I strolled into my favorite liquor store, "Big Daddy’s," to purchase the weekly supply of non-alcoholic swill. No alcoholic imbibing for me! In these treacherous times, a guy’s gotta maintain a sharp edge while on the look-out for terror and subversion. Besides, I knew perfectly well, Big Daddy’s Liquors can’t get Anderson Valley Brewing, Hop Ottin’ IPA (7% abv) or Stone Brewing, Arrogant Bastard Ale (7.2% abv) so why bother trying to tie one on with some pathetic downstream "beer?"
Nelson and Mike, those all around good guys who run the joint, couldn’t take their eyes off my stylish black T-shirt. Imprinted with a red oval targeting sight over a white bear’s paw and the word "Blackwater," the shirt is a real stand out. Nazi red, white and black always makes for an eye-catching combo. Aware of my reputation as a punk rock icon they asked: "What’s Blackwater? A band?"
Mildly amused by their lack of worldly knowledge I replied calmly:
"NO! YOU IGNORANT SCUMBAGS! BLACKWATER IS AMERICA’S FUTURE!"
Get with the times dudes! All those shootin’ an’ killin’ computer games hone one’s skills for an exciting future in a lucrative career as a "Private Military Contractor." And who better to work for than Blackwater U.S.A? The cream of the crop!
Only a few good men need apply… well, maybe the term "good" isn’t applicable here. No longer referred to as lowly "mercenaries," these tough guys are called "private military contractors" and they earn plenty of dinero when they take over after the grunt in the Humvee gets blown away.
Hey, all you police state thugs! Time to cash in on that experience and earn all that you can earn! Kill all that you can kill! And you won’t need no stinking badges either! No one in Iraq or Afghanistan has heard of Miranda v. Arizona. So no liberal judge will stand between you and your duty to make someone’s day!
Not enough troops for "the surge?" There’s a passel of firms who will provide your very own security team. Still…
"If there’s something strange
in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?"
They’ll fix you up. With a beautifully manicured 7,500-acre training swamp located somewhere in North Carolina, Blackwater can meet the personnel demands of your booming Empire with an elite private army of expert "security" forces. When you need to stomp some "crappy little country" into the ground, Blackwater is eager to strap on the jack-boots.
What’s this you say? The public hates the war, no one will volunteer for duty and money is in short supply for your latest aggression? Piffle! Hire some "contractors" to "rebuild." It’s easy! It’s fast! It’s secret! Le Swamp Noir is your no-bid subcontractor of choice in such delicate matters as deluding the public or deluding congress while you squash hearts and minds.
Never mind the fact that a heap of mercen… excuse me… private military contractors might cost a pretty penny more than the same number of doughboys! The money will come! Congress isn’t any smarter than Gomer Pyle. They’ll approve whatever you ask for. Simply request funding for more "contractors." The mystery money will magically pop out of midair… or out of the taxes sinking the middle class that is. Hey! You want the best right? Quality doesn’t come cheap. They aren’t called "Soldiers of Fortune" for nothing!
Consider some of the other wonderful benefits of turning your war over to the private sector. There’s no more bothersome need for accountability! Acts of destruction and wanton murder can be blamed on somebody else! I didn’t do it! It was Scooter!
Officially, Le Bog Noir contractors do not engage in "offensive" operations… even if their operations might be considered offensive. They only provide "security." But as everyone who’s ever seen a football game knows, the best defense is a good offense. And in this game of sweep, clear, hold and conquer the occupying forces can never have enough "defense." The way things are going, it won’t be long before there will be an urgent call for "defense" and more "security" at home.
As well, hiring private military contractors is a cleaner way of deception. One never has to come out in public and make awkward speeches about fallen heroes. As reported by Robert Fisk and Severin Carrell: "Casualties among the mercenaries are not included in the regular body count put out by the occupation authorities, which may account for the persistent suspicion among Iraqis that the US is underestimating its figures of military dead and wounded." Gee… you think so?
Dead "contractors" don’t rate lot at Arlington Cemetery where, given the increase in flag-draped coffins shipped in from Iraq and Afghanistan, real fallen heroes of the US military have to wait in line.
Contractors who are merely wounded can look forward to a whole lot of nothing… just like the whole lot of nothing that will greet wounded US troops returning to these shores. Look at Bush’s new budget cuts! "Contractors" sure do make things less complicated for The United States of Destruction.
Don’t ask, don’t tell! No public manipulations of troop numbers or casualties are required. All you have to say is something like u2018Halliburton has sub-contracted additional security.’ There, isn’t that easy? How benign is that?
Greg Jaffe of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported last December: "despite a $168B budget, the Army faces a cash crunch." So, you see, the way to cover up that $4 billion spent on private hires is to keep it "off budget." Not even the Senate can figure out "the identity of the prime contractor."
The U.S. Army Recruitment officer can’t offer potential cannon fodder serious money. No one wants to get their head blown off for peanuts. You gotta offer sirloin and Chivas Regal.
The U.S. Congress will never allow Bush to reinstate the draft. With the exceptions of Congressman Rangel and Senator Hollings, do you know of anyone on Capitol Hill who would dare to wake the sleeping giant of American anger to re-live the demonstrations of the 1960s and 1970s… without some killer weed, purple micro-dot LSD and K-Tel?
Let’s face it. The Army needs men and is having one heck of a time finding them. Been in the slammer for vehicular assault or armed robbery? Uncle Sam wants you! When the "Army asks dead to sign up for another hitch," it sure sounds like they are as desperate as an election year politician who gets voter names from a bone yard in Florida or Ohio. That recruiting snafu was simply another case of faulty military "intelligence" and it’s just one more reason for more private military contractors! Spread around the glory of incompetence I say!
As it happens, the companies seeking soldiers of fortune have gone offshore. The Age reported: "The US is hiring mercenaries in Chile to replace its soldiers on security duty in Iraq." Since a lot of these contractors are also hired in South Africa, Bosnia and the Philippines, with any luck the country you are invading may blame the wrong nation for the death and destruction you are raining down on them. Well… the citizens of the occupied country will know it’s the U.S. of A. crushing them, but mix it up with a little cognitive dissonance and you’re ready to rule.
Come to think of it, when Uncle Sam hires foreign merce… sorry I did it again. Let me re-phrase… foaming at the mouth, rabid killers and unleashes them in Iraq, that makes the Iraqi insurgents who are alleged to be receiving help from the Iranians look like they are doing the same thing! What a cunning plan.
Blackwater’s foreign contractors are making the US forces more diverse: hail to the multi-culti armed forces!
When Pentagon memos whisper of huge potential deaths in Iraq, no one is going to volunteer. Capitol Hill Blue reports that a "Pentagon memo predicts 10,000 or more American soldiers could die in Iraq by 2008." This might sound like fun if you’re loony tunes and that’s where the private military contractor comes in. It’s best to hire the professionally insane for insane adventures.
Things are tough in Washington. Last January, one thousand active-duty, Guard and Reserve members sent Congress a letter calling for an end to the war. Even Marine general Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has doubts about "evidence" that the government of Iran is agitating in Iraq. Will there be a revolt of the generals? The party poopers!
The all-volunteer military was a great idea. But it only works when the citizenry wants to sign up… and when they think war is like a computer game in which mutilation or death can be cleaned up with a click of the mouse.
It’s time to take the 21st Century seriously. You see… The Private Military Contractor is the new way forward into the New American Century! Lock and load!
Elizabeth Gyllensvard contributed to and edited this story.
Tom Chartier [send him mail] played lead guitar in legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until their final appearance in January of 2004. He has lived in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Currently he resides somewhere in the Caribbean.