Monday, October 15, 2007

A Couple of Blackwater Thoughts

It looks like Blackwater USA is going to be coming home from Iraq over the next few months. I'm not sure that's an altogether welcome prospect though. Why would we want to have a trigger-happy private army in the United States any more than the Iraqis would want to have them in Iraq?

The fact that Erik Prince, the head of Blackwater, is wired into the extreme right of the Republican Party through his family connections with the Michigan Republican Party, Gary Bauer and the Family Research Council, and his sister's connections with the DeVos family (of Amway fame) is also disturbing. The last thing this country needs is for either of the major political parties to be associated with armed private militias and, in my opinion, Blackwater's political allegiances make it a threat, a low-level threat to be sure, to American democracy.

In that light, I would like to see Blackwater USA and other private militias subject to tough investigations, legal restrictions, and potentially to being banned altogether. Given the recent killing of 21 Iraqis by Blackwater employees, Blackwater USA and other private militias should be investigated for crimes against humanity in Iraq. Congress should also take this opportunity to ban American government agencies at either the federal or state agencies from employing private security firms for security functions.

If these kinds of measures do not dry up their revenue streams and force the private security companies to operate on a much smaller scale, Congress should investigate whether they should not be banned altogether.

By Constitutional Amendment if necessary.

3 comments:

tim said...

One of the most obvious signs of the destruction of the Roman Republic was the tendency of the legions (in c. 150 BCE to 44 BCE) to identify more with their general than with the State. First Sulla, then Marius, then Caesar, Pompey, et.al. Between the Marian Revolution and Caesar crossing the Rubicon the number of retired Roman soldiers was enormous and the politicians employed them to fight as private armies in the streets of Rome. Crassus and Pompey had a guy named Clodius.

His gangs influenced politics on a fundamental level (beating politicians who didn't agree, chasing Cicero from his villa, etc). Caesar's wealth enabled him to recruit a gang under Milo and Milo and Clodius's "gangs" fought in the streets as proxies.

I assume I don't need to close the circle. In this instance, I think Blackwater is a low level threat to American democracy. But, they are our threat and we can mostly control them with our laws. The more sever solutions you suggested, I am afraid, would just lead the State Department and the fabulously wealthy to hire non-American firms (th most well-known is that South African group). As those gentlemen have proved throughout Africa, they are beyond the control.

Needless to say, something needs to be done about Blackwater and similar contractors, since we don't a need a better armed version of the Pinkertons in this country.

Todd Mayo said...

They should come home, staight to jail, straight to trial, straight to prison.

These people are about two steps away from being domestic terrorists and we already have enough of those. We have the Klan, we have "white identity" groups, we have nutcase "militias" running around with automatic weapons training to overthrow the government of The People of The United States. We do not need them enlisting the services of Blackwater mercenaries to do their bidding.

Regarding alliance/allegiance to a major US political party, Blackwater already has such an alliance as you said: "Erik Prince, the head of Blackwater, is wired into the extreme right of the Republican Party through his family connections with the Michigan Republican Party, Gary Bauer and the Family Research Council, and his sister's connections with the DeVos family (of Amway fame)." That, I would imagine was the point you were making and it is dangerous.

Blackwater is a potential threat to national security. They and all such "enterprises" should be banned and shut down.

Anonymous said...

Blackwater is the perfect "Base" for off-the-shelf form of domestic terrorism ; So Bush can enact his draconion policies that will trample on civil liberties . Balckwater and it's militant christian fundamentalist Erik Prince is very scary. they serve as Bush's Praterian guard with any form of check and blances or oversight. We need to end the privatization of the us military and the military-industrial complex before our consitutional democracy is left in shreds.

Resist the fascism