Posted by: Tony Carson | 19 September, 2007

Checkbook Imperialism and the Blackwater Fiasco

Who told those Iraqi officials that they have the power to control anything regarding the 182,000 privately contracted personnel working for the U.S. in Iraq? Don’t they know about Order 17, which former American proconsul Paul Bremer put in place to grant contractors, including his own Blackwater bodyguards, immunity from Iraqi prosecution?

Robert Sheer asks the question in Checkbook Imperialism:  The Blackwater Fiasco

Instead, we have checkbook imperialism. The U.S. government purchases whatever army it needs, which has led to the dependence upon private contract firms like Blackwater USA, with its $300-million-plus contract to protect U.S. State Department personnel in Iraq. That is why the latest Blackwater incident, which Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki branded a “crime,” is so difficult to deal with. Iraqis are clearly demanding to rid their country of Blackwater and other contractors, and on Tuesday the Iraqi government said it would be scrutinizing the status of all private security firms working in the country.

But the White House hopes the outrage will once again blow over. As the Associated Press reported on Monday: “The U.S. clearly hoped the Iraqis would be satisfied with an investigation, a finding of responsibility and compensation to the victim’s families–and not insist on expelling a company that the Americans cannot operate here without.” Or, as Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified to the U.S. Senate last week: “There is simply no way at all that the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security could ever have enough full-time personnel to staff the security function in Iraq. There is no alternative except through contracts.”

Consider the irony of that last statement–that the U.S. experiment in building democracy in Iraq is dependent upon the same garrisons of foreign mercenaries that drove the founders of our own country to launch the American Revolution. As George Washington warned in his farewell address, once the American government enters into these “foreign entanglements,” we lose the Republic, because public accountability is sacrificed to the necessities of war for empire.

Despite the fact that Blackwater USA gets almost all of its revenue from the U.S. government–much of it in no-bid contracts aided, no doubt, by the lavish contributions to the Republican Party made by company founder Erik Prince and his billionaire parents–its operations remain largely beyond public scrutiny. Blackwater and others in this international security racket operate as independent states of their own, subject neither to the rules of Iraq nor the ones that the U.S. government applies to its own uniformed forces. “We are not simply a ‘private security company,’ ” Blackwater boasts on its corporate website. “We are a professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations firm. … We have become the most responsive, cost-effective means of affecting the strategic balance in support of security and peace, and freedom and democracy everywhere.”

Yeah, so who elected you guys to run the world?



  1. There is a time a place for such a group of professional soldiers. There were times of exceptional bravery and dedication to their jobs by some Blackwater personnel.
    There are also documented incidents that do not reflect on the company in a very good light, as well as reflect badly on the American public and effort there.

    I also take issue with their close ties to the Republican party. It seems that if one is not a republican, regardless of experience (combat or otherwise) they will not be considered for employment or contracts with the US Govt..

    I also believe that if there are more irregularities in the next election and the obvious winner “looses”, one my find a situation where the sworn members of the US Military (sworn to defend the constitution, not the Republican party or executive power) may face a private army, hired by the powers that be and want to stay that way by any means, in an epic battle that will reshape American democracy and be one of the most powerful parts of American History short of the original revolution and the civil war.
    It seem that now as long as you ask a politically correct question, you will be allowed to participate.
    If one asks a question (even it that question is not targeted to the individuals in question), you will be thrown to the ground and electricuted by “Security Forces”.

    Remember; Not all Special Forces types will work for a group like Blackwater.
    There are those of us who still live by the motto’s of our units.
    De Oppresso Liber (Latin: “To free the opressed”)
    “Rangers Lead the Way”

    If you are in power, and plan to stay that way after you loose the 2008 election, be afraid … BE VERY AFRAID!
    This We Will Defend.

    Rangers Lead the Way!

  2. “There are also documented incidents that do not reflect on the company in a very good light.”

    One of the problems with the secuirty firms is that they operated either above the law or beneath but seldom within it. How many of the mercenaries were likked? How many did they kill? These question remain unanswered and probably unanswerable: they operated in a world of their own creation.

    Boy, I hope you’re wrong about their possible future impact on the US political scene. Once Cheney is gone, perhaps they will be leaderless and just fade into history.

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