Taking Texas And The Nation Back

Democrats Won’t Stop Bush’s Mercenary Armies in Iraq

Posted by nytexan on May 12, 2007

I find this completely disturbing and this makes me very angry. Bush and Cheney will manage to continue the destruction in Iraq even if we bring the troops home.

The Democrats’ plan does almost nothing to address the second largest force in Iraq — the estimated 126,000 private military “contractors” who will stay put there as long as Congress continues funding the war.

The Shadow War in Iraq

While all of this is troubling, there is another disturbing fact which speaks volumes about the Democrats’ lack of insight into the nature of this unpopular war — and most Americans will know next to nothing about it. Even if the President didn’t veto their legislation, the Democrats’ plan does almost nothing to address the second largest force in Iraq — and it’s not the British military. It’s the estimated 126,000 private military “contractors” who will stay put there as long as Congress continues funding the war.

The 145,000 active duty U.S. forces are nearly matched by occupation personnel that currently come from companies like Blackwater USA and the former Halliburton subsidiary KBR, which enjoy close personal and political ties with the Bush administration.

Until Congress reins in these massive corporate forces and the whopping federal funding that goes into their coffers, partially withdrawing U.S. troops may only set the stage for the increased use of private military companies (and their rent-a-guns) which stand to profit from any kind of privatized future “surge” in Iraq.

At what million dollar mark in their bank accounts, will Bush, Cheney and their corporate buddies have to reach before they get every hired gun out of Iraq? Criminals, war profiteers, despicable beings.


4 Responses to “Democrats Won’t Stop Bush’s Mercenary Armies in Iraq”

  1. Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots said


    Monday, April 2nd, 2007

    “The Worse Things Get in Iraq, the More Privatized This War Becomes, The More Profitable This War Becomes” – Naomi Klein on the Privatization of the State

    Acclaimed author and journalist Naomi Klein spoke about the ‘privatization of the state’ at a recent talk in New York City. Klein is a widely read columnist for the Nation magazine and the London Guardian and author of the international bestseller, “No Logo.” Her forthcoming book is titled “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” [includes rush transcript]

  2. Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots said


    Monday, April 2nd, 2007

    Naomi Klein recently spoke at an event here in New York celebrating the launch of Jeremy Scahill’s first book, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” In her talk, Naomi Klein spoke about the privatization of the state.

    “The Worse Things Get in Iraq, the More Privatized This War Becomes, The More Profitable This War Becomes” – Naomi Klein on the Privatization of the State

    Acclaimed author and journalist Naomi Klein spoke about the ‘privatization of the state’ at a recent talk in New York City. Klein is a widely read columnist for the Nation magazine and the London Guardian and author of the international bestseller, “No Logo.” Her forthcoming book is titled “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”

    NAOMI KLEIN: This drive to the privatize every aspect of the state of government is about a 35-year-old campaign. Many people date it, many historians date it to the 1973 coup in Chile, which is something that is interesting in terms of Jeremy’s research, because he talks about how Blackwater are now hiring Chileans to go to Iraq, and I’ll let him do that. But the first example of the attempt to build a fully privatized corporate utopia was in Chile in 1973 after Pinochet’s coup, when he joined up with a team of economists from the University of Chicago to engage in that experiment.

    It is a different kind of colonial project. In Latin America, this project, which is often called neoliberalism, is referred to as neocolonialism. The first stage of colonialism was the opening of the veins of Latin America, as Eduardo Galeano describes it, the pillaging of raw resources, the exporting of raw resources. The second stage of colonialism — and, of course, that first stage never fully goes away — was pillaging the state. What had been constructed in the aftermath of the Great Depression and during the post-war boom years — the construction of healthcare systems, education systems, roadways, railways — but this is really what was launched in Chile with the help of the Chicago boys: the strip mining of the state itself.
    The way I imagine this corporate project, this privatization project, is if we imagine the state as a kind of an octopus with all of these limbs. And for the past thirty years, and certainly in this country since Reagan, what the privatization campaign has really been doing is lopping off the limbs of the state — the phone system, the roadways, these sort of non-essential services, if you will. And after you’ve chopped off all the limbs, all you have left is the center, is what they call the core.

    And what the Bush administration has really been doing is going for the core, privatizing those core essential government services that are so inherently part of what we think of as the state, that it almost seems impossible to imagine that they could be privatized, like the government itself, like cutting Social Security checks, like welfare, like prisons, like the army, which is where Blackwater fits in.

    What’s so extraordinary about what has happened in Iraq — and Amy mentioned the “Baghdad Year Zero” article — is that you really have all of these layers of colonialism and neocolonialism, this quest for privatization, forming a kind of a perfect storm in that country. On the one hand, you have sort of old-school colonial pillage, which is, let’s go for the oil. And as many of you know, Iraq has a new oil law. It’s passed through cabinet, hasn’t yet passed through parliament. But, really, it legalizes pillage. It legalizes pillage. It legalizes the extraction of 100% of the profits from Iraq’s oil industry, which is precisely the conditions that created the wave of Arab nationalism and the reclaiming of the resources in the 1950s through the ’70s. So it’s an undoing of that process and a straight-up resource grab, old-school colonialism.

    Layered on top of that, you have sort of colonialism 2.1, which is what I was researching when I was in Iraq, which is the looting of the Iraqi state, what was built up under the banner of Arab nationalism, the industry, the factories. The kind of rapid-fire, shock therapy-style strip-mining privatization that we saw in the former Soviet Union in the ’90s, that was the idea, that was Plan A for Iraq, that the US would just go in there with Blackwater guarding Paul Bremer and would sell off all of Iraq’s industries. So you had the old-school colonial, then you had the new school.

    And then you had the post-modern privatization, which was the idea that the US military was actually going to war, the US Army was going to war, to loot itself, which is a post-modern kind of innovation, right? If we remember, Thomas Friedman told us less than a decade ago that no two countries with a McDonald’s have ever gone to war. Now, we go to war with McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, in tow. And so, the process of waging war is a form of self-pillage. Not only is Iraq being pillaged, but the United States coffers of this government are being pillaged. So we have these three elements, all converging this perfect storm over this country.

    And one of the things that I think is most important for progressives to challenge is the discourse that everything in Iraq is a disaster. I think we need to start asking and insisting, disaster for who, because not everybody is losing. It’s certainly a disaster for the Iraqi people. It’s certainly a disaster for US taxpayers. But what we have seen — and it’s extremely clear if we track the numbers — is that the worse things get in Iraq, the more privatized this war becomes, the more profitable this war becomes for companies like Lockheed Martin, Bechtel, and certainly Blackwater. There is a steady mission creep in Iraq, where the more countries pull out, the more contractors move in, which Jeremy has documented so well and will talk more about.

    The danger. These are the stakes that I think we need to understand. And I really do want to keep this brief, so that we have a fruitful discussion afterwards. What are the stakes here? The stakes could not be higher. What we are losing is the incentive, the economic incentive, for peace, the economic incentive for stability. When you can create such a booming economy around war and disaster, around destruction and reconstruction, over and over and over again, what is your peace incentive?

    There was a phrase that came out of the Davos conference this year. Every year, there’s always a big idea to emerge from the World Economic Summit in Davos. This year, the big idea was the Davos dilemma. Now, what is the Davos dilemma? The Davos dilemma is this: for decades, it’s been conventional wisdom that generalized mayhem was a drain on the global economy, that you could have an individual shock or a crisis or a war that could be exploited for privatization, but on the whole — and this was the Thomas Friedman thesis — there needed to be stability in order to have steady economic growth; the Davos dilemma is that it’s no longer true. You can have generalized mayhem, you can have wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, threats of nuclear war with Iran, a worsening of the Israeli occupation, a deepening of violence against Palestinians, you can have a terror in the face of global warming, you could have increased blowback from resource wars, you can have soaring oil prices, but, lo and behold, the stock market just goes up and up and up.

    In fact, there’s an index called the Guns-to-Caviar index, which for seventeen years has been measuring an inverse relationship between the sale of fighter jets and executive luxury jets. And for seventeen years, this index, the Guns-to-Caviar index — the guns are the fighter jets, the caviar are the executive jets — has found that when fighter jets go up, executive jets go down. When executive jets go up, fighter jets go down. But all of a sudden, they’re both going up, which means that there’s a lot of guns being sold, enough guns to buy a hell of a lot of caviar. And Blackwater is, of course, at the center of this economy.

    The only way to combat an economy that has eliminated the peace incentive, of course, is to take away their opportunities for growth. And their opportunities for growth are ongoing climate instability and ongoing geopolitical instability. Their threats — the only thing that can challenge their economy is relative geopolitical and climatic peace and stability, so I suppose we have our work cut out for us to fight the war profiteers.

    AMY GOODMAN: Naomi Klein, her forthcoming book is called The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

  3. nytexan said

    Thanks for the comment. I have put Democracy Now in the Allies section of my blogroll.

  4. Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots said

    Pardon me. I especially benefit from the use of a Preview Button as you see.

    Chris Hedges says that few Democrats understand the seriousness of this situation, but that among Democrats, Jim Webb does have the background and training to see what is going on here.

    Chris Hedges at Democracy Now

    Monday, February 19th, 2007

    Chris Hedges on “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America”

    AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the religious right and the rise of it in this country. A new book by Chris Hedges is called American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. It investigates the highly organized and well-funded dominionist movement. The book looks at their agenda, examines the movement’s origins and motivations and uncovers its ideological underpinnings. American Fascists argues that dominionism seeks absolute power in a Christian state. According to Hedges, the movement bears a strong resemblance to the young fascist movements in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and ’30s.

    Chris Hedges was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times for many years, where he won a Pulitzer Prize. He’s also the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and Losing Moses on the Freeway. Chris Hedges has a Master’s degree in theology from Harvard University and is the son of a Presbyterian minister. He is currently a senior fellow at the Nation Institute and joins me in studio now. Welcome to Democracy Now!

    CHRIS HEDGES: Thank you.

    AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Why did you write this book?

    CHRIS HEDGES: Anger. I mean, I grew up in the Church and, of course, as you mentioned, graduated from seminary, and I think these people have completely perverted and distorted and manipulated the Christian message into something that is the very antithesis of certainly what Jesus preached in the Gospels.

    AMY GOODMAN: Who are “these people”?

    CHRIS HEDGES: These are — you know, they’re not — we use terms like “evangelical” and “fundamentalist” to describe them, and I think that those are incorrect terms. Traditional fundamentalists always called on believers to remove themselves from the contaminants of secular society, shun involvement in politics. Evangelical leaders like Billy Graham’s always warned followers to keep their distance from political power. He, of course, was burned by Richard Nixon, came to Nixon’s defense and then when it publicly came out that Nixon lied, it taught a lesson to Graham.

    This is a new movement, as embodied by people like James Dobson or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, who call for the creation of a Christian state, who talk about attaining secular power. And they are more properly called dominionists or Christian reconstructionists, although it’s not a widespread term, but they’re certainly not traditional fundamentalists and not traditional evangelicals. They fused the language and iconography of the Christian religion with the worst forms of American nationalism and then created this sort of radical mutation, which has built alliances with powerful rightwing interests, including corporate interests, and made tremendous inroads over the last two decades into the corridors of power.

    AMY GOODMAN: Why the term “dominionist”?

    CHRIS HEDGES: It come out of Genesis, you know, where God gives humankind dominion over creation. It’s articulated by ideologues, such as Rousas Rushdoony, Francis Schaeffer and others, and essentially is a new concept within the radical Christian right, and it’s used sparingly. And some dominionists don’t like the term, but I think it denotes or is probably a better term for denoting those people who want to take political power.

    AMY GOODMAN: On the back of your book, Chris, is a quote from your professor at Harvard, Dr. James Luther Adams, who said that in a few decades we would all be fighting “Christian fascists.” Who was he, and why did he think this?

    CHRIS HEDGES: James Luther Adams was my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School. He had spent the years 1935 and 1936 in Germany working with Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the Confessing Church or anti-Nazi church and eventually was picked up by the Gestapo and told to leave the country. He came back — and this was in the early 1980s, when I was in seminary — and saw the articulation of this new political religion, this religion that talked about seizing control of mainstream denominations, as well as institutions, creating a parallel media empire through Christian radio and broadcasting, and ultimately taking control of the government itself.

    And he understood, in a visceral way, how when countries fall into despair — of course, this began — it was the time that began the assault on the American working class, which has been accelerated and essentially left tens of millions of people within our own country dispossessed — he understood how demagogues use that despair. And I think we can say there, in many ways, has been a kind of Weimarization of the American working class. And he saw what we were doing through globalization, what we were doing to our working class and our middle class, coupled with the rise of these so-called Christian demagogues, as a frightening and toxic combination, which, if left unchecked, would destroy our democracy.

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