Jeremy Scahill's brave and outraged "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" renders the story of the Blackwater mercenary group, and other mercenary groups that have seized the economic opportunities opened by the Bush regime's willingness to offer no-bid contracts and no-liability opportunities to fight America's wars. Backwater -- founded by ultra-right-wing Christian conservatives -- hires Pinochet-era Chilean war-criminals, ex-law-enforcement types and former military, and others to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan -- and in America. They can and do murder civilians with impunity, they line their pockets with cost-plus multi-billion-dollar military expenditures, and they kill their own men -- and the American soldiers they are supposed to be helping -- through corner-cutting profiteering.
Scarier still is their deployment on US soil, as with the Katrina disaster, where Blackwater took in millions for shoveling armed men and automatic weapons into the stricken city of New Orleans, where food and health care were impossible to come by but where there was no shortage of ammunition.
Scahill's book is incredibly, even mind-numbingly well-researched and documented. Framed around the gruesome, vile murder of four of Blackwater's mercs in Fallujah (Scahill shows that Blackwater sent them to their deaths by skimping on security, support, and intelligence), Scahill works from primary sources, Congressional testimony, on-the-ground reporters, and a wide variety of corroborating evidence to build the case against using hired killers to support American military objectives.
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
We just got the Sport model of the EPIKGO hoverboard at my office. Besides being terribly chic, it’s apparently bulletproof.
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]
Yeah, Bluetooth audio is pretty common these days, so why should you care about these earbuds? Look how happy that woman up above looks. She’s got FRESHeBUDS in. Boom. There’s your reason. She’s also at the beach and it appears to be a very nice day.But for the sake of promotion, wireless earbuds are fast becoming the […]