Thursday, September 27, 2007

On mercenaries ... follow the money


New York Times

While the mainstream media are momentarily looking at the behavior of U.S. contractors in Iraq, it seems a good time to highlight this, from the Out of Iraq Blogger Caucus site.

Jeremy Scahill, author of a terrific book on the Blackwater mercenary army, spoke in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Tuesday to a packed hall. He took questions at the end, and one man asked something to the effect of "Why does the government want to privatize the military? We taxpayers have been paying for the Army." I wished Scahill had pointed out that it's the tax payers who are now paying the private corporations, but the answer Scahill gave was critical.

"There's a cynical answer and an honest answer," he said, "and I think they're the same answer." He said that the Pentagon is useless to politicians because it doesn't make campaign "contributions". But when you take a big chunk of that enormous military budget and give it to private companies, you free it up to come back (some portion of it) to politicians every campaign season.

The New York Times seems to confirm this today.

The company’s close ties to the Bush administration have raised questions about the political clout of Mr. Prince, Blackwater’s founder and owner. He is the scion of a wealthy Michigan family that is active in Republican politics. He and the family have given more than $325,000 in political donations over the past 10 years, the vast majority to Republican candidates and party committees, according to federal campaign finance reports.

Nice scam they've got going there, passing our taxes through to the politicians who make their riches possible.

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