that is the title of this symposium is in no way hyperbolic. The subject before us is the end of democracy" It declared, "The government of the United States of America no longer governs by the consent of the governed. . . . What is happening now is the displacement of a constitutional order by a regime that does not have, will not obtain, and cannot command the consent of the people."
The editorial quoted Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia saying, "A Christian should not support a government that suppresses the faith or one that sanctions the taking of an innocent human life."
Colson's essay was titled "Kingdoms in Conflict":
"[E]vents in America may have reached the point where the only political action believers can take is some kind of direct, extra-political confrontation of the judicially controlled regime," Colson wrote, adding that a "showdown between church and state may be inevitable. This is not something for which Christians should hope. But it is something for which they need to prepare." He asserted, "[A] 'social contract' that included biblical believers and Enlightenment rationalists was the basis of the founding of the United States. . . . If the terms of our contract have in fact been broken, Christian citizens may be compelled to force the government to return to its original understanding. . . . The writings of Thomas Jefferson, who spoke openly of the necessity of revolution, could also be called upon for support."
Colson stopped short of calling for an open rebellion, but he clearly viewed that as a distinct possibility/necessity in the near future, saying, "with fear and trembling, I have begun to believe that, however Christians in America gather to reach their consensus, we are fast approaching this point."
Now that Blackwater has essentially crossed the Rubicon with their unauthorized self-insertion in the Hurrican Katrina aftermath in New Orleans, their foot is in the door, their nose is in the tent, and their what-I-thought-were-illegal automatic weapons are at the ready for any "civil disturbance". Such as, say, the Democrats winning the White House and extending their control over both houses of Congress.

Those shitweasel nutjobs on the Religious Right might just make good on their threats and turn on the government. And if that happens, just who do you think Blackwater is going to help out? Certainly not those atheist commie feminazi abortionists in Congress and definitely not those of us out here in Left Blogistan who are struggling against tyranny.

Here's more from Scahill:
What is particularly disturbing about the "expanding role" of Blackwater specifically is the issue of the company's right-wing leadership, its proximity to a whole slew of conservative causes and politicians, its Christian fundamentalist agenda and secretive nature, and its deep and longstanding ties to the Republican Party, U.S. military, and intelligence agencies. Blackwater is quickly becoming one of the most powerful private armies in the world, and several of its top officials are extreme religious zealots, some of whom appear to believe they are engaged in an epic battle for the defense of Christendom. The deployment of forces under this kind of leadership in Arab or Muslim countries reinforces the worst fears of many in the Islamic world about a neo-Crusader agenda masquerading as a U.S. mission to "liberate" them from their oppressors.
What Blackwater seemingly advocates and envisions is a private army of God-fearing patriots, well paid and devoted to the agenda of U.S. hegemony—supported by far lower paid cannon fodder, foot soldiers from Third World countries, many of which have legacies of brutal U.S.-sponsored regimes or death squads. For its vaunted American forces, Blackwater has expanded the mercenary motivating factor (or rationalization) beyond simple monetary gain (though that remains a major factor) to a duty-oriented, patriotic justification. "This is not about business and widgets and making money, at least not in our company it is not," said Cofer Black. "If you're not willing to drink the Blackwater Kool-aid and be committed to supporting humane democracy around the world, then there's probably a better place" to go work than Blackwater, "because that's all we do," Taylor told The Weekly Standard.
Like I say, it's some scary stuff.

Blackwater: buy it, read it, give it as a gift, make every progressive person you know read it. Hell, even make every wingnut Rethug asshole you know read it -- they need it more than we do.

And if you still haven't got the picture, I'll let a fellow blogger from Washington State, The Broking Report have the last word:


Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Farnsworth. Thanks for highlighting the Scahill book. You've got me curious. Now I'll have to read it.

I wish you a peaceful and happy new year.

Resisting Empire said...

Jeremy Scahill will be touring this summer to speak on new developments regarding the company, such as Blackwater's renewed contract in Iraq, the Nisour Square shootings last fall, and much more.


Tour will coincide with the release of the fully updated paperback version of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.