The truth about Blackwater

Book review
Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army
By Jeremy Scahill
Nation Books, 2007
Hardcover, 452 pp., $26.95

On the surface, Jeremy Scahill’s “Blackwater” is a reflection of the visage of military privatization and its grounding in the Bush administration. Below the surface is the well-documented panoply of mechanisms and methods used to maintain class rule through disaster capitalism and government by surprise.

Hatched in a nest built by billionaire industrialists and nurtured by conservative religion, U.S. finance capital has raised the “world’s most powerful mercenary army.” By so doing, big business has sold out its commitment to community is pursuing its passion for military, political and religious domination.

The massive military privatization by then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney opened the door to large, privately held stockpiles of weapons. Reaction to Bill Clinton’s tax policies stoked a fire among the ultra-right. Contacts from the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush allowed the Blackwater company to develop a rational framework for its rise to power and avoid the pitfalls of “militias” in that period.

As if having learned from Jules Acher’s 1973 book “The Plot to Seize the White House,” the dictatorship of capital’s military arm lay in the weeds until the White House was seized by the scion of none other than Prescott Bush, a notorious fascist sympathizer.

The subtext to this first book by Scahill, an investigative journalist, is about power and wealth being consolidated in the hands of the capitalist class. Government privatization and outsourcing, no-bid, cost-plus contracts and voluntary standards are portrayed as being corrosive to the notion of public accountability for private enterprise.

The author goes deep in revealing the character and personages behind the business practices, cronyism, theft and violence of the current Bush regime. In doing so, he illuminates the bottom feeders in our so-called war on terror.

With Blackwater having been deployed in Iraq (where its “shoot first, ask questions later” policy is coming under heightened scrutiny) and in post-Katrina New Orleans, and with the company suggesting a “humanitarian” mission to Darfur and proposing a facility along the Mexican border, this book will send a chill up the spine of those who thinks about the future of democratic peoples and their movements.