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22 September 2007

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Ken Larson

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak. I believed another Vietnam could be avoided with defined missions and the best armaments in the world.

It made no difference.

We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). If you would like to read how this happens please see:

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/03/spyagency200703

Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control. Government and industry are merging and that is very dangerous.

There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

For more details see:

http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2006/11/odyssey-of-armaments.html

Homer

pl: The resumption of State Department use of Blackwater protection answers the question as to whether or not there is any reality to the sovereignty of the Iraqi government.

Perhaps the question will be better answered if the US says `no' to Maliki when he proposes the expulsion of the US by way of the UN Security Resolutions which are the basis of the US' presence in Iraq.

Charles I

This a good development. At least the charade, well, er, the endlessly pathetic attempt at rosy dissembling, is now notoriously bankrupt. This will empower the anti central government forces, & cast Malaki et al in a light more in accord with reality. This could be a departure point of a sorts. The utter failure of the Shia, albeit in a country in which they did not, in fact, govern in the first place, can now be acknowledged with irrefutable evidence which will enter the political discourse in Washington. New dynamics will be generated. Perhaps there will be blowback hastening withdrawl/abondanment of the Shia government. Or rendering it more problematic and more likely a withdrawal under fire.

At least there is something different: the emperor has been stripped down another layer, down to his skivvies. The birthday suit can't be far behind. We might then get to the baby out with the bathwater phase, and this could only be a step toward home for your soldiers.

Paul

As to the alleged arms smuggling by Blackwater, Reuters references a Blackwater statement: "..when it was uncovered internally that two employees were stealing from the company, Blackwater immediately fired them and invited the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to conduct a thorough investigation."

Invited BATF? WTF.

That's interesting because government contractors are required to report that sort of thing to the FBI. What's with the BATF in this matter? What about Blackwater's investigation? What about the local sheriff? There seems to be more to this than meets the eye.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

Whose bright idea in the United States government has it been to use a mercenry force un-accountable to any authority in Iraq?

Is this not opening up to the wrath of the Iraq's people - be they Shia or Sunni?

Is this not making US open to War Crimes under Geneva Conventions?

And why is US using them, cannot they be sworn in as US forces?

Am I missing something here?

Jean Soucy

Col Lang, I am not a Fan of Blackwater and always use Eriynes for PSD in Iraq, but I do not believe all the charges, and Ice Bottles on a cold February day is a reach, I don't believe they would Break Windshields nor would Blackwater folks take all the effort when they could shoot out the Windshield. But the answer is the US Runs Iraq. Iraqi's Govern, but we run it. Iraqi's know the rules when security vehicles appear with sirens and flashining lights, to get out of the way and stop. Approach the Convoy and you are subject to the Rules of Engagement. Those rules were made by the CPA and remained in effect after the turn over in Jun 2004.
These Security folks are all well trained and fearless, many have died from all of the Security Companies. The Iraqi and US Government use these Companies because of their aggressiveness. I Know of No security Company that has lost a client. As a client, I appreciate that. When the Bad guys stop killing indiscriminately, and Iraqi Security Forces can Protect their leaders, the US will leave and the Iraqi's can again run their country.

Steve

It demonstrates just how far along this fiasco has come. A few short years ago, it was asked of one American official what would happen if after the then upcoming Iraqi elections, the new government asked the US to leave. The official responded that of course we'd leave.

Now that answer may well have been disingenuous, but the question was considered legitimate.

Fast forward to today, and any pretense that the US gives a rat's azz about the Iraqi government, or that the government plays any role in US plans at all, has been all but dropped.

The Blackwater incident is just the most recent, vivid example.

A further example:

A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that an American oil firm had signed off on a deal with the Kurdish authorities, cutting the central government out of the decision altogether, since it's yet to pass the much-heralded oil bill.

Aside from the particulars of Iraq, I think the ultimate question for American citizens and government to consider is the mark (stain imho) that widespread reliance on private mercenaries to fight our wars does to the nature of our defense establishment and its relationship to the Republic?

I would pose this question even if Blackwater had an exemplary record. If the United States is going to send troops overseas, I would prefer that those troops have a patch that reads "US Army", and an American flag on the sleeve.

It's the nation's committment, not a corporation's.

Cold War Zoomie

No-one is "running" Iraq.

That's the problem.

The Lounsbury

As I enjoy the antics of Lqaeda fil mghrib, may I idly ask re "Who is going to run this place, (Iraq) us or them?" This question was foolishly asked this week by a popular American TV talk show host. His question picked at the scab of underlying American attitudes toward Iraq. - which American show was this, a well known one?

Well regardless, agreed.

Mo

Jean Soucy,

You are obviously very confused. Blackwater and their ilk are there to protect from the guys that kill very discriminately. The people who suffer attacks from those that kill indiscriminately in Iraq are not afforded the protection of private security. Nor are they safe fron said private armies when they kill indiscriminately.

Homer

Israel bombs Syria.......

The State Department's mercenary wing mows down several civilians in Iraq....

Maliki flies to the US

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flies to US.....

Instead of heading to the WH, Maliki heads straight for the UN.

With `top diplomats and officials from Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Syria', al-Maliki has a meeting at the UN with Rice and Ban Ki-moon

Countdown to expulsion.....

Iraqi government no longer gives its consent?

Iraqi government no longer requests the presence of the multinational force in Iraq ?

Iraqi government has decided to terminate the mandate?

William R. Cumming

Are there written contracts with these guys? Standard language in contracting usually indicates the law that applies. If no such language the law of the place of signing applies. What is US law if DOD contractor domestically engages in unlawful activity? Prosecution by the States assuming no applicable federal law. This could really get interesting if families of deceased decide to pursue civilly in domestic US courts. The recently renamed American Trial Lawyers Assocition must have a package developed for runners to go solicity domestic US actions by Iraqis against US contractors. By the way do we know which law firms and lobbyist represent the government of Iraq in DC? Bet that is a long list. Probably only the Saudi's is longer. Also who represents Libya now no longer a terrorist nation?
See war by other means just requires looking over the DOJ list of foreign lobbyists!

mlaw230

This appears to be more evidence of the growing reliance on corporatism and the decline of nationalism in deference to somethin else. For the West this may be Corporatism for the East perhaps fundamentalism or tribalism.

As to Blackwater, one wonders who they work for? Forget the Iraqi Governemnt, could the USG kick them out? When ultimately this occupation in Iraq winds down, what happens to the tens of thousands of mercenaries, does Blackwater fold up shop or do they find "other work".

Christopher Lasch called it the revolt of the elites, and the more we hear the more it appears that our elites serve the interest of these corporate elites more directly than they do the citizens of any country.

This is the primary consequence of globalization, rather than the flatheads warm and fuzzy glow. In a global economy, with mobile capital, information, and skilled labor, why should these economic elites remain loyal to the "average joe" of his home nation? They are not beholden to any nation, for anything, and nations themsleves will bid for their presence. Some of the Corporations are already large enough that they lack only a standing Army and geographic boundaries to become a nation, add Blackwater's operatives and they become a virtual nation state, immune to even the normal standards of civil liberties.

I understand that Halliburton has moved its headquarterrs to Dubai, so by what measure is it an "American Company?" If halliburton decides it wants to own and control the oil fields of northern Iraq, what are we going to do about it?

eaken

Ken:

Want to see how military and industrial complex is one giant milkshake? Look into the India Nuclear Deal, Knowledge Initiative India, and how they were intertwined and who benefits from KIA.

Babak:

I think you are missing the obvious reason. A tendancy by this administration to do things which line pockets. As for whose idea it was, I would venture it is within Cheney's domain.

On a related note, you might find this interesting:

http://public.cq.com/public/20061122_homeland.html

Montag

Didn't we learn anything from the British use of Hessians during the American Revolution? Our side didn't appreciate it, I believe.

Homer

Jean Soucy: But the answer is the US Runs Iraq.

How do you explain Southern Iraq, a sort of Islamistan?

How do you explain the absolute absence of pro-US legislation?

Jean Soucy: When the Bad guys stop killing indiscriminately, and Iraqi Security Forces can Protect their leaders, the US will leave and the Iraqi's can again run their country.

Are you suggesting that if PM Maliki evokes the relevant UN Security Resolutions, the US will not leave?


James Pratt

If there was indeed an insurgent sniper firing at the Blackwater security detail, rather than a truck exhaust backfiring or someone firing off blanks, then the operation was an insurgent political success, they provoked the brutal response all insurgencies hope for. Maliki realized that, the State Department still hasn't. I wonder if they care.

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