God, I'm getting so numb to all this. Why am I voting again? Oh yeah, Supreme Court and shit.
This is a point worth making again and again: Any hypothetical staying in Iraq, with even the best of intentions, would in reality mean allowing shit like this to continue.
It's all just "the Americans" to Iraqis, you know.
They can't tell the difference between different honkeys.
*I* can't tell the difference between different honkeys.
['They all want to bomb somebody.']
Its interesting how we're seeing two changes that revert to earlier, pre-modern situations of military power: diffusion of power away from states as the sole entities able to inflict damage, and return of mercenaries.
I'm not seeing the outrageous behavior, I'm afraid. I assume that if Blackwater wasn't selling arms to people in Iraq, the military would be. Actually, I assume that the military is, too. And I'd be astonished if even 1% of Iraqis hold that against the US.
2,5:This or something like it will continue in Iraq after we leave. I can no longer imagine an Iraq with as strong a central gov't a Saddam. So the rich and corporate will hire security, and in many conditions the security will kill with impunity. Yes, and mercenaries have always made extra money selling arms. This is a good thing. City-states need to protect themselves, and it is useful to have such relationships with local condottieres.
One probably should try to envision the post-national world, if one is young enough to expect to see it.
I'm not seeing the outrageous behavior, I'm afraid.
5: The outrageousness is that Blackwater is a private company with connections to the U.S. executive branch. We tend to think that wars should be conducted by soldiers, who are accountable to both the executive and public opinion, rather than by mercenaries, who are accountable only to the person who writes the checks.
IN this case, the fact that the check-writer is more or less the v.p. effectively amounts to yet another consolidation of executive power without congressional or public oversight. They can do whatever the fuck they want in Iraq because their boss is a warlord.
7: That's not the behavior ogged wrote about, or to which I referred, though.
It's the behavior that led to them being suspended, anyway. And I think the outrageous part is not that they're helping Iraqis get guns.
8:"They can do whatever the fuck they want in Iraq because their boss is a warlord."
I really can't mention the answer to the problem of our local warlord misusing our tax monies for his own corrupt ambitions, because it is so very fucking illegal. Liberal process politics has become kinda irrelevant, because the mercenaries will be paid by our corporate masters with tax money long after the state army has left Iraq.
The people know what to do in Iraq. Militias, their own condottieres, and buy a bunch of arms. America will learn soon enough.
The New Surveillance State makes freedom complicated. We are gonna need hackers.
Have people read the Naomi Klein article in Harper's about a post-national world?
5: Can you explain your thinking on this a little more? To me it seems bad that the firm hired to provide security has likely armed the people they're fighting against, and that the average Iraqi stuck in the middle of a civil war isn't going to be terribly thrilled that the other side got weapons from Americans.
Well, I suppose we all have different thresholds of outrage. Nonetheless, in a country that is in the opening stages of a brutal civil war, flooding it with weaponry is a horrible idea no matter how you look at it.
4: It's happening in a local level too. The LAPD doesn't have a monopoly of usable force.
Hey, it'll all be moot when the next phase gets going.
To me, it seems like it would be extremely bad that the firm is profiting from stoking the flames of a conflict that they're supposed to be involved in extinguishing. And if they really are profiteering, then it casts these random shootings in a whole new light.
13:isn't going to be terribly thrilled that the other side got weapons from Americans.
About as mad as Democrats angry about consultants, campaign managers, pollsters shifting to the other side for money. Kids die for lack of health care as Carville & Zogby get a little richer.
What is fungible is amoral. Fetishization fails.
The Condottierre switched sides, betrayed, raped & pillaged but remained admired like a fine sword, for that was all he was, and a sword does what a sword does. A sword contains no morality.
When we fetishized markets we also fetishized armies and politics. There ain't no moral objects.
I'll quit picking on ya.
and that the average Iraqi stuck in the middle of a civil war isn't going to be terribly thrilled that the other side got weapons from Americans.
I don't think there is an average Iraqi anymore, in part, because, per Nir Rosen, I'm not sure there is an Iraq for people to be from anymore. There are armed camps that are defined by all manner of rules. I doubt very much that anyone is selling black market weapons to only one side. I suspect that "Iraqis" are understandably angry at us for the chaos. And perhaps some of them seize on the weapons trade as something to point to. But the borders are porous, the weapons are coming in any case, and I suspect the American who sells guns is as likely to sell it to you (good) as to your enemy (bad).
The real scary part is that Blackwater isn't just a war-profiteering and war-fighting organization employed exclusively by the US government (perhaps not so different from the CIA), but it's run by near-fanatical, anti-intellectual Republicans. It's the paramilitary branch of the Republican party, currently operating overseas. Right now they're happy because they share all their goals with Dick Cheney. What the hell is going to happen when a Democratic president tries to give these people orders?
Exactly. And as Dave Neuwert has detailed, the stage has been set for the stabbed-in-the-back theme and the Freikorps.
Yep, that is the scary part for us. Blackwater is seriously connected in to the Republican fund-raising network: large chucks of the big contracts just get recycled back into the party. The scary part for Iraqis is that there are 30,000 men with guns running around who can shoot you if they feel like it, and there's not a damn thing they can do about it.
I am not familiar with the Freikorps.
The scary part for Iraqis is that there are 30,000 men with guns running around who can shoot you if they feel like it, and there's not a damn thing they can do about it.
My understanding is that the number is much larger, and that the specific group so empowered varies by region.
Ned, I'd encourage you to read about the Freikorps. It's an importance piece of making sense of interwar Germany and the rise of Hitler.
I'm trying to become informed about history but it takes a long time to read books about history in such a way that when I am on page 100 I have any memory of what happened on page 50. I've been reading David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace for the last 6 weeks.
The Freikorps were right-wing paramilitary groups that emerged in the wake of Germany's defeat in WWI. They were mercenaries for hire in the service of right-wing causes, such as the suppression of the Communists. Here's the Wikipedia page.
26: Fucking awesome book. After you finish that one, try Benny Morris's Righteous Victims.
The Freikorps is quite different than e.g. Blackwater, though, because they were reactionary ideologues operating in their own country. The proper U.S comparison would be like a bunch of pissed-off Rush Limbaugh fans getting together with guns to beat down the hippie commies. With the difference that the Freikorps were actual recent military vets as opposed to bilious middle-aged couch potatoes, and the hippie commies of the time really were mounting a revolution.
27:That page made me so sad...again. Poor Karl & Roza. So I looked for the ILP and POUM and the Int'l Brigades for a model, Leftists who didn't want to be Jesus or Gandhi. But they lost too. Fifty years of fascism. The Left can't fight.
Maybe the Law will save us. Lots of flowers, free love, and free speech. These blogs kill fascists.
29: One word:NOLA. Ethnic cleansing in Redland.
Bob! Stop being so maudlin!
These blogs kill fascists.
Heh. Got that!
A friend had a This Machine Kills Fascists sticker across his laptop. I can't remember today whether he works for Facebook or the NSA.
I can't remember today whether he works for Facebook or the NSA.
Really? Little or no difference?
The assumption has been that the Blackwater counter-insurgency techs will return to the US at some point. IIRC their base is somewhere in Carolina.
"The attempt, that is, to revive the Zimmerwald Left in theory and practise during the darkest years of the Twentieth Century, in the most unpromising circumstances. That was bold, in a sense of the word that has been lost to an age pundits who are persuaded that a slight inflection in a Brown speech on Darfur can so be characterised. That was revolutionary." ..."Lenin" of Lenin's Tomb, 9/16/07
"Our militants, grouped in the international working Face against the war, fight since the beginning of this guerrecontre their own imperialism.
Comrades! We want to speak like would have made your large disappeared: Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, universally admired symbols of the international revolutionary proletariat. No moment, our voice merged with that of the brigands imperialists who caused this war. Since the first hour, we are drawn up against the imperialisms of London and Paris as well as against the bloody dictatorships of Berlin and Moscow." ...DG
Maudlin! I laugh & I cry and smirk simultaneously. The hyper-sentimentality and bitter nihilism of the drug-addled failed Romantic. Flippanter thinks I whine. Well I don't show the part of me that laughs at the [deleted], in a totally non-partisan, non-ideological, objective kinda way of course.
There must be some way outa here, said the joker to the thief. I'm gonna take a nap.
31 was crazy.
the problem is the stuff in 22.
Aren't a large number of the blackwaer people hired locally? ie, they are iraqis.
37:Ethnic Cleansing needn't involve killing. Move em out & keep them out will do
New Orleans Indymedia ...I won't link to all the articles that demonstrate ethnic cleansing here
Naomi Klein just wrote a book. Incidentally:"was crazy" doesn't give me much to work with.
39: Don't mind Yoyo. I'm always drunk too, but Yoyo doesn't handle it well.
I really don't see 'ethnic cleansing' when people are moved from LA to TX in an unplanned way. not caring about black people? sure. but its not ethinc cleansing.
and i'm not drunk, just baked.
41:I didn't think you would read the links. It's about various methods used to keep them from moving back in. And it was planned, probably in days before the hurricane hit, to change the demographics of LA.
Aw, never mind. The point was the domestic use of Blackwater for political purposes.
I still don't see why they woudl want to change the demographics of NOLA and houston. Its not like building a wall to keep mexicans in a foreign country.
I read the links, but it just sounds like protection of property, not something racial.
IIRC their base is somewhere in Carolina.
Moyock, NC, my high school girlfriend's hometown. You drive all the way to the ocean, then all the way to the Virginia border and there you are.
44:Well, the changes after Katrina have made Louisiana a solid Republican state. The advantages of having your partisans geographically concentrated (Solid South) in a period of extreme politics are too much to go into here. But remember the McManus Theory:Takes a committed 10% of a population to break a gov't, and 20% to take over. You don't need majorities.
But this has got me so depressed. From charleycarp in a comment at ObsWi
"...with the likely timeframe for any such course of action being over the next eight to 10 months, after the presidential primaries have probably been decided, but well before the November 2008 elections."
Well-played and as expected, Karl. If HRC has the nomination, her base will turn on her. If Edwards, unlikely, he will have a lot of trouble backing away from some of his previous statements in the face of dead American heroes, the filthy fucking traitor. Yeah, Edwards will win a ton of Southern States, Petey. And it could get a lot crazier, but not from the left. They'll just whimper.
Prepare for President Giuliani.
Karl understands 1968 a lot better than the fucking liberals.
The theory goes that by dispersing the large number of black people in New Orleans into the surrounding states their voting power would be diluted and diminished. It's not entirely implausbile, but I think that the more plausible theory is the one advanced by Kanye West, namely that George W. Bush doesn't care about black people.
Of course, there is a confounding issue in that New Orleans really is in an unfortunate location, and while the port is probably useful enough to try to defend against flooding, it's not at all clear that it's a good place to (re)build housing so a bunch of unemployed people can sit around and live their lives. As long as the city is unlikely to be rebuilt it's a good way to beat up or George Bush, but if the push ever looked like it would succeed, it'd be worth re-thinking.
Well, the changes after Katrina have made Louisiana a solid Republican state.
Louisiana went for Bush over Kerry 57/42. That's fairly Republican already.
38 @Yoyo: No, 80% of Blackwater's 1000 staff in Iraq are U.S. citizens. Blackwater isn't doing logistics or food service; they're a private military. They are former U.S., Salvadoran, Chilean, S.African, etc. military. Their contract is to provide security for the State Dept and the CIA. They operate a fleet of black SUVs (armored, I assume) and 'Little Bird' helicopters. CIA and State also have contracts with Triple Canopy and Dyncorp. (Dyncorp has had a bigger contract with the Pentagon for the last seven years, flying over Colombia keeping the dirty war going.)
No one who knows, if anyone does, will say how many of the more than 180,000 contractors in Iraq are private military. Estimates range from 20,000 (Pentagon) to 50,000 (Intl Contractors Assn). It could be more, but it's manifestly not the whole 180,000 (which does include some Iraqis, and many workers from other countries).
It's a bad idea to call the armed ones "contractors", because it makes them sound like civilians and blurs the reality of who and what they are -- to the advantage of the mercs and the entities that hire them (which includes the Pentagon, companies doing business in Iraq, and companies doing "reconstruction"). If you don't want to call them mercenaries, which they are, then call them private military.
Some good reading: David Phinney on the formation and internal politics of the mercs' trade association, the IPOA:
"Private security in Iraq: whose rules?"
Louisiana did vote for Clinton. With the new demographics, it's unlikely that this will happen again. Given the actual Presidential administration we're talking about, I see no reason to assume that anything that happened as the result of their actions is politically random. They like what happened.
You know, I wouldn't be sorry to see a lot more of this kind of thing. It's obviously more convenient for those of us who live in the Maryland 8th, but the key is building the local support.