Checkbook Imperialism: The Blackwater Fiasco
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200 ... er_fiasco/
By Robert Scheer
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” Iraq does not explicitly have the legal 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.
Read all at source: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200 ... er_fiasco/