Sunday, September 5, 2010

Washington rules/the return of Blackwater

I'm very curious to read Andrew Bacevich's new book, Washington rules: America's path to permanent war, reviewed here by the New York Times. It seemed a particularly timely read on Friday, when the NYT broke a story, hints of which have been floating around the margins of the news for some time now, about the use of shell companies and subsidiaries by Xe (formerly Blackwater) to obtain contacts. This is the company that had odium heaped on it after its employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians (not, it emerged later, an isolated incident). But it would seem that no company is too dirty, too tarred by murder, mayhem and a lack of professionalism, to be kept by the intelligence and military communities of the United States. It is no wonder that Afghans and Iraqis doubt our goodwill. We give them very little reason to suspect that their sovereignty and their lives are of any value, as we continue to employ companies with this kind of track record.

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