Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Would Write This, But I've Been Contracted Out

I'm curious to your opinions on the war in Iraq. It's been known as a few things: first it was to get rid of the WMD's that Saddam Hussein had (what the fuck exactly is a WMD? Are they chemical/biological weapons, nuclear weapons or something else we've yet to hear about). Second we we're told what a tyrant he was (a decade ago when we were his ally in the Iran/Iraq conflict, if you didn't know), and third, that the Iraq's wanted "freedom" (which was, truthfully, the election of people from the same sect of Islam as the majority of constituents, and wasn't anything to do to with the values or political ideals of the candidates). All three have plenty of holes in them, are are worse than I'm sure the government issued body armor.

What is known, factually, at least about this war, is that truly, this is not a war between different Iraqi sects, militias and insurgents (I won't sure the word "terrorist," which I'll explain in another blog) against the United States forces. It just isn't. This is a war between those aforementioned Iraqi groups and the American issued contractors. Now, what is a contractor you say.

Honestly, contracting shouldn't be a terrible thing. Sadly though, it has become one. Contracting, or the paying off of others to do jobs for you, isn't hard to find, even here domestically. If I wanted a new roof on my house, I'm not doing it. For a fee, I would contract a roofing company to do it for me. Sounds normal? However, the issue is that this administration is contracting more companies to do more things in Iraq than any other presidency has done in any other war, in the history of America. We also aren't just contracting things like roofs over in Iraq (which means that an Iraqi company can't do it). Companies such as Blackwater are contracting bodyguards for important diplomats.

A few months back if you recall, Senator John McCain went into a Green Zone shopping area and declared it perfectly safe. He did so with body armor and a Blackwater brigade behind him. Not a US Army brigade, but a grouping of contracted, Blackwater bodyguards. All diplomats are forced to have brigades like this behind them. Blackwater has taken control of the business of patrol. Scarier enough, Blackwater is the top contracting firm, when it comes to Iraqi casualties (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/27/world/middleeast/27contractor.html). Odd group to have as your "protection." What also upsets me about this, is money. Does a company that provides an alternative to the army... for bodyguards and protection, cost all that much? Honestly, they do, as told on salon.com:

Using Blackwater instead of US troops to protect embassy officials is expensive. Blackwater charges the government $1,222 per day for the services of a private military contractor. This is equivalent to $445,000 per year, over 6 times more than the cost of an equivalent US soldier...

Since the beginning of this war, the company Blackwater has received $1,024,519,018 (http://www.salon.com/news/primary_sources/2007/10/02/blackwater_memorandum/). I find this to be appalling; we are taking money out of the pocket of the desperate-to-help-his-country marine, and giving it to employers of a company who basically charge EXTRA for the same work. SIX TIMES EXTRA. When Republicans who are in favor of contracting and act faux "patriotic," is this even discussed? A real patriot would want these corporate venom out of our battlefields! I don't think it's alright to discuss free market ideas when we are talking about the military security of our country... do you?

I have no issue with the contracting of talented people to help with jobs that can't easily be done by the surrounding people. However, when these groups are "awarded" no bid contracts (usually, contractors underbid one another and are chosen for whomever gives the best deal... here that does not occur, and certain companies are just given the job, almost always due to political or social connections), it only makes it worse, and gives the head of the contracting firm more and more cash. It also puts smaller firms out of business (again, making a competitive free market economy impossible to upkeep).

I have a problem with the contracting of governmentally sensitive positions being given to the lowest bidder (if there's even a bidding at all). Jobs like, the protector of politicians, should be done by our own raised and grown US Military... not a company selling bodyguards. However, it gets much worse from this point.

"Many Blackwater operatives have been given immunity in cases brought to court, which has been granted out personally from the Bush White House." (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/10/29/bush-administration-promi_n_70302.html).

What statement does this make to our troops, and to the average citizen? It tells me that Bush's first eye glances towards his contracted friends, and not to United States troops, the latter whom he fawns over and people love with such a brute naiveness. The bigger question, is what is the connection the Bush administration has to Blackwater?

The owner of Blackwater, is a man named Erik Prince. Erik is an Evangelical Christian Conservative (sound familiar?). His father been known to have close friendship's with very pro-life people, such as Gary Bauer. Now Erik's sister, Betsy, was the head of Michigan's Republican Party until 2005. She married a man named Dick DeVos. In 2003, Forbes claimed DeVos was worth $1.7 billion. Why is this important you ask? Well, the company owned by the DeVos's has been responsible for giving $7.5 million to Republican candidates since 1990. They have also given to many other groups, including Focus on the Family. Erik Prince himself has donated near $150,000 to many Republican candidates. Prince also worked as President George W.H. Bush's intern for 6 months (http://iraqforsale.bravenewfilms.org/blog/344-blackwater-runs-red).

Wrapping up; the parallels Erik Prince and his family, have to the Republican Party, along with agreements he has with the current Bush policy (demonizing of Gays, opposition to the Clean Air Bill), is enough reason to have quite the suspicion.

Why is a guy who owns a company that basically guts our own military from within getting privilege, money, and special rights from our President? Blood is thicker than water. That's your answer. It's sad to see that our President is giving money to a guy that undermines our troops, due to their familial financial contributions, and their ability to see eye to eye on some "important" issues. Now the real question is, how is it possible that major media outlets haven't made more mention of this? Within this crime, is the real one.

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