If you were around the local blogosphere back in late 2005 after Katrina hit New Orleans, you'll remember that several on the right called for shooting anyone (even those who were stealing food and clothes on which to live) for pillaging unguarded stores. There was little sympathy expressed from the right for those whom the federal government left to suffer and die for days without having their basic survival needs met. And those of us who urged caution against trigger-happy turkey shoots were ridiculed for sport.
Now we come to find out from Jeremy Scahill that shoot-'em-up mercenary contractor Blackwater was down there even before FEMA (some were even pulled out of their jobs in Iraq, even though President Bush declined to bring National Guard forces home to deal with the problem) with the specific purpose of guarding the property of wealthy people, even if it meant shooting starving poor people for stealing food that probably would have been discarded as a loss anyway. According to Scahill, Blackwater paid the domestic mercenary force $350 per day and Blackwater eventually billed the U.S Government to the tune of $950 per day per mercenary. Your tax dollars at work.
Here is the video of Mr. Scahill's comments from last night's Bill Moyers Journal:
Absolutely the most chilling interview I've heard in 30 years. Everyone who reads your post should listen to this Bill Moyer's program.ReplyDelete
I just watched the interview and was singularly unimpressed. Scahill did not speak of any violations of US law by the various armed guards. It seemed that he was trying to build the case that big men with scary black guns are evil by themselves.ReplyDelete
Blackwater tends to "lean forward" when there is potential employment. They have presented a credible plan to end the genocide in Dafur. Were they asked to send troops to Sudan to investigate? No, not that I am aware, but they DID and Prince claims that they can end the Janjaweed killings. I think that most of your competitive security groups saw the need in New Orleans before the assorted government agencies realized that the government had lost control. A measurable percentage of NO's police simply disappeared. Citizens(and, yes, property) were at the mercy of armed gangs. Small communities throughout the region had armed volunteers who assisted with crime control. NO had a local government who was confiscating weapons. Lack of police, lack of armed law abiding citizens, and lack of organization left a power vacuum that Blackwater filled.
I understand the fear that some people have of armed professionals. The fear is unwarranted. The majority of the men employed by Blackwater are the kind of patriots patriot that one usually reads about in history books. These fellows take pride in America seriously. The money is not that great.