Sunday, January 3, 2010

BLACKWATER by: Jeremy Schill


This book was published in 2007. In my opinion the author did an outstanding job of research. It is almost unbelievable that something this monumental could have been created and expanded as rapidly as it was.
Except for a few items from the book I am rather going to give you my personal conclusions after finishing reading. First, I already knew a great deal about them. I have followed as best I could the story of Blackwater so what I read was more filling in detail rather than discovery.
The idea started innocently enough. The founders decided that there was an ongoing need for a training facility for law enforcement. This was successful.
It was during the Bush/ Cheney years that the idea of mercenaries came into full bloom. Blackwater was able to hire the best retired officers and skilled veterans to carry out their missions. At first they were hired to protect American and other officials in Iraq and Afghanistan. Later it grew to where it became nearly indistinguishable between them and our own military. The difference was the pay scale, in some cases well over $1,000 per day. These men returned home with huge nest eggs to support their families. That is those who were able to return home. They were given blanket immunity from prosecution whereas our soldiers were not. Not surprisingly many soldiers refused to re-enlist opting to stay in Iraq and to be financially rewarded for doing so.
Blackwater spawned other companies from around the world to where this has grown to immense proportions. There were well over 100,000 in Iraq alone, very nearly equal to our soldiers in number. My own personal opinion is that the administration, knowing the strain the wars were placing on our regular army and reserves, used this as a way to expand numbers without destroying the standing army. Not only that but all that was needed was appropriations from Congress which could be used as they saw fit.
I wonder how many of you know that Blackwater mercenaries were sent to New Orleans. They were there before the federal government and most aid organizations. They claimed to be humanitarians but their purpose was to protect property from looters, etc. President Bush used the Katrina disaster to try to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act (the ban on using U.S. troops in domestic law enforcement), and Blackwater and other security firms initiated a push to install their paramilitaries on U.S. soil.
I have not tried to check on their current situation but I would venture to guess they are still prospering under the new administration. By the way, due to many controversies wherein Iraqis citizens were killed by Blackwater men the company changed its name February 13, 2009 to We.
This book is not a novel. I doubt if many will take the time to read. I do it so I can maintain my anxiety on current events. I’m not ready to settle down and take it easy.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
January 3, 2010

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