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Our Mercenaries in Iraq: Blackwater Inc and Bush's Undeclared Surge : Swingers Discussion 725601011
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FORUMSGeneral DiscussionsPoliticsOur Mercenaries in Iraq: Blackwater Inc and Bush's Undeclared Surge
TOPIC: Our Mercenaries in Iraq: Blackwater Inc and Bush's Undeclared Surge
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Well, Dick Cheney, when he was Defense Secretary under George H.W. Bush during the Gulf War, one of the last things he did before leaving office was to create an unprecedented lucrative market for the firm that he would go on to head, Halliburton. He commissioned [a] Halliburton [division] to do a study on how to privatize the military bureaucracy. That effectively created the groundwork for the absolute war profiteer bonanza that we’ve seen unfold in the aftermath of 9/11. I mean, Clinton was totally on board with all of this, but it has exploded since 9/11. And so, Cheney, after he left office, when the first Bush was the president, went on to work at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, which really led the push for privatization of the government, not just the military.

And then, when these guys took office, Rumsfeld's first real major address, delivered on September 10, 2001, he literally declared war on the Pentagon bureaucracy and said he had come to liberate the Pentagon. And what he meant by that -- and he wrote this in an article in Foreign Affairs -- was that governments, unlike companies, can't die. He literally said that. So you have to figure out new incentives for competition, and Rumsfeld said that it should be run more like a corporation than a bureaucracy. And so, the company that most embodies that vision -- and they call it a revolutionary in military affairs. It’s a total part of the Project for a New American Century and the neoconservative movement. The company that most embodies that is not Halliburton; it’s Blackwater.

Santa Cruz CA
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Blackwater is a company that began in 1996 as a private military training facility in -- it was built near the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina. And visionary executives, all of them former Navy Seals or other Elite Special Forces people, envisioned it as a project that would take advantage of the anticipated government outsourcing.

Well, here we are a decade later, and it’s the most powerful mercenary firm in the world. It has 20,000 soldiers on the ready, the world’s largest private military base, a fleet of twenty aircraft, including helicopter gunships. It’s become nothing short of the Praetorian Guard for the Bush administration's so-called global war on terror. And it’s headed by a very rightwing Christian activist, ex-Navy Seal named Erik Prince, whose family was one of the major bankrollers of the Republican Revolution of the 1990s. He, himself, is a significant funder of President Bush and his allies.

And what they’ve done is they have built a very frightening empire near the Great Dismal Swamp in North Carolina. They’ve got about 2,300 men actively deployed around the world. They provide the security for the US diplomats in Iraq. They’ve guarded everyone, from Paul Bremer and John Negroponte to the current US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad. They’re training troops in Afghanistan. They have been active in the Caspian Sea, where they set up a Special Forces base miles from the Iranian border. They really are the frontline in what the Bush administration viewed as a necessary revolution in military affairs. In fact, they represent the life's work of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Santa Cruz CA
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On Tuesday, five employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA were killed in a violent Baghdad neighborhood. Hours later, President Bush used his State of the Union address to call on what some are calling an undeclared surge of private mercenaries in Iraq. We speak with Jeremy Scahill, author of the forthcoming “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.The private security firm Blackwater USA is back in the news again. On Tuesday, hours before President Bush’s State of the Union address, one of the company’s helicopters was brought down in a violent Baghdad neighborhood. Five Blackwater troops - all Americans - were killed. Reports say the men’s bodies show signs of execution-style deaths with bullet wounds to the back off the head. Blackwater provided no identities or details of those killed. They did release a statement saying the deaths “are a reminder of the extraordinary circumstances under which our professionals voluntarily serve to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people.”

President Bush made no mention of the incident during his State of the Union. But he did address the very issue that has brought dozens of private security companies like Blackwater to Iraq in the first place: the need for more troops.

Santa Cruz CA
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TOPIC: Our Mercenaries in Iraq: Blackwater Inc and Bush's Undeclared Surge