Thursday, September 20, 2007

OMNI Newsletter on Nationalism, Imperialism, Militarism, Iraq Sept. 20, 2007

 Building a Culture of Peace, SEPTEMBER 20, 2007

Compiled by Dick Bennett The last newsletter on these subjects appeared on July 3, 2007.

These writings are intended to assist in calling and writing letters to friends, to our Congressional delegates and other Cong. representatives, and to newspaper editors, to defend a government of, by, and for WE, THE PEOPLE.

 “Checkbook Imperialism: The Blackwater Fiasco”
  By Robert Scheer    Truthdig: September 18, 2007
Please, please, I tell myself, leave Orwell out of it.
 Find some other, fresher way to explain why "Operation
 Iraqi Freedom" is dependent upon killer mercenaries.
Or why the "democratically elected government" of "liberated power to expel Blackwater USA from its land or hold any
of the 50,000 private contractor troops that the U.S.
government has brought to Iraq accountable for their
; deadly actions.
Were there even the faintest trace of Iraqi
 independence rising from the ashes of this failed
> American imperialist venture, Blackwater would have to
> fold its tents and go, if only in the interest of
> keeping up appearances. After all, the Iraqi Interior
> Ministry claimed that the Blackwater thugs guarding a
> U.S. State Department convoy through the streets of
> Baghdad fired "randomly at citizens" in a crowded
> square on Sunday, killing 11 people and wounding 13
> others. So the Iraqi government has ordered Blackwater
> to leave the country after what a government spokesman
> called a "flagrant assault ... on Iraqi citizens."
> But who told those Iraqi officials that they have the
> power to control anything regarding the 182,000
> privately contracted personnel working for the U.S. in
> Iraq? Don't they know about Order 17, which former
> American proconsul Paul Bremer put in place to grant
> contractors, including his own Blackwater bodyguards,
> immunity from Iraqi prosecution? Nothing has changed
> since the supposed transfer of power from the Coalition
> Provisional Authority, which Bremer once headed, to the
> Iraqi government holed up in the Green Zone and guarded
> by Blackwater and other "private" soldiers.
> They are "private" in the same fictional sense that our
> uniformed military is a "volunteer" force, since both
> are lured by the dollars offered by the same paymaster,
> the U.S. government. Contractors earn substantially
> more, despite $20,000 to $150,000 signing bonuses and
> an all-time-high average annual cost of $100,000 per
> person for the uniformed military. All of this was
> designed by the neocon hawks in the Pentagon to pursue
> their dreams of empire while avoiding a conscripted
> army, which would have millions howling in the street
> by now in protest.
> Instead, we have checkbook imperialism. The U.S.
> government purchases whatever army it needs, which has
> led to the dependence upon private contract firms like
> Blackwater USA, with its $300-million-plus contract to
> protect U.S. State Department personnel in Iraq. That
> is why the latest Blackwater incident, which Prime
> Minister Nouri al-Maliki branded a "crime," is so
> difficult to deal with. Iraqis are clearly demanding
> to rid their country of Blackwater and other
> contractors, and on Tuesday the Iraqi government said
> it would be scrutinizing the status of all private
> security firms working in the country.
> But the White House hopes the outrage will once again
> blow over. As the Associated Press reported on Monday:
> "The U.S. clearly hoped the Iraqis would be satisfied
> with an investigation, a finding of responsibility and
> compensation to the victim's families-and not insist on
> expelling a company that the Americans cannot operate
> here without." Or, as Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified
> to the U.S. Senate last week: "There is simply no way
> at all that the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic
> Security could ever have enough full-time personnel to
> staff the security function in Iraq. There is no
> alternative except through contracts."
> Consider the irony of that last statement-that the U.S.
> experiment in building democracy in Iraq is dependent
> upon the same garrisons of foreign mercenaries that
> drove the founders of our own country to launch the
> American Revolution. As George Washington warned in
> his farewell address, once the American government
> enters into these "foreign entanglements," we lose the
> Republic, because public accountability is sacrificed
> to the necessities of war for empire.
> Despite the fact that Blackwater USA gets almost all of
> its revenue from the U.S. government-much of it in no-
> bid contracts aided, no doubt, by the lavish
> contributions to the Republican Party made by company
> founder Erik Prince and his billionaire parents-its
> operations remain largely beyond public scrutiny.
> Blackwater and others in this international security
> racket operate as independent states of their own,
> subject neither to the rules of Iraq nor the ones that
> the U.S. government applies to its own uniformed
> forces. "We are not simply a 'private security
> company,' " Blackwater boasts on its corporate website.
> "We are a professional military, law enforcement,
> security, peacekeeping, and stability operations firm.
> ... We have become the most responsive, cost-effective
> means of affecting the strategic balance in support of
> security and peace, and freedom and democracy
> everywhere."
> Yeah, so who elected you guys to run the world?


Anti-Empire Report, September 11, 2007

Anti-Empire Report, August 10, 2007

“Anti-Empire Report,” July 9, 2007

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