Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Swamp Rat

Sinking in a Swamp Full of Blackwater
Published: October 3, 2007

Blackwater is a term for wastewater contaminated with fecal matter and urine unsuitable for reuse. It also the name of a quasi-military training and security company.

Maureen Dowd goes all philosophical and quotes Nietzsche to illustrate the metaphorical quagmire that we are in.

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster,” Nietzsche said. “And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
Friedrich Nietzsche was a nineteenth century philosopher most famous for questioning traditional moral structures and developing the concept of man and superman. The quote used is from Jenseits von Gut und Böse, (Beyond Good and Evil) published in 1886.
Americans have been antimercenary since the British sent 30,000 German Hessians after George Washington in the Revolutionary War.
Hessians were mercenary troops controlled by German princes sent to assist the British crown in suppressing the American Revolution. George Washington in his Farewell Address warned America about getting involved with foreign entanglements. MoDo also invokes by allusion another famous general turned president.
Once there was the military-industrial complex. Now we have the mercenary-evangelical complex.
The phrase “military industrial complex" was coined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his final speech in office:
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
By invoking both Washington and Eisenhower, Dowd is contrasting their thoughtful and experienced wisdom with the reckless actions of the current draft-dodging president who has subcontracted out large portions of the logistical support of the Iraq war to politically connected contractors. MoDo connects the dots for the slower readers:
Mr. Prince [president of Blackwater USA], a former intern to the first President Bush and a former Navy Seal, is from a well-to-do and well-connected Republican family from Michigan.

He and his father both have close ties to conservative Christian groups. His sister was a Pioneer for W., raising $100,000 in 2004, and Erik Prince has given more than $225,000 to Republicans.

Blackwater, in turn, has been the beneficiary of $1 billion in federal contracts, including a no-bid contract with the State Department worth hundreds of millions.
A foreign entanglement driven by the profit motive of the military-industrial complex. Who could have predicted that would be a bad idea?

1 comment:

RoseCovered Glasses said...

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak. I believed another Vietnam could be avoided with defined missions and the best armaments in the world.

It made no difference.

We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). If you would like to read how this happens please see:

Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control. Government and industry are merging and that is very dangerous.

There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

For more details see: