Monday, March 19, 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Who is the biggest terrorist of them all? Have you ever wanted to see what a real life terrorist and murderer looks like? If you are an American just look in a mirror.

Our propensity for killing citizens of Iraq goes back to the sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990 by the UN at the urging of the American government following the Iraq invasion of Kuwait. Though the numbers of deaths, mostly very young children, are disputed UNICEF put the total at around half a million. Can you wrap your mind around half a million dead children? When Madeleine Albright was asked about the number of deaths she replied “We think the price is worth it.” What a charming woman. But the blame for these deaths lay at the feet of not only our government but us as well as our own inexcusable ignorance and complacency has made horror stories like this possible, government for the people by the people after all.

Of course today we no longer bother with sanitary sounding words like “sanctions” we just kill, kill, kill and kill some more no longer relegating it to defenseless children but rather on a wholesale all inclusive slaughter which is no doubt very democratic of us. I have little doubt we are teaching the Iraqi the true meaning of democracy. Though the number of dead Iraq citizens will probably never be known even if we take a conservative estimate the sum total of the sanctions and our illegal invasion must add up to well over a million.

The other day I was watching a documentary on war profiteering by companies like Blackwater, nice name by the way, where the family of a Blackwater soldier who was killed in Iraq were being interviewed. Their first reaction was that the blame for the death of their family member lay at the feet of Iraq “insurgents” who are “trained to hate” which the surviving family no doubt picked up from our ever honest news media whose culpability in our criminal endeavors is monumental. Later they blamed the U.S. government and Blackwater itself for gross negligence in the death of their loved one. What amazed me is that it never, ever, once crossed their minds that perhaps their dead son should not have joined an organization like Blackwater or that maybe -- just maybe, we should not be invading other countries for fun and profit. And this is really the crux of the matter that as long as Americans live with the delusion that we are the “good guys” all manner of atrocities, mayhem and murder are possible.

Blackwater itself has an interesting history which you can read about in this article called "Blackwater Rising" here are few snippets.

Blackwater was founded in 1996 by conservative Christian multimillionaire and ex-Navy SEAL Erik Prince – the scion of a wealthy Michigan family whose generous political donations helped fuel the rise of the religious right and the Republican revolution of 1994. At its founding, the company largely consisted of Prince’s private fortune and a vast 5,000-acre plot of land located near the Great Dismal Swamp in Moyock, North Carolina. Its vision was “to fulfill the anticipated demand for government outsourcing of firearms and related security training.” In the following years, Prince, his family and his political allies poured money into Republican campaign coffers, supporting the party’s takeover of Congress and the ascension of George W. Bush to the presidency.

While Blackwater won government contracts during the Clinton era, which was friendly to privatization, it was not until the “war on terror” that the company’s glory moment arrived. Almost overnight, following September 11, the company would become a central player in a global war. “I’ve been operating in the training business now for four years and was starting to get a little cynical on how seriously people took security,” Prince told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly shortly after 9/11. “The phone is ringing off the hook now.”

And this.

While much of the publicity Blackwater has received stems from Falluja, another, more recent incident is attracting new scrutiny. On Christmas Eve inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, an American Blackwater contractor allegedly shot and killed an Iraqi bodyguard protecting a senior Iraqi official. For weeks after the shooting, unconfirmed reports circulated around the Internet that alcohol may have been involved and that the Iraqi was shot ten times in the chest. The story then went that the contractor was spirited out of Iraq before he could be prosecuted. Media inquiries got nowhere—the US Embassy refused to confirm that it was a Blackwater contractor, and the company refused to comment.

So as American citizens are insulated from the death and destruction that we are responsible for by the news media, our politicians, and the hiring of private thugs and murderers to do our dirty work it is perhaps of little surprise that we are to a large extent oblivious to our own true nature, after all we were told that this would be a war without sacrifice and indeed taxes were cut even as we entered into the world of shock and awe but if you wish to sleep well at night please stay away from mirrors.