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Hired Guns in Iraq

April 30, 2007

Blackwater mercenaries in training

As if the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t sinister enough with legitimate soldiers doing the Bush Administration’s dirty work, an article by Jeremy Scahill reveals that firms such as Blackwater are employing thousands of private contractors to engage in military activities within Iraq and Aghanistan, as well as recent activities near or possibly even in Iran.To quote the article:

While many of them perform logistical support activities for American troops, including the sort of laundry, fuel and mail delivery, and food-preparation work that once was performed by soldiers, tens of thousands of them are directly engaged in military and combat activities. According to the Government Accountability Office, there are now some 48,000 employees of private military companies in Iraq. These not-quite G.I. Joes, working for Blackwater and other major US firms, can clear in a month what some active-duty soldiers make in a year.

Even more disturbing is that they have almost no accountability, either in Iraqi or U.S. courts. In the cases where they have been accused of committing crimes in Iraq, they are whisked out of Iraq by their private firm.

If all of that doesn’t sound eerily Orwellian enough for you, consider this:

Today, Blackwater has become nothing short of the Bush administration’s well-paid Praetorian Guard. It protects the US ambassador and other senior officials in Iraq as well as visiting Congressional delegations; it trains Afghan security forces and was deployed in the oil-rich Caspian Sea region, setting up a “command and control” center just miles from the Iranian border. The company was also hired to protect FEMA operations and facilities in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where it raked in $240,000 a day from the American taxpayer, billing $950 a day per Blackwater contractor.

Since September 11, 2001, the company has invested its lucrative government payouts in building an impressive private army. At present, it has forces deployed in nine countries and boasts a database of 21,000 additional troops at the ready, a fleet of more than twenty aircraft, including helicopter gun-ships, and the world’s largest private military facility–a 7,000 acre compound near the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina. It recently opened a new facility in Illinois (“Blackwater North”) and is fighting local opposition to a third planned domestic facility near San Diego (“Blackwater West”) by the Mexican border. It is also manufacturing an armored vehicle (nicknamed the “Grizzly”) and surveillance blimps.

But all of that is not even the topic of the article. The Democratic party, supposedly championing the anti-war cause has been quietly supporting these mercenaries and have, until this day, done nothing to stop funding to them. Even if the “withdrawal plan” were approved by Bush, the funding for his private army would still exist. Through the back door, he has doubled the military force in Iraq using “soldiers” who are above the law…all laws.

The democrats want to send FBI investigators to Iraq to “regulate” the activities of the mercenaries instead of taking them out of Iraq altogether. This will only serve to legitimize them, with no real way for even a large party of investigators to monitor 126,000 overpaid fighters. There are no official records of who is there, how many of them have been killed, what crimes they have committed, or who they ultimately answer to (it obviously isn’t the US government). As the name mercenary implies, they are for sale to the highest bidder. It is their best interest to keep the war going. It makes you wonder if maybe it is the President’s agenda as well.

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2 comments

  1. […] a month or so ago, I reported on the growing number of mercenaries fighting the “war” in Iraq, particularly via the […]


  2. […] reported on Blackwater some time ago. Now it seems they’ve crossed the line, killing 8 Iraqi civilians. The Iraqi […]



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