Friday, October 19, 2007

Le Mercenaire Americain

Le Mercenaire Americain
These few young men
The few who dare
To battle in hell
Le Mercenaire!

-- Warren Zevon, "Jungle Work"

The Blackwater USA scandal reveals a number of disturbing things about America's security infrastructure: Most notable among them is that when the nation that spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined engages in wars, it has to hire mercenaries to fight them.

An October 17th Wall Street Journal article stated that "U.S. officials face a blunt reality as they weigh whether to replace Blackwater USA as the prime protector of U.S. diplomats in Iraq: They have no easy alternative." Presumably, the official military can't take the job because it's already strapped fighting wars in Iran and Afghanistan. (It's interesting to note, though, that Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Michael Mullen recently said, "From a military standpoint there is more than enough reserve" to conduct combat operations against Iran if the Bush administration wants to do that.)

Blackwater's contract to guard diplomats in Iraq runs out in May, but officials say it would take at least that long to find another private security company to take over from them. Even then, the new company would have to hire the mercenaries Blackwater just let go, because hiring and training new guards would take several months.

So it's a fait accompli; we're stuck with Blackwater and other private security firms fighting our wars for us. How's that for your peace dividend?

Lawyers, Guns and Money

Defenders of the supposed need for outfits like Blackwater will argue that even history's best trained, best equipped military--i.e. the one we have--can't be the best trained and best equipped at everything. There's resonance in that argument, but one would think that history's best military would be trained and equipped to occupy countries, which is something that militaries used to invade other countries generally have to do. One might also think than an occupying military might be prepared to protect its own diplomats, since diplomats have a penchant for flocking to countries their militaries occupy.

Maybe we're being too critical. After all, guarding State Department types in hostile territory is kind of an esoteric mission, a perk if you will. Except, yeah, providing security for American Embassies has been a core mission of the U.S. Marine Corps for donkey's years. But let's not get hung up on a minor detail.

Our military's raison d’être is to defend the country and protect its interests overseas, and on those scores our armed services have, uh…

Well, let's see. The 9-11 attacks were a coordinated series of fourth generation warfare style air raids on American soil. Our military did not defend us from those attacks, nor did it deter them. One could argue that the military isn't organized or structured to counter those kinds of attacks except for the existence of something called the North American Aerospace Defense Command. The U.S. and Canada established NORAD in 1958 to protect North America from nuclear-armed Soviet long-range bombers. Today, NORAD says that "The events of September 11, 2001" demonstrated its "continued relevance to North American security." Hmm. What was it doing to justify its existence between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11? Keeping track of Santa's sleigh?

Our military misadventures overseas subsequent to 9/11 have proven that the U.S. form of military might is no longer an effective means of achieving America's foreign aims and can be defeated strategically by asymmetric forces and weapons. The shame of it is that we didn't need to pour a sultan's ransom worth of strength, muscle and blood into Iraq to expose our critical vulnerability to the bad guys. They were already well aware of it.

Dad, Get Us Out of This

The U.S. isn't just outsourcing its military security tasking, as the recently reported SITE Intelligence Group affair illustrates. SITE, one of several firms that specialize in intercepting al Qaeda's internet communications, had its electronic cover virtually blown when someone in the White House released Osama bin Laden's latest video tape before Osama bin Laden did. Teeth and eyeballs flew in the subsequent furor over who might have leaked the video, but the incident features far more important issues. The first was illustrated by White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend's statement that the government needs the help of private individuals and companies to fight the war on terror. Why does the government need private help breaking into al Qaeda's intranet, do you think? Is the National Security agency too busy listening in on Uncle Fred's phone sex conversations? Is the Central Intelligence Agency still tied up helping James Bond duke it out with SMERSH?

Further, government security and intelligence agency operations are--at least in theory--bound by congressionally imposed legal constraints. From all appearances, however, Blackwater operations in Iraq are completely unrestricted by either Iraqi or U.S. law. Are the spy-for-hire outfits working under the same no-holds-barred arrangements that the gunslinger types have?

Moreover, the activities of these mercenary groups aren't limited to actions overseas. Blackwater operatives arrived in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit and well before federal and non-governmental aid organizations did. Tales abound of Blackwater personnel driving around the city in unmarked cars with no license plates, brandishing M-16s and other assault weapons, and commandeering a private residence for use as a headquarters. Many if not all of them had worked in Iraq. One of them complained to Jeremy Scahill of The Nation that he was only making $350 a day plus per diem on the New Orleans gig. Another private security firm engaged in a shootout with a group of what the company's chief referred to as "black gangbangers" at an overpass near the city's poor Ninth Ward neighborhood.

With this kind of sanctioned overt vigilantism going on in a major U.S. city, what sort of undercover shenanigans are private spies like the SITE Group up to within America's borders?


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword and ePluribus. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books, ISBN: 9781601640192) will be available March 1, 2008.


  1. Anonymous2:03 PM

    You hit the nail on the head in the last couple of paragraphs, Jeff.

    Because Blackwater operates outside US and Iraqi legal supervision, it can do pretty much what it (and the current administraton) wants with near impunity. If there is blowback because of mercenary actions, it is usually absorbed by our occupying troops.

    Similarly, Rita Katz and other organizations of SITE's ilk can launder or create propaganda tapes purportedly from our deadliest enemies at will.

    These are the new Praetorian Guard, loyal only to the unitary executive. It is a black time in the history of the United States of America indeed.

    ADCS USNR-R(ret)

  2. gypsy howell5:01 PM

    Today, NORAD says that "The events of September 11, 2001" demonstrated its "continued relevance to North American security."

    Hmmm. Seems to ME that the events of Sept 11 prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that NORAD is completely f*&king useless when it comes to actually defending the country. Might as well defund them if they're just going to sit around in the hangar, or whatever the hell they were doing that day, while 4 hijacked airplanes flew around the country for a few hours smashing into valuable targets.

    These people should be ashamed to get out of bed in the morning, let alone crow about "keeping us safe."

    As for Blackwater... be afraid. Be very afraid. These people are nothing but taxpayer-funded war criminals.

  3. gypsy howell5:07 PM

    But on a lighter note, I read on another blog today that when Hillary takes over, she's going to rename the mercenaries "Whitewater."

    Karma is a bitch.

    (Aplogies in advance if this shows up about 8 times- blogger won't post...)

  4. It is perhaps of little consolation to point out that private security contractors cannot engage in offensive operations in any overseas theater, or that charges being leveled against them in the conduct of day-to-day duties are those that have been leveled many times over against uniformed personnel in this grand misadventure of ours. Ditto the lack of redress that frustrates and angers host populations. Has the vast majority not gone about its (yes, lucrative) business with less incident and controversy than their military counterparts?

    AFAIK, the idea behind the privatization of the military is that it lends a great degree of "float" to our capability without the fuss and bother, or long term expense, of uniformed expansion. Contractors are more easily de-contracted (not to mention hired to begin with) than soldiers are demobilized after the passage of any given crisis or crunch. Not necessarily a bad thing.

    If yer foreign policy is hair-brained and half-baked to begin with, however, contractors are only likely to make it easier to continue along with it, without having to ask the hard questions. Such as, "Is this worth our time and effort to continue in this fashion?" They currently make up almost half our number, for instance, in Iraq, and that number will likely increase as we vacate certain areas and transfer certain duties.

    I'm not a contractor myself nor do I have an association with any, but shouting "mercenary" in a crowded theater is a tack once taken by those opposed to the end of the draft and the introduction of the AVF. Let's not forget that the fundamental issue, as always, is what in the hell we ought or ought not be doing out in the world - less so who ought to be doing it.

    But I'm willing to entertain other views of the matter.

  5. MME,

    Praetorian Guard is exactly the phrase I've used several times. Contracted by the executive branch, outside legislative oversight of Congress.


    I liked the Hillary joke.


    You gave us much to think about, but I think your use of the mercenary/fire analogy is flawed. It's a good thing to shout fire in a theater if there's really a fire. And these soldiers and spies of fortune are really mercenaries.

  6. Brad DeLong at Salon a little more than a year ago:

    Gen. William Westmoreland, testifying before President Nixon's Commission on an All-Volunteer [Military] Force, denounced the idea of phasing out the draft and putting only volunteers in uniform, saying that he did not want to command "an army of mercenaries." Friedman, a member of the 15-person commission, interrupted him. "General," Friedman asked, "would you rather command an army of slaves?" Westmoreland got angry: "I don't like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves." And Friedman got rolling: "I don't like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries." And he did not stop: "If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general. We are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher."


    Just sayin', Jeff.

  7. Folks who take an oath and subject themselves to military justice laws and have to serve out their term of service, can't just walk away if they find themselves in a conflict they don't like are not mercenaries, whether they're drafted or they volunteer.

  8. mer·ce·nar·y /ˈmɜrsəˌnɛri/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mur-suh-ner-ee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation adjective, noun, plural -nar·ies.
    1. working or acting merely for money or other reward; venal.

    Sure they are, with other motivations often in play.

    Not tryin' to pick a fight, but money motivates. We do recognize that. With every bonus and pay raise given.

  9. I'm not cynical about it, Jeff, but not a soul's doin' this for free, and mercenary or no, it pays the mortgage. Along with much else.

    Isn't this one of the chief complaints about "careerists"?

  10. Perhaps instead of monetary inducement what we ought to offer the World's Finest Military is this: Don't come home til you've achieved our objectives. That'd speed things up a little, would it not? :)

  11. Anonymous8:01 AM

    If you bother to read Gibbon's Decline and Fall, he strongly emphasizes how Rome's hiring mercenaries who were increasingly answerable to nobody, and in the end began to choose the emperor (they provided his bodyguards), was one of the forces that destroyed the civilization that had once been the Roman Republic.

    Interestingly enough, he points out that many, if not the preponderance, of the mercenaries who brought on this decline were not Roman citizens, but rather natives of what was once Yugoslavia.

    The country of Pannonia and Dalmatia, which occupied the
    space between the Danube and the Hadriatic, was one of the last
    and most difficult conquests of the Romans. In the defence of
    national freedom, two hundred thousand of these barbarians had
    once appeared in the field, alarmed the declining age of
    Augustus, and exercised the vigilant prudence of Tiberius at the
    head of the collected force of the empire. ^26 The Pannonians
    yielded at length to the arms and institutions of Rome. Their
    recent subjection, however, the neighborhood, and even the
    mixture, of the unconquered tribes, and perhaps the climate,
    adapted, as it has been observed, to the production of great
    bodies and slow minds, ^27 all contributed to preserve some
    remains of their original ferocity, and under the tame and
    uniform countenance of Roman provincials, the hardy features of
    the natives were still to be discerned. Their warlike youth
    afforded an inexhaustible supply of recruits to the legions
    stationed on the banks of the Danube, and which, from a perpetual
    warfare against the Germans and Sarmazans, were deservedly
    esteemed the best troops in the service.

  12. gypsy howell8:48 AM

    I'm not cynical about it, Jeff, but not a soul's doin' this for free, and mercenary or no, it pays the mortgage. Along with much else.

    What I object to are the terms "volunteer" and "service" to describe what our modern military is. This gives them the veneer of some sort of altruistic, honorable-beyond-dispute motivation. As if they're candy stripers, or working in soup kitchens to feed the poor. They're no more "volunteers" than I am a "volunteer" at my company.

    Let's call it what it is. A JOB. For a paycheck. And then we can cut the holier-than-thou crap lionizing the military which thwarts our ability to discuss what these folks & this organization are actually DOING in our name around the world.

    Is that your point trish?

    (And of course the ones we're allowed to actually call 'mercenaries' are a quantum leap *more* dangerous to our society. At least the military is marginally answerable to our elected officials, at least theoretically. Blackwater is answerable to no one, except possibly the highest bidder. Which I know ain't me.)

  13. Anonymous10:24 AM

    So Trish..........

    In effect you are saying that because a member of the military receives a paycheck, that member is ib effect a mercenary and not a volunteer.

    This is egregious, and it is downright false. A member of the military swears to defend the constitution, and by extension "WE THE PEOPLE". This is true whether that military person volunteers to serve or is conscripted. A mercenary owes loyalty only to the contractor that hired him, and by extension to the corprate charter of that mercenary corporation.

    A danger exists that a branch of government (in this case the executive) can use this loyalty oath thing to its advantage by using mercenaries to execute otherwie illegal acts that the military could and would not engage in.

    The idea that one in the military should serve without pay simply because that individual volunteers is ridiculous.

    ADCS USNR-R(Ret)

  14. Hi you!

    Did you happen to catch Scahill on Bill Moyers Journal on Friday?

    The most chilling phrase was somthing like, our government is but a shell

  15. All the PMC's draw from the same small pool to fill jobs, especially when you consider the security clearances needed which nowadays seems to be about as valid as an MBA.

  16. ozebloke12:12 AM

    What I found most gobsmacking about Blackwater CEO Erik Prince's congressional testimony was the price put on Iraqi life. 15K was enough blood money - any more than that would just encourage Iraqis to get themselves killed !!!

    If you'd simply paid all 25 million Iraqis 15K each to rise up and overthrow Saddam in 2003 = $375 billion. So far you'd have saved yourself about $400 b (and counting), over 3000 American lives and who knows how many Iraqi dead, wounded and homeless and your international reputation wouldn't be in tatters.

    I know this sounds a little mercenary but it's a stone cold bargain if you ask me.

  17. Anonymous5:30 PM

    To receive pay for a job is not the point. To be trained according to explicit rules, to swear to uphold them, to "profess" to a particular code of conduct is what separates a "professional" from an amateur. Military professionals are just that. Mercenaries are not.

    By Trish's description, I can put on a lab coat and practice medicine because some fool will pay me. I don't have to have the knowledge base, obey the rules of medical practice, follow a code of ethics,or demonstrate to those paying me any evidence of my compliance with a standard code of practice. By golly, I AM a doctor because I can get paid for it!

    Military professionals are just that and it is naive and dangerous to conflate them with unregulated amateurs or ex-professionals no longer bound by any code. Would you want a retired plastic surgeon to work on your mug without knowing if he did hard time for malpractice and his clients all had to join the circus?

  18. William Bollinger10:47 AM

    Anyone who thinks the military does this for a paycheck wasn't an E-4 in the 70's. A paycheck was something you blew when you hit port or lost in a poker game. It sure wasn't a way to make a living.

    On the other hand, I've never believed in over-glorifying our all-volunteer troops. I'm well aware that most of them are just-out-of-high-school kids, barely responsible, and largely without a clue. As a brig guard, I saw some of the worst of our "boys", and it scares the hell out of me, thinking our freedom is in their hands.

    Mercs, loyal to their paycheck, and knowing what they're doing, are much scarier.

  19. Anonymous5:23 PM

    I have found a circumstance where mercenary (private) forces are both sanctioned by the constitution and historically successful. These are the instances when Letters of Marque were issued by Congress to primarily individual ship owners, but to landed forces as well.

    The first thing to note is that it was the Congress and not the President that was empowered to issue these letters, and that it was Congress that was responsible for the oversight of their bearers.

    Congressman and Presidential Candidate Ron Paul has in times past suggested that these Letters of Marque might be a more effective way to combat non-national enemies such as Al Queda that the expenditure of both our miliray and our national treasure to occupy foreign lands.

    I'd appreciate it if the posters on this site would weigh in on this possibility.

    Very respectfully,
    ADCS USNR-R(ret)

  20. Anonymous5:29 PM

    A year has passed since the terrible September 11th terror attacks, yet still we seem unable to locate Osama bin Laden or his al Qaida associates.

    President Bush has made it clear that he intends to use "all appropriate means" to oust Saddam Hussein, although everyone concedes that Iraq had nothing to do with September 11th. So why is the same approach not justified for the al Qaida criminals directly responsible for 3000 American deaths?

    We seem to have forgotten that our primary objective in the war on terror is to capture or kill bin Laden and his henchmen. One year ago, the desire for retribution against bin Laden was tangible. President Bush referred to finding him "dead or alive." And while the hunger for vengeance was understandable, the practical need to destroy al Qaida before it mounted another terror attack was urgent. Yet we have allowed the passage of time and the false specter of an Iraq threat to distract us from our original purpose. We’re preoccupied with an invasion of Iraq, which actually will benefit bin Laden by removing a secular regime led by his enemy Saddam Hussein. This vacuum may well lead to a more fundamentalist Kurd government in Iraq that aligns itself with al Qaida.

    Our troops in Afghanistan, and defense secretary Rumsfeld himself, are becoming increasingly frustrated over the lack of progress in locating bin Laden. Clearly we need to provide President Bush with innovative new tools to bring these criminals to justice. The drafters of the Constitution provided just such a tool to retaliate against attacks on America by groups not formally affiliated with a government: letters of marque and reprisal. Letters of marque and reprisal are especially suited to our modern campaign against terrorism, which is fought against individuals rather than governments. Essentially, marque and reprisal authorizes the President to use private parties to find international terrorists wherever they hide.

    Conventional armed forces are ill-suited to tracking down international terrorists. Our military invasion of Afghanistan undoubtedly has scattered al-Qaida throughout the Middle East and Europe. Marque and reprisal would create an incentive for individuals close to bin Laden to kill or capture him and his associates. This method in effect places a bounty on the heads of international terrorists, who often travel between countries, melt into civilian populations, or hide in remote areas. The goal is to avail ourselves of the knowledge and expertise of private parties, especially given the lack of western intelligence in many of the countries likely to harbor bin Laden. Marque and reprisal could turn the tables on the terrorists, forcing them to live as marked men. Terrorist should fear us, not the other way around.

    Ultimately, letters of marque and reprisal could help us avoid a wider war by bringing terrorists to justice without the need for military action- saving American lives in the process. I recently wrote defense Secretary Rumsfeld, urging administration support for my legislation, the "Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001." Unless and until the administration puts the focus back on bin Laden and al-Qaida, the horrific crimes of September 11th will remain unpunished.

    Dr Ron Paul from his website

  21. The issue of Blackwater is that it crosses a line from simple support to active execution of a nations political will by other means. That is the role of a chartered Armed Service subject to the rule of law and the Law of Armed Conflict.

    We are in this place because short sighted jerks like Dr Chu think its cheaper to let Blackwater pay its employees up front than provide decent benefits for servicemen-with the added plus of getting these folks for a long period of time to serve.

    Penny wise, pound foolish. That's the modus operandi of the military today. Remember when the powers that be thought that "Smart Per Diem" was the way to go?

  22. "The issue of Blackwater is that it crosses a line from simple support to active execution of a nations political will by other means. That is the role of a chartered Armed Service subject to the rule of law and the Law of Armed Conflict."

    Extremely well put.

  23. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Frameshop: The Prince
    by Jeffrey Feldman
    Sat Oct 20, 2007 at 11:10:02 AM PDT

    While the mainstream media has been murmuring about murders committed by Blackwater in Iraq, the last remnant of real American journalism has shed light on a darker story: Blackwater's operations here at home.

    Blackwater, it seems, is not just the key player in Bush's coalition of the willing, but a secret weapon in Bush and Cheney's plan to extinguish the American tradition of constitutional power and ignite a new era of royal power.

    When seen through the Blackwater incident, all of Bush's talk about his right to sole commanding authority over the army starts to make sense--Medieval sense.

    Jeffrey Feldman's diary :: ::
    And while the story of human rights abuses to Iraqis at the hands of Blackwater is important, the tale to be told in this incident is about a President who invaded a foreign country not to save the people therein, but as a strategy for transforming his own office--the office of the Presidency--into a form of rule reminiscent of the great royal estates that defined Europe before the age of constitutions.

    The key to royal power, of course, is not just unilateral decision making, but private armies--armies loyal not to the people or to the system or even to profit, but only to the throne.

    Royal Power at Street Level
    For most Americans, the image of royal power they hold in their heads comes from an engraving by Paul Revere of the 1770 Boston Massacre. The 'Red Coat' soldier, loyal to King George III, fired upon the people to squelch dissent. In our collective memory, this image of the king's soldiers firing upon the people is the spark that sets the revolution in motion--it is our point of origin as a people.

    The problem is not just Blackwater. There are now dozens and dozens of private armies hired by the Federal government, loyal too the President, and seemingly outside of any Constitutional process.

    In the light of that image of the Boston Massacre we all hold in our minds by virtue of being Americans, consider Jeremy Scahill's description of this incident in New Orleans--not Iraq, but Louisiana--following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina:

    Within two weeks of the hurricane, the number of private security companies registered in Louisiana jumped from 185 to 235. Some, like Blackwater, are under federal contract. Others have been hired by the wealthy elite, like F. Patrick Quinn III, who brought in private security to guard his $3 million private estate and his luxury hotels, which are under consideration for a lucrative federal contract to house FEMA workers.

    A possibly deadly incident involving Quinn's hired guns underscores the dangers of private forces policing American streets. On his second night in New Orleans, Quinn's security chief, Michael Montgomery, who said he worked for an Alabama company called Bodyguard and Tactical Security (BATS), was with a heavily armed security detail en route to pick up one

    of Quinn's associates and escort him through the chaotic city. Montgomery told me they came under fire from "black gangbangers" on an overpass near the poor Ninth Ward neighborhood. "At the time, I was on the phone with my business partner," he recalls. "I dropped the phone and returned fire."

    Montgomery says he and his men were armed with AR-15s and Glocks and that they unleashed a barrage of bullets in the general direction of the alleged shooters on the overpass. "After that, all I heard was moaning and screaming, and the shooting stopped. That was it. Enough said."

    Then, Montgomery says, "the Army showed up, yelling at us and thinking we were the enemy. We explained to them that we were security. I told them what had happened and they didn't even care. They just left." Five minutes later, Montgomery says, Louisiana state troopers arrived on the scene, inquired about the incident and then asked him for directions on "how they could get out of the city." Montgomery says that no one ever asked him for any details of the incident and no report was ever made.

    (full story here)

    Of all the well-deserved hand wringing over the Blackwater massacres of civilians in Iraq, the Quinn massacre of Americans is hardly known, barely reported. As such the conversation has not even begun about private armies paid for by federal agencies and loyal, it seems, to nobody but themselves and the President of the United States.

    The U.S. military, for its part, seems to have accepted that the king has for-hire militia at his disposal and that they give the House the kind of carte blanche it has been seeking vis-à-vis street level deployment of non-police, non-military, non-national-guard, non-federal-marshal deadly force. All those other uses of force fall under some kind of jurisdiction, but not the Blackwater's and Quinn armies of America. They are under the jurisdiction of contract law, business outsourcing by government. And George W. Bush has restructured that government enough to allow for these firms to play a central role anywhere he wants, without approval or oversight from anyone.

    Loyal To King or Country
    'Royal power' means that power is a direct extension of the will of the executive, no longer tempered by the balance of powers set up with such genius by the frames of the U.S. Constitution. But to see royal power as it has been extending into American politics--both at home and abroad--we need to pay look at these incidents in an entirely new way.

    When the massacres of the Vietnam War came to light or even the massacre of Kent State, these were incidents where enlisted men made bad choices as a product of policies gone mad and cultural divide. Soldiers who killed villages in Vietnam were not loyal to the President any more than anyone else. They were drafted and enlisted men caught in a confusing policy that twisted their souls and turned them brutal. When national guardsmen fired on college students in Ohio, it was not because they were hired to do a job and saw themselves as working for nobody by the man at the top, but the product of a social chasm open so wide that it swallowed up lives.

    Blackwater and its kind are different. They are not just soldiers, not just police. They are lines of loyalty bought, paid for and hidden from public view by the obfuscating jargon of Federal budgets. Their loyalty is sternly vertical, extending through the CEO to the President in a perfect reinvention of vassal obligation.

    Blackwater may be 'boots on the ground' in Iraq or Katrina, but in political terms they are an extension of the king's body.

    Royal power extends from the king to the people, from top down, but it cannot unfold if the army belongs to the people and not to the king. As Machiavelli described it, mercenaries and auxiliary armies can help extend rule for a short period of time, but for the will of the prince to become the will of the state, the king must make the army 'his own.'

    "American Working for America"
    The telltale sign of the President making the army his own--or rather going out to get an army that will act as if it is his own--is the willingness of the CEO of Blackwater, Erik Prince, to speak of President Bush as if he is America itself.

    In this exchange with Representative Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Prince demonstrated just how deeply Blackwater is invested in royal power when he repeatedly substituted 'America' for 'George W. Bush' when describing exactly whom he worked for:

    I'm an American working for America. Anything we do is to support U.S. Policy. You know the definition of a mercenary is a professional soldier that works in the pay of a foreign army. I'm an American working for America

    In fact, the relationship is more complicated than that. Erik Prince is a billionaire CEO who acquired a contract with the State Department as a result of persistent loyalty to President Bush. And the work he does has unfolded out of public view, out of Constitutional process, and under constraints only of consistently renewed contracts and the belief that the only loyalty that matters is loyalty to the President.

    Like Bush himself, when asked why it is that some view Blackwater's for-hire military work on behalf of the President as falling outside the bounds of what is permissible in the American political system, Prince responded that the problem is not the law, but merely a matter of finding the right words:

    General misunderstanding because we haven't been able to communicate what we do and don't do these last few years.

    What they have been doing is enforcing the will of the President, largely unbeknown to the American people and radically outside our quaint tradition of laws.

    But Prince is right about one thing: Americans have not understood his work, because it has not yet been talked about as one of Bush's key strategies for enacting and extending royal power.

    Not talked about, that is, until now.

    (cross posted from Frameshop)

  24. To answer your last question Jeff,
    I think they have most likely taken over much of the "Wet Work" that has been provided by the CIA. Removing such obstacles like President Kennedy
    and Vince Foster. Also New Orleans was just a prelude to the Private Police State that is sure to come.

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