Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On Blackwater, Specifically...

And on armed mercenaries in general....

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.”

My excerpts from The Pro-War Undertow of the Blackwater Scandal by Norman Solomon:

. . . . A real hazard of the preoccupation with Blackwater is that it will become a scapegoat for what is profoundly and fundamentally wrong with the U.S. effort and mission. Condemnation of Blackwater, however justified, can easily be siphoned into a political whirlpool that demands a cleanup of the U.S. war occupation effort – as though a relentless war of occupation based on lies could be redeemed by better management – as if the occupying troops in Army and Marine uniforms are incarnations of restraint and accountability.

. . . . One of the most unusual aspects of the current Blackwater scandal is that it places recent killings of Iraqi civilians front-and-center even though the killers were Americans. This angle is outside the customary media frame that focuses on what Iraqis are doing to each other and presents Americans – whether in military uniform or in contractor mode – as well-meaning heroes who sometimes become victims of dire circumstances.

. . . . The current Blackwater scandal should help us to understand the dynamics that routinely set in when occupiers – whether privatized mercenaries or uniformed soldiers – rely on massive violence against the population they claim to be helping.

Terrible as Blackwater has been and continues to be, that profiteering corporation should not be made a lightning rod for opposition to the war occupation. New legislation that demands accountability from private security forces can't make a war an occupation that's wrong any more right. Finding better poster boys who can be touted as humanitarians rather than mercenaries won't change the basic roles of gun-toting Americans in a country that they have no right to occupy.


  1. This is an appropriate quote and one I used regularly when teaching academies, along with the one about staring too long into the abyss lest ye become part of it.

  2. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) goes off and after Waxman And Pelosi, saying that any attack by Congressional Democrats on Blackwater is an attack on our troops.


  3. The autrocities they commit in our name should be an offence of treason.

  4. If these people are paid by the State the State is responsible for their actions, irrespective of whether they are in uniform or not.They are the face of the US occupation.

  5. Agreed, Guthrum

    "Blackwater to be phased out of guarding U.S. diplomats in Iraq" is one headline that's in the spin.

    This is vacuous. If Blackwater is actually phased out, if they actually lose personnel, the personnnel will migrate to other contractors/mercenary organizations. So, nobody should look upon Blackwater's ouster - if for real - as reducing the number of soldiers-of-fortune enrolled in the coalition-of-the-billing. They'll still be in Iraq, out of uniform, getting fat checks from us taxpayers.

  6. It's the Insurgency, Stupid!

    Iraqi police are implicated in fatal rockety attack on U.S. servicemen, and our commander says it's corruption? It's not corruption. It's a nationalist insurgency against an illegitimate occupation. "Corruption" is the new euphemism.