Get Your War On on Blackwater

Discuss

38 Responses to “Get Your War On on Blackwater”

  1. RyuMaou says:

    Why do they call themselves “Blackwater”? Have you ever tried to fit “Deathfang’s Midnight Posse of Merciless Skull Warriors” on an embroidered logo?

  2. noen says:

    anangbhai said:

    It’s cool and all that people are realizing that we’re not exactly nation building in Iraq but what’s with the overemphasis and obsession with Blackwater? Private security firms and armies have existed since before this country was in existence? Hessians wtf?

    If you are Bush and have, as we now know, an openly stated desire to turn the US into a fascist state. Then you need some loyal thugs willing to do your bidding without question. Something which has also “existed since before this country was in existence”. And don’t look now but the borders are already closing. Peace activists are now finding they are not allowed to leave the country.

    Blackwater provides sicurrity, they protect VIPs and shit.

    They do more than that. There is every reason to think that they are the death squads in Iraq. Oh look! and here is David Addington, the man behind the death squads in Nicaragua, working with Dick Cheney.

    Partition has always been the goal for Iraq. Death squads are the means to attain that goal. Blackwater is just the sort of company to do it. This will turn out to be bigger than Abu Griab.

  3. Michael says:

    #22 — they will be, soon. They have a $15 billion contract for drug and immigration enforcement. Feel safer yet?

    But it’s OK. The free market will ensure that they won’t kill anybody you care about. It’s not like the government, which is forced by lawmakers to shoot people in the street on a random basis.

  4. Rob Cockerham says:

    A quick look into the company history reveals a whole list of intimidating names:

    Switchblade Crisis (1977)
    Kobra Kai (1979)
    Da Inferno Corps (1981)
    Hell’s Devils (1985)
    Ratt (1988)
    Soprano Infantry (1996)
    X-Warriors (1999)
    Toddler Fists (2000)
    Street Sweepers (2001)
    Blackwater (2005)
    Venti Soy Chai (pending 2008)

  5. Patrick Nielsen Hayden says:

    The “private security” field seems to have a penchant for oddly inappropriate company names. Another outfit in the fast-growing field of Federal contract killing calls itself “Custer Battles.” Coming soon: the George Pickett Memorial Private Infantry (Our Motto: Throw ‘Em All In, We’ll Hire More).

  6. anangbhai says:

    Really? I’m not for an unregulated free market, oversight is always necessary, but really? Corruption forever? Is that why the FAA and the TSA are doing so well in airport security? It must be because of the free market that the US Postal Service is shit. Its obviously not their fault. We can already see how well no-bid contracts have served our armed forces, with soldiers being forced to pay for water and clothing and at times their own body armor. It must be the fault of the free market that the US Army still buys the outdated and jam-prone M-16 from Colt and then rejects modern guns from competitors in so called “competitions” because they don’t meet Army standards. All of a sudden, Colt is selling its rifles at a discount.
    Must’ve been the free market’s fault that we’re still flying 30 yr old technology up to a space station built just to keep the space shuttle floating. Its replacement vehicle contract was given to Lockheed Martin (they make the shuttle too) and canceled in just 2 years. After Columbia exploded, the damn thing still flies at an operational cost of $1 billion a flight.
    But of course, corruption is so encompassing, that any company in the free market would have kept making profits hand over fist on an outdated dangerous and defective product that had a 40% failure rate. Failure being disintegration.
    Free market also to blame for US educational system, where teachers can’t be fired for bad performance, go home at 3 PM, work 8 months out of 12 at most, are forced to teach bullshit state exams, and still bitch about salaries.

  7. mdh says:

    even more can happen in a month.

  8. Tobor Redrum says:

    In the plumbing trade, ‘blackwater’ is an euphemism for raw, untreated sewage. Seems oddly appropriate.

  9. anangbhai says:

    Venti Soy Chai? A reference to the Battle of Seattle which witnessed the first ever recorded instance of patchouli as a nerve agent?

  10. Peterus says:

    I’d say they have some gutts to call themselves as they are.
    In this one instance they are better than most left-leaning paramilitary organisations throughout the years. “Liberation armies”, “Liberation fronts” etc. And they just fought for power. They could name themselves “Salvation corps”… That would be wrong. Blackwater is right name in the right place.

    (However is contracting them right thing to do by US gov is another story.)

  11. Nick D says:

    @#32: “The US Postal Service is shit.”

    There’s a well-reasoned argument. Maybe tone the rhetoric down just a hair? And a few paragraph breaks here and there would be nice, too. I’m getting a headache parsing your response so I can reply.

    When did I say I was for no-bid contracts? When did I say “Corruption forever?” When did I say that the armed forces should be stuck with M-16s? (They’re M-10s, a version of the M-16, but nevermind.)

    Please stop misrepresenting what I said and just make your points.

  12. Nick D says:

    “On the plus side being ‘private contractors’ it allows those guys to do things that regular soldiers may not be allowed to do.” (#15)

    Um, you didn’t give any examples, but don’t you think there are reasons why soldiers aren’t allowed to do some things? Legal and ethical reasons, and reasons of military discipline?

    “I just often wondered how much a reliance the government should be putting on “private” security.”

    I’m very dubious of the whole idea because I’m dubious about the amount of oversight that’s going on. I mean, there’s a system in place in the military that’s a part of our tradition (whether it’s being used is another question), but what’s the process for oversight of private security?

    “The government is using private security to keep the “official” body counts low.” (#17)

    Dead on, Andrew. Compare the figures with and without private security casualties figured in. Their casualties increase the number dramatically.

    “Blackwater may be dirty as hell(arms smuggling, Katrina wthf), but you can’t call bullshit on them on the parts where they’re doing the right thing on the job. Sometimes that means shooting a civilian who probably just wanted to cross the street quickly.”

    Are you saying we should look the other way because they often manage not to murder anyone unnecessarily so they’re not all bad? What’s a few atrocities when they’re getting the job done, right? Notice I said “atrocities,” I’m not talking about accidents such as occur in the fog of war.

    “Shit, give some war/rebuilding/aid contracts to Walmart, you can bet your ass wherever they go people WILL greet us with open arms…”

    I’m having trouble figuring out just what you’re saying here. Contractors are better than government? Sounds to me like the garden-variety cynical knee-jerk reaction about government inefficiency–as if coporations are never inefficient or corrupt.

    “The government is the problem here, not the companies. Get rid of the regulations, stop the lawmakers from setting up a rigged system, and real competition will help get rid of all this corruption.”

    So you’re assertion is that if we get rid of regulations and have less government, the free market will somehow self-correct for coruption? I don’t follow the logic.

    The free market is about making money. If corruption increase profits, then corruption will flourish. It’s as simple as that. The only brakes on that are laws and (gasp!

    “But right now in Iraq look at all the ‘weekend warriors’ of the reserves and guard that have been sent over there. Compare that to the ranks of Blackwater…”

    Why aren’t they serving in the military? Offer them competitive compensation, and make them legitimate soldiers in the US forces.

  13. Barry Campbell says:

    I hold no brief for Blackwater (to put it mildly), but there’s really nothing terribly sinister about their name.

    Their corporate headquarters is located in Moyock, North Carolina, in a very swampy and marshy area of the state (in fact, adjacent to the Great Dismal Swamp in northeast NC and southeast VA)… thus, “Blackwater.”

  14. Takuan says:

    a lot can happen in a year

  15. Robotech_Master says:

    And here I had always assumed they were named after an old Doobie Brothers song.

  16. Nick D says:

    Crap. That should read: The only brakes on that are laws and (gasp!) regulations.

    And that last unintentionally italicized comment is mine.

  17. NarmGreyrunner says:

    So where is the line between free market and government control?

    To me having private contractors guard the coalition headquarters, and conducting military operations in Iraq is very questionable. Especially when you start throwing in border security and the like as their duties. Conversely the people a company like Blackwater has working for it are mostly better trained and experienced than the average soldier in Iraq.

    I get nervous thinking about the possility that the people watching me and protecting me are working for a company that’s goal is to make a profit.

  18. anangbhai says:

    It’s cool and all that people are realizing that we’re not exactly nation building in Iraq but what’s with the overemphasis and obsession with Blackwater? Private security firms and armies have existed since before this country was in existence? Hessians wtf?
    Blackwater provides sicurrity, they protect VIPs and shit. Yes they’re not bound to any rules but this brouhaha over the company is drawing all attention away from unconscionable and illegal acts that are being committed by people in our own armed forces and diverting attention and blame to the private contractors. Oh..uhh..I didn’t make that mess..it was that guy over there..yes..Don’t you know he’s not bound to any rules, he’s crazy man, he’s a wildcard, it was all him.
    Those monkeys in the senate are just so happy and full of righteous anger ain’t they? FUCK YEAH. We get to act righteous and assrape some schmuck in front of the press and since he’s not US Army there won’t be any PR blowback and no one will accuse us of unpatriotic sentiment and we get to look like we’re actually doing something about something. HOW DARE YOU SIR! HOW DARE YOU…
    Kinda funny the Iraqi government all of a sudden grew balls 3 times their previous size innit?

  19. Flying Squid says:

    I don’t know, Ananghbai, maybe it’s because they’re not accountable to any government and are above the law. Maybe it’s because they do things like get drunk and kill people for fun. Maybe it’s because they are better-paid and better-equipped than our own troops despite the money coming from the same source.

    Gosh, all kinds of reasons people focus on Blackwater.

  20. schmod says:

    At the very least, their logo is outright sinister:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Blackwater_USA_logo.png

  21. Yamara says:

    GYWO always rocks. Always a chore to link to properly, which is starting to have a kind of “old school” internet caché.

    As for evil wizards and their mercenary armies, see the end of the Lord of the Rings, when Frodo comes home to the Shire.

    What, nothing happened in the movie?

    READ A BOOK!

  22. anangbhai says:

    I disagree with what you disagree as well, if you read my previous comments where I point out that I’m against no-bid contracts which are largely awarded because of the old boy network and golf. But mostly, golf.
    You didn’t, but those are some serious areas where the government obviously isn’t doing its job and won’t let people who make better products do theirs and the public could care less. When they do care, the government sinks money into outlandish projects and the companies simply funnel the money into their own pockets or into existing programs and after a while everyone says “Fuckit we can’t do shit” and go home.
    Really? I hope you grow your own food because what you’re eating has been grown to make a profit as well. That’s that same anti-corporate BS. There is nothing wrong with making a profit. “The oil companies have an engine that gives 100 miles to the gallon but won’t release it because they want to make money.” Spare me the BS. Trust me, if something like that existed, they would make more profit on it by releasing it. Why are these companies making hybrids? Because there’s a market for it and because they can make a profit from it.
    What you’re implying is that NOT protecting you would result in them making more money, because people will gladly play for bad service (True only when those services are provided by the government).
    Is Blackwater evil? Seems to be.
    Have they done bad things? Sounds like it.
    Go ahead, have at them. Regardless, they’re doing what they were supposed to do by any means necessary. They have a 100% effectiveness record.
    We’re focusing on the trigger and not the finger that pulled it. Its the State Department that hired these guys, why aren’t they having their asses handed to them in a public hearing? They are above the law because they are the law. Same goes for our troops. Like I said in my first post, the current focus on Blackwater is to take focus away from atrocities being committed by our own people and other pressing problems in Iraq. Erik Prince sat through it because he knows he’s untouchable and he’s playing his part in a game that makes it look like our senate is on the ball about some current event that will blow over in a few days.

  23. Dave X says:

    That logo is like… half military, and half junior high school track team… weird.

  24. Scuba SM says:

    I don’t know if anybody plays Oblivion, but in the game, there is a mercenary/hired sword group called Blackwater. In the game, the group is rather sinister, and you eventually take action. When I found that, I was pretty amused.

  25. Nora Rocket says:

    On another note entirely, I would like to have thousands of David Rees’ babies. Love that guy and all of his little comics, from “…Filing Technique…” on down.

  26. Toby says:

    Of course, I suspect it’s just that us yanks can’t manage to do better branding for our mercenaries. For cheerful euphemisms, my personal favorite has always been Executive Outcomes.

  27. sciencebzzt says:

    I never understand why people get angry at the companies like Blackwater and Walmart. It’s the government’s fault for getting so involved in business and creating these monsters.

    It’s like getting angry at vultures for eating your dead family members, when it was the invisible disease that killed them. Business is just doing what business does, taking advantage of the situation, which was created by a government thats too big.

    I guess its just easier to hate big business than it is to hate the real cause, big government. People always miss the point of everything.

  28. NarmGreyrunner says:

    On the plus side being “private contractors” it allows those guys to do things that regular soldiers may not be allowed to do. Blackwater has filled its ranks with top notch people. I’m not trying to downplay my nation’s military because it has proven time and time again to be a capable a fighting force. But right now in Iraq look at all the “weekend warriors” of the reserves and guard that have been sent over there. Compare that to the ranks of Blackwater filled with veterans and many ex-special forces operatives, SEALs, Rangers, Green Beret’s etc.

    They are very capable personnel, and there certainly is a place for them. I just often wondered how much a reliance the government should be putting on “private” security. At what point does outsourcing get completely our of hand?

    Not that this is a new practice. Using “soldiers-of-fortune” is something that has gone on for centuries. During the renaissance the Swiss were particularly well known for their ability with pike and shot, and mercenary regiments could be had by the highest bidder.

    Although anangbhai mentioned Hessians, mercenary is really a misnomer, the Germanic soldiers of King George III are a result of the crazy nature of the aristocracy in Europe, involving planned and convenient marriage. King George’s line was intimately linked to many of the Germanic states to the point that he was Prince Elect of Hanover. Many of the Germanic troops that fought for the English in the American Revolution were actually King George’s subjects, the rest all belong to principalities and states that were family of King George. In essence what he did was use conscripts from the different states to campaign in America in their own regiments under their own officer corps, mostly using their own equipment and being paid for by their state. Then the English reimbursed the monarchs for their cost. They were more like German auxiliaries and not really mercenaries as we think today.

    Although in America at the time of the Revolution some Continental regiments were raised out of areas that were composed primarily of German immigrant, and the French also employed Germanic troops coming from the western borders of France that fought in America.

    Also some regiments of the British army had strong Germanic backgrounds, such as the 60th Foot the Royal Americans raised in 1755 to fight in the colonies. After recruiting the colonies proved sparse, much of the regiment ended up being recruited out of Germanic subjects of King George II. In fact the regiment also contained a number of foreign officers, such as Colonel Henri Bouquet of the first battalion, who was a Swiss officer.

    With all this in mind maybe the United States could just raise a foreign corps to fight in Iraq?

  29. M. says:

    I find it interesting how vultures are used to illustrate that point.

  30. SlimSpady says:

    FRONTLINE did a story on private security contractors in Iraq a couple years ago. I guess the mainstream media is just now starting to report on it.

    You an watch the whole episode here…

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/

    This was actually the first time i had ever watched FRONTLINE, and i haven’t missed an episode since.

    FYI, pretty graphic stuff…

  31. Andrew says:

    The government is using private security to keep the “official” body counts low.

    You need to look at this from a State Department perspective.

    The USG closes embassy’s in war zones. In this case they are being required to keep the embassy open. Blackwater has lost 30 contractors to date. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (or more appropriately the law enforcement branch of the bureau called the Diplomatic Security Service) which normally provides protection for USG personnel could never sustain those losses. It would also panic the foreign service who, mostly, view the DS Agents as colleagues.

  32. Hunty says:

    Whenever I hear the name “Blackwater”, the first thing I think is “are we the baddies?

  33. sciencebzzt says:

    #16, M
    Yeah, it’s true, they’re vultures, they’re scavengers taking advantage of the situation, and they’ll always exist. Making regulations and increasing the scope and size of government will only create more opportunities for corruption, because they’re the ones who have the most influence with the lawmakers. They’re the ones making the rules. The government is the problem here, not the companies.

    Get rid of the regulations, stop the lawmakers from setting up a rigged system, and real competition will help get rid of all this corruption.
    Things are a lot more complicated than just “big business is bad”.

  34. bazz says:

    @schmod, dave x:
    Couple of days ago Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report saw GYWO’s trenchant and raised a pithy when he helpfully critiqued Blackwater’s name as “cartoonishly evil”. Then a graphic of the Blackwater logo displayed shortly afterwards reduced the normally-ultra-assured host into a quivering mass — that scary claw had triggered his well-known fear of bears.

  35. anangbhai says:

    Also, isn’t the House of Windsor a germanic household? Saxburg Gotha or something. Shit, even King Arthur is a french story.
    Thanks sciencebzzt, I mentioned that in a previous comment here. The government is handing out no-bid contracts because the current administration is filled with people connected to the old boys network so the people at Blackwater and Halliburton probably golfed with these people at their country club.
    Privatization is great, if you can get paid insane amounts of money good for you, you’re in demand. But the government is us, its a representative of the people. It shouldn’t be acting like a high roller at the Baghdad Palace casino. Bitch you’re telling me you can’t even comparison shop?
    Blackwater is doing their job. Yes they’re doing unscrupulous things and illegal things but they’re out there in the field alone. Its not like a gunship will readily be available for them if they call in the heat so they’re acting like insurgents. They shoot civilians, they intimidate they do every goddamn thing they can do to ensure that their mission providing security for high-value officials does not fail.
    In all seriousness as a war nerd, if we are to win this war, we will have to do worse things than Blackwater. It ain’t gonna be clean, and it ain’t gonna be right. Sure as hell some roomba robot isn’t gonna win the war for us.
    Blackwater may be dirty as hell(arms smuggling, Katrina wthf), but you can’t call bullshit on them on the parts where they’re doing the right thing on the job. Sometimes that means shooting a civilian who probably just wanted to cross the street quickly.
    For those of you who hate Walmart, guess who immediately rehired every displaced employee after Katrina? I’m sure the mom and pop store employees were able to stave off hunger on compassion and personality.
    Shit, give some war/rebuilding/aid contracts to Walmart, you can bet your ass wherever they go people WILL greet us with open arms because they’ll be fed, clothed and medicated while the gubmint is still debating over who should get the contract to supply concrete for the new hospital.

  36. Landowner says:

    I would love to criticize Blackwater right now but I have the sneaky feeling that once the war in Iraq is over that bird will come home to roost. And they have been killing at will with no oversight too long to give it up.

  37. jimh says:

    Always lolz @ GYWO, awesome.

Leave a Reply