Friday, September 21, 2007

The Empire's Tentacles

This war in Iraq has more twists and turns than Mulholland Drive. We knew that much of the support work for the military was being outsourced to private companies and we heard rumors that the CIA was doing the same, but now we are discovering that more and more of the "security" in Iraq and elsewhere is being handled by murky mercenary groups. These companies, which can hire out foreign nationals at a much lower salary than must be paid to American soldiers -- and without them having to count against our losses -- this is a win-win situation.
You can read more about this in a Rosa Brooks op-ed in the LA Times. But here is an important section:

The White House's motives are obvious. Why fight another war, with all the bother of convincing Congress, if you can quietly hire a private military company to fight it for you? Why interrogate suspected insurgents if you can outsource the whole messy business? Why go through the tedious process of training Afghan judges if DynCorp will handle it instead -- as long as you're
not too picky about the results?

As for the corporations so eagerly lapping up the contracting dollars, there's no conspiracy -- it's just the good old profit motive. If the White House wants to sell off U.S. foreign policy, someone's going to buy it. Prince, the former Navy SEAL who founded Blackwater, is straightforward about his company's goal: "We're trying to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did for the Postal Service."

Since FedEx rendered the post office irrelevant for all but the most trivial forms of mail, this means you can kiss our national security apparatus goodbye.

Yes, and it is also a mark of an empire whose tentacles have reached out too far. Essentially we're fighting a war over which we have ceded control to well paid contractors. The message it seems is this -- there will be peace only at the point of a gun. Not the kind of peace Jesus has in mind.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would suggest you research just how the companies hire the people to train the civilian police, judges, corrections and others.

This is not some corporate training session. The persons that are providing training are US citizens that are working to restore order and pass on the western style of policing and law enforcement in general. These are the same persons that train our own employees all over the continental United States. The are experts in their field. They all go for different reasons, but each and everyone goes to help both the country they are assigned to as well as protect all of YOU, the very persons that choose to degrade the job they do. Would you rather have our US military, or maybe IRAN train the police. In our country it is illegal for the military to train law enforcement. There is a reason for that, so it goes without saying that our Police are perfectly suited to train those persons in Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Bosnia, Kosovo etc to police with human rights, basic freedoms we all would like such as a fair and equitable form of Justice.

Why not support our US government and all of the patriots that are working in sometimes very substandard living conditions. You ever tried sleeping in a tent in the desert where temperatures reach 46C or better. Or maybe when was the last time you went to work and had someone try to shoot you or blow you up. While we see it in the news occasionally, it is not the norm and that is due in part to these very people and organizations that you chose to degrate. But this is America the Free and you can say these things because hard men are doing hard jobs both in our country and out so you can sleep tonight.

Get a good nights rest.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

These companies may or may not be great -- but there is a question here of accountability and oversight. These are private mercenary companies and their job is to provide security not training. These aren't American police, these are mercenary soldiers. They are there because first of all their cheaper and second of all their actions don't have to be reported to Congress -- as is true of the military.

So the issue here is really one of transparency.

As for being a patriot and such, since when did supporting the current administration or a war entered into on false pretenses -- one I opposed before it started -- become the sign of one's patriotism.

And yes, I slept pretty well last night.

Anonymous said...

I guess that we can agree to disagree. I never agreed to teh war either, but you are lumping all of those working over there in to one group, something I would not think a man of the clergy would do. You have many different groups of people over there. and there are as many if not more contractors than military. Some are there for the wrong reasons, some are there to make money ( we all need to eat) and some are there for all the right reasons, trying to make the entire situation better for all. I will say no more than if all the contractors over there are mercenary then all the cleagy are violators of human rights by absusing children that no no better. Get a grip on life, not all persons can be lumped together. If you have a complaint it is not with the men and women risking their lives every day to protect you, but our US government that is supposed to over see the operations.