Obama's Blackwater? The More U.S. Foreign Policy "Change"s The More it Stays the Same

How I wish that mercenary armies had been just an aberration of the Bush/Cheney Administration. It would have convinced me that Barack Obama had at least some sort of significant change that I could believe in. But instead of my predictions being wrong, they are now haunting me.

When I served in Iraq in 2005-06, I took a fairly hefty pay cut from my civilian job. Not a big deal, I thought, because I expected it. What I didn't know was that I could do the same military-like stuff for a civilian firm and get paid more (a lot more). While in Iraq, I met some guys from one of the "mercenary groups" that were providing security for Operation Iraqi Freedom. I don't know for sure if they

The places may have changed, and even the company name, but the activities of the corporate soldiers of fortune continue apace under the Obama administration.

were Blackwater employees, but they were making almost three times as much money as I was making. Even the private firefighters on our base (in their air-conditioned trailers with satellite TV) were making about twice as much as me (we had exactly one out-of-control fire during the time I was there, and it was at the base garbage dump).

Barack Obama got to know Blackwater in 2008. Instead of American troops protecting him while he was visiting Afghanistan during his campaign tour, Blackwater employees were assigned the task.

It's fairly unknown just how many of the Blackwater types are working in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. It is very unknown how much money our government is paying these guys. I hope that the budget figures being tossed about in Washington regarding the war on terror include how

I just hoped that Barack Obama would be different.

much these private armies are getting paid, but I fear that the real numbers are off the books.

Jeremy Scahill's recent book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, describes a few lame-brained, and a plethora of sickening, activities perpetrated by Blackwater in Iraq. I had thought, because news outlets told me so, that Blackwater was simply a tool of the Bush/Cheney regime.

I thought wrong.

The places may have changed, and even the company name, but the activities of the corporate soldiers of fortune continue apace under the Obama administration. Scahill reports on alternet that:
...it appears that the Obama administration has decided on its hired guns of choice: Triple Canopy, a Chicago company now based in Virginia. It may not have Blackwater's thuggish reputation, but Triple Canopy has its own bloody history in Iraq and a record of hiring mercenaries from countries with atrocious human rights records. What's more, Obama is not just using the company in Iraq, but also as a U.S.-government funded private security force in Israel/Palestine, operating out of Jerusalem.

Beginning May 7th, Triple Canopy will officially take over Xe/Blackwater's mega-contract with the U.S. State Department for guarding occupation officials in Iraq.
Scahill visited with Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow! earlier this month.
Besides the unconscionable amount of money the mercenaries and their outfits are pulling down, guns for hire allow the Executive Branch to get around the inconvenient fact that most Americans wonder what in the world we're doing sending our service men and women over there.

Contrary to the wishes of 75% of Afghanis, who want the United States to take their deadly Nerf guns and go home, Barack Obama is increasing the stakes. In a similar manner to the many U.S. service men and women who are being re-routed from Iraq to Afghanistan, these "civilian contractors" are tagging along.

The Iraqi government, after the latest Blackwater vulgarities

Contrary to the wishes of 75% of Afghanis, who want the United States to take their deadly Nerf guns and go home, Barack Obama is increasing the stakes.

committed in their country, demanded that Blackwater exit stage left as personae non grata. They sort of are, but not really. Obama recently signed a $70 million contract with "Xe" (Blackwater's newly spun name) that expects them to be in Iraq for at least another couple of years.

Blackw...er...Xe will not have as big a footprint in Iraq as before, but that's easily overcome. Barack Obama's private army of choice is a company called Triple Canopy. Not surprisingly, the economic downturn at Xe is having little effect on its employees. That's because they are becoming Triple Canopy employees in hordes, with a fresh license to maim and kill in a different Middle Eastern country.

Is this what America has become? Is this the fascist military state that you want your country to be? Largely with the help of corporate guns for hire, American exports killing instead of liberty.

I just hoped that Barack Obama would be different.


  1. Xe/Blackwater did a good job of making themselves indispensable, and to date they haven't lost any State Department protectees. They haven't won any hearts and minds among Iraqis, but then again it wasn't in their contract!

    President Obama ought to replace the mercs with Marines, but that would be a hard sell all around.

    With so much on their plate already, the Obama administration has clearly put a limit on how many changes they will try to make all at the same time.

    Too bad, though. This is a big issue that needs to be addressed soon.

  2. I agree completely, Warnick.

    And Frank, thank you for being one of the few on the righty-side of the bloghive offering up some legitimate and relevant criticism of Obama, as opposed to the unhinged lunacy that is usually sucking up all the air in the room.

  3. Richard,

    I hope that it's simply a matter of not wanting to put too much on the plate at once.


    Thank you. What you said here was same the sentiment I was trying to convey (how I, too, hate right-wing unhinged lunacy) in my comment on The Sidetrack about the Employee Free Choice Act the other day. Such unhinged behavior is monumentally counterproductive.

  4. LED是未來科技的驅勢。

  5. Well done for writing about this issue. I am writing from Ireland and am delighted to see good common sense being touted from the Mid-West United States. It gives one hope for the future. Mr. Obama has made some quite positive strides since taking office but has been bitterly disappointing in some areas which makes one wonder where the hell he's going and what he's hiding. I was one of his greatest supporters but have joined the ranks of his critics.

    Read the roadsign Mr. Obama. It says "WRONG WAY TURN BACK!"

    Keep up the good work guys.


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