Bush's Private Army Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by Jag Singh, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2007 at 11:57 am
Largely ignored in the ongoing debate of planned troop escalation is the role of US private security firms such as Blackwater. Since its founding in 1996, Blackwater has become the world’s most powerful mercenary army and its highly secretive activities are completely hidden from our lawmakers and the US public. No details are provided on their casualties. Its executives have close ties with the Bush administration and share the same fanatical religious and political ideologies. Its founder, Erik Prince is a major financial supporter of the Republican Party and has been granted lucrative contracts for his loyalty. This is another disturbing example of how the tentacles of the ‘military industry complex’ have penetrated deeply into our government further eroding our democracy and contributing significantly to our national debt. According to the General Accounting Office (GAO), a staggering 48,000 ‘hired guns’ are now part of Bush’s private army in Iraq operating under the radar of public scrutiny. With army recruitment in severe decline, the Pentagon is aggressively augmenting its private armies. What is extremely disturbing is the lack of oversight of these mercenaries who do not have to adhere to any form of rules of engagement. There has been extremely disturbing reports of gross human violations by these ‘hired guns’. There have further reports that Erik Prince, as board member of Christian Freedom International, is now directing his evangelical zeal in Sudan.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2007 at 1:32 pm
I believe these men are primarily engaged in security for property and bodyguarding. Neither of those functions are combat related. They do not have diplomatic status nor military status and thus are subject to the law of the country where they operate. Most countries recognize the right of self defense.
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2007 at 1:32 pm
The Bush private armies such as Blackwater are based on the model of the Latin American dead squads, all of whom were trained by US and Israeli military personnel and by American mercenaries. They are above the law, below the radar screen and are not subjected to any congressional ovrsight. They are perfect for carrying out illegal, unauthorized and criminal missions for the Bush regime. The vision that Bush, but particularly Cheney and the federalist Society have for this nation is of an emperial presidency that isn't bothered by a constitution it ignores and violates and private miltias doing their deadly work for them.
Posted by Wolf, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2007 at 4:10 pm
A correction and a question for Jag.
The correction is that I believe you should be calling this OUR private army and not BUSH'S private army, since I assume you pay taxes that support both the public US Army and the private security firms like Blackwater hired by our government. So unless your conviction is so great that you actually refuse to pay taxes and are willing to go to jail because of that, or to leave this country, please use proper terminology. OUR.
The question is that since Blackwater has been operating from 1996, shouldn't you call it at least Clinton's and Bush's Private Army? Just wondering.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2007 at 6:04 pm
There are a few Blackwater employees sitting in foreign jails who would love to hear they are above the law. They are bodyguards and property guards. It is not wrong to protect yourself and your property, especially where the threat is revolutionary rather than just venal crime. Most corporations in the United States also employ security personnel. Should they just stand and let their throats be cut and their property be stolen with no resistance?
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2007 at 7:07 pm
According the Geneva convention which is also an American law since the US has ratified it, Blackwater employees presence in Iraq is strictly illegal, as is the presence of the US military. Blackwater employees have no rights in Iraq any more than a bank robber in the bank he's robbing. Blackwater employees in other countries are subject to the laws of the country that agreed to their presence, but in Iraq they have no rights, no protection.