Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On Blackwater, Specifically...

And on armed mercenaries in general....

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.”

My excerpts from The Pro-War Undertow of the Blackwater Scandal by Norman Solomon:

. . . . A real hazard of the preoccupation with Blackwater is that it will become a scapegoat for what is profoundly and fundamentally wrong with the U.S. effort and mission. Condemnation of Blackwater, however justified, can easily be siphoned into a political whirlpool that demands a cleanup of the U.S. war occupation effort – as though a relentless war of occupation based on lies could be redeemed by better management – as if the occupying troops in Army and Marine uniforms are incarnations of restraint and accountability.

. . . . One of the most unusual aspects of the current Blackwater scandal is that it places recent killings of Iraqi civilians front-and-center even though the killers were Americans. This angle is outside the customary media frame that focuses on what Iraqis are doing to each other and presents Americans – whether in military uniform or in contractor mode – as well-meaning heroes who sometimes become victims of dire circumstances.

. . . . The current Blackwater scandal should help us to understand the dynamics that routinely set in when occupiers – whether privatized mercenaries or uniformed soldiers – rely on massive violence against the population they claim to be helping.

Terrible as Blackwater has been and continues to be, that profiteering corporation should not be made a lightning rod for opposition to the war occupation. New legislation that demands accountability from private security forces can't make a war an occupation that's wrong any more right. Finding better poster boys who can be touted as humanitarians rather than mercenaries won't change the basic roles of gun-toting Americans in a country that they have no right to occupy.