Monday, March 19, 2007


The new book on Blackwater USA is out this week. There is a book signing and discussion between author Jeremy Scahill and Naomi Klein of The Nation at the Center for Ethical Culture. This looks to be fantastic! If you are unaware of who/what is Blackwater, pickup the April edition of The Nation or check out Jeremy's site for the book here - very informative.

In short, Blackwater is a private mercenary company funded by tax dollars, promoted by the Bushies and the Pentagon, and increasing in scale.They have over 20,000 "soldiers", a small airforce (20 aircraft) and seek to replace the national guard in this country as demonstrated in New Orleans after Katrina. With so many reservists abroad, it's a big security and financial vacuum to fill - a big opportunity in other words. This is an organization that is not subject to the same laws as you and I or as normal law enforcement.

Balkinization had a great post last friday about what the rise of Blackwater represents - a threat to the tradition of the citizen- soldier.

Balkinization writes:
Before there was a President, a Congress or a Supreme Court, before any thought had been given to a Constitution, much less a Bill of Rights, America had its first institution: the Army. It was directed by a commander-in-chief - the only one in our history not to serve simultaneously as president. And that Army was the initial repository of national values, particularly of the notion of a citizen-soldier, putting his life at risk for the promise of modest pay and little more, called to duty for altruistic reasons - not for cash or power, prepared to relinquish his soldierly calling and return to civilian life at the end of hostilities. (By and large the Founding Fathers did not think much of a standing army; indeed, much of what they had to say on this subject is so obscene one would have difficulties printing it even today). One of the foundational values of the American Republic is the concept of a citizen-soldier, a concept presented eloquently by George Washington in his farewell address to the troops from November 3, 1783, and preserved at the heart of the nation's defense strategy for more than two centurie
For George Washington and his contemporaries, the mercenary was a symbol of a corrupt and enslaving Europe that they sought to avoid. The citizen-soldier, by contrast, was the model for a democracy that places great value on stability and peace, that abjures military adventurism. But today, under the corrupting influence of those potent narcotics, money and power, all these lessons seem forgotten.

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