Thursday, May 24, 2007

America's Hired Guns: Isn't this how Yoda fucked up?

George Bush may want to take Bingo night off and spend some time with the work of George Lucas. As every sci-fi geek knows, the Jedi were getting heat from a lot of mysterious evil dudes. The Sith hate freedom, and Yoda's posse has gotta go smoke 'em out. But the Jedi were spread too thin from being the galaxy's police. What to do? Hey, let's hire some contractors to help do the fighting. Send in the CLONES! They are lean, mean, come with their own armor, and hey, if they die, who cares? Contractors don't get benies... not even dental. It's a slam dunk!

But while the clones fought for the Jedi, they had no loyalty to them. They were doing the highest bidder's bidding, and the Sith pay better. Before you know it, the clone army was making Jedi hamburger.

Taken for a punk, Yoda has.

While hiring mercenaries in the real world hasn't always worked out too great either (see Rome, England, etc), the U.S. is now getting into the game. Companies like North Carolina's Blackwater USA are picking up where the U.S. military is leaving off all over the place, especially in Iraq. Born in 1997 by millionaire and former US Navy SEAL Erik Prince, BlackWater is has been hired by the government to help out in post-Katrina's New Orleans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Blackwater USA has also been contracted by various foreign governments. In Iraq, when a U.S. General is touring the latest horrors, it's Blackwater that is guarding him, not the General's own men.

Controversy surrounds Prince and Blackwater. A recent book by independent journalist Jeremy Scahill is highly critical of the company (Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army). It seems not even Congress has a real grip how involved they are. A talent drain has been affecting the U.S. Army as soldiers quit the military and "Go Blackwater" to get better pay and equipment. There's also President's Eisenhower's 1961 warning about the "military industrial complex" where so much of the economy depends on war that we need to make it. They currently are not disciplined in the same way regular military is. An insider quote has surfaced regarding Blackwater conduct in Iraq: "What happens in Iraq, stays in Iraq."

President Bush on the question (during the Rumsfield era):

While all the above issues are important, they seem secondary to a basic common sense question: If these companies need war to make money, and are willing to work for those willing to pay, where ultimately does their loyalties lie? Can we be assured that they are here to protect and defend the Constitution, or their CEO's mandates and their quarterly profits.

Meditate on this, we must.


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