The ‘Blackwaterization’ of War: Obama is Gambling on it (L’Orient Le Jour, Lebanon)

The ‘Blackwaterization’ of War: Obama is Gambling on it (L’Orient Le Jour, Lebanon)

Posted By WILLIAM KERN (Worldmeets.US) on Oct 29, 2014

After a trial that for some reason lasted seven years, last week a jury convicted four former Blackwater mercenaries of murdering 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians in a firefight on September 16, 2007 aka/ Baghdad’s Bloody Sunday. For Lebanon’s L’Orient Le Jour, columnist Christian Merville writes that despite the convictions – which will inevitably be appealed, the privatization of warfare is precisely what President Obama depends on. After all, Merville says, Obama has promised not to send troops, but hasn’t breathed a word about sending ‘civilians.’

For the L’Orient Le Jour, Christian Merville begins with last week’s long-delayed Blackwater trial:

Need an army to wage war in your place? Here’s a contact: Constellis Holdings. If that name means nothing to you, try Academi (until 2011), Xe Services (created 2009), and finally Blackwater Worldwide at the time this sinister notoriety of the firm was founded by Erik Prince in 1997.

This name arose again last week when a federal jury in Washington convicted four former mercenaries for the massacre that took place on September 16, 2007 in Place Nisour at Baghdad, when 13 Iraqis were killed in cold blood (17 according to Iraqi investigators). The reaction of the defense lawyers was: “The verdict is incorrect, incomprehensible, and difficult to accept …” The matter will therefore go to appeal and the sentence decided as the judge dozes in his armchair and journalists feverishly consult Wikipedia to refresh their fading memories.

Nicholas Slatten, the leader of these so-called modern-day vigilantes, wanted to “kill as many Iraqis as possible to avenge the September 11 attacks.” Why Iraqis, why kill people running away, women and children? Because “the lives of these people are worthless; they are not even human – they are animals,” he replied to a prosecutor. To recap: in 2009, a judge issued a dismissal of the charges before proceedings were reinstated two years later.

There are dozens – even hundreds of “Blackwaters,” if you count the small firms scattered across the four corners of the planet, and the undisputed number two is G4S, by far the biggest employer in the world (staff of 625,000) after the unassailable Wal-Mart – which is a major retailer. There is a slight difference. As for the global market for mercenaries, it is estimated to be worth over $100 billion, which explains the competition for contracts. Almost all governments, one might say, have resorted or will resort to the use of these mercenaries for missions ranging from liberating Chinese workers engaged in road construction in South Sudan to the rear-guard action against the people who toppled Mohammar Qaddafi in Libya, to protecting oil installations and ships plying pirate-infested waterways.

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The ‘Blackwaterization’ of War: Obama is Gambling on it (L’Orient Le Jour, Lebanon)

 

“There are dozens – even hundreds of ‘Blackwaters,’ if you count the small firms scattered across the four corners of the planet, and the undisputed number two is G4S, by far the biggest employer in the world (staff of 625,000) after the unassailable Wal-Mart. … These ‘ugly’ mercenaries are therefore to be found in Middle East countries, in Afghanistan and even in Latin America, notably alongside Colombian rebels or Peruvian drug traffickers. … Barack Obama, who has committed not to send GI’s to the banks of the Euphrates River, but who hasn’t breathed a word about an eventual ‘civilian’ presence – is gambling on it.”

By Christian Merville

Translated By Martyn Fogg

October 29, 2014

Lebanon – L’Orient Le Jour – Home Page (French)

Need an army to wage war in your place? Here’s a contact: Constellis Holdings. If that name means nothing to you, try Academi (until 2011), Xe Services (created 2009), and finally Blackwater Worldwide at the time this sinister notoriety of the firm was founded by Erik Prince in 1997.

This name arose again last week when a federal jury in Washington convicted four former mercenaries for the massacre that took place on September 16, 2007 in Place Nisour at Baghdad, when 13 Iraqis were killed in cold blood (17 according to Iraqi investigators). The reaction of the defense lawyers was: “The verdict is incorrect, incomprehensible, and difficult to accept …” The matter will therefore go to appeal and the sentence decided as the judge dozes in his armchair and journalists feverishly consult Wikipedia to refresh their fading memories.

Nicholas Slatten, the leader of these so-called modern-day vigilantes, wanted to “kill as many Iraqis as possible to avenge the September 11 attacks.” Why Iraqis, why kill people running away, women and children? Because “the lives of these people are worthless; they are not even human – they are animals,” he replied to a prosecutor. To recap: in 2009, a judge issued a dismissal of the charges before proceedings were reinstated two years later.

There are dozens – even hundreds of “Blackwaters,” if you count the small firms scattered across the four corners of the planet, and the undisputed number two is G4S, by far the biggest employer in the world (staff of 625,000) after the unassailable Wal-Mart – which is a major retailer. There is a slight difference. As for the global market for mercenaries, it is estimated to be worth over $100 billion, which explains the competition for contracts. Almost all governments, one might say, have resorted or will resort to the use of these mercenaries for missions ranging from liberating Chinese workers engaged in road construction in South Sudan to the rear-guard action against the people who toppled Mohammar Qaddafi in Libya, to protecting oil installations and ships plying pirate-infested waterways.

These “ugly” mercenaries are therefore to be found in several Middle Eastern countries, in Afghanistan and even in Latin America, notably alongside Colombian rebels or Peruvian drug traffickers. These “non-state entities,” as they are referred to by the Web site Global Research, operate in regions with porous borders, and reappeared in the 1960s with the outbreak of regional conflicts, reaching their peak when the Afghan and Iraq wars broke out, and today, with the campaign against Daesh [ISIL] today.

Since they first appeared in 2008, UAVs (drones) have begun to upset the central principles of conventional warfare. We have thus moved from close combat to dehumanization: the technician seated at a desk launches and directs the machine, then pushed a button to launch a rocket – in total anonymity. We no longer fight; we play war games like the old “Battleship.” There are no soldiers, not even bullets, but knobs, colored lights, sometimes a disembodied voice command to correct occasional errors, for example in trajectory, all remote-controlled from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida – the headquarters of Central Command.

Gone are the days when am officer charged in front of his men with sword drawn to fight hand-to-hand, when wars were won and lost in the trenches, when a grenade could kill its thrower just as easily as the enemy.

Now the U.S. army is studying the possibility of using mercenaries to take charge of supporting Iraqi troops facing Islamic State rebels. Barack Obama, who has committed not to send GI’s to the banks of the Euphrates River, but who hasn’t breathed a word about an eventual “civilian” presence – is gambling on it. In military parlance, these men will be charged with the mission of planning operations, gleaning information and reinforcing the logistical capabilities of combat units. All of that will still cost billions of dollars taken from the pockets of taxpayers, but he promised, swore, not a drop of American blood!

My God! Oh what a lovely war!,” the most celebrated trench-diggers of the Great War from 1914-1918 would have said.
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