Wednesday, July 9, 2008

U.S. mercenaries in Iraq Serious Concern of US MIlitary

U.S. mercenaries in Iraq |

Jeremy Scahill, an investigative journalist and author of the award-winning book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, spoke at Socialism 2008 on the spread of privatized war corporations and the struggle against them.

Blackwater's heavily armed security forces

"I GAVE a talk the other day in San Francisco in front of an audience primarily of military people. I was invited by the Marines' Memorial Association of San Francisco, and I was actually introduced by Major Gen. Mike Myatt, who was one of the commanders of the 1991 Gulf War."

"WHAT HAPPENED after this shooting in Nisour Square--which became known in some circles as Baghdad's Bloody Sunday--was that the Iraqi government was under the mistaken impression that Nuri al-Maliki was actually the prime minister of Iraq. What they did is say that Blackwater needs to leave this country, and the men who did this shooting would be prosecuted in Iraqi courts as criminals.

Of course, things are not as simple as that. Nuri al-Maliki is not the prime minister of Iraq; Condoleezza Rice apparently is. Jalal Talabani is not the president of Iraq; George Bush apparently is...

...For three days after this shooting, Blackwater's operations were halted, as Washington and its puppet regime in Baghdad discussed this diplomatic crisis. And for those three days, no U.S. officials could go anywhere outside the Green Zone. They were trapped with the Cinnabons and the Burger Kings and the Pizza Huts. One Iraqi friend said it was as though the Green Zone had been turned into the Green Zoo--because they were all trapped inside of it.

Many of you are probably already aware of this, but a lot of people in this country aren't--the United States spends more than $2.3 billion every week occupying Iraq. Forty cents of every dollar spent on the occupation of Iraq goes directly to a for-profit war corporation. There are 630 corporations on the U.S. government payroll in Iraq, with 180,000 personnel. That's more than there are U.S. troops in Iraq--there are 150,000 U.S. troops...

...This is the internationalization of war, and using the poor of the world as cannon fodder to occupy a country that has been systematically targeted by the United States and whose economy has been destabilized.

Right now, this remains a virtual non-issue in Congress. But it represents a very, very dangerous trend. The United Nations is now investigating this--they have a working group on mercenaries that has been traveling the globe investigating this. Because if you look at the fact that there are 177 mercenary companies in Iraq alone right now, and you realize that's almost as many nations as there are registered at the UN, it raises very serious questions about global order--about monopoly on the use of force....

...Whenever we think that grassroots activism or grassroots struggle isn't central to changing this country, the moment we start to think that there's a politician who's somehow capable of overhauling the system and bringing justice to the heart of America, when they try to marginalize those who believe in justice, those who stand for what's right, those who soar above the Democratic Party with others to struggle for meaningful change and meaningful justice, we must remember that we are part of a vast majority in this world....

...We need an internationalized perspective--getting away from false nationalism--of solidarity with others who live on the other side of the barrel of the gun that is foreign policy, and those who live under it here at home in prisons and poor communities across this country, with the victims of police brutality, the death penalty, the almost $5 a gallon gasoline prices, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the health care crisis.

It's all one struggle, and we need to remember any moment we feel down that we are part of a global movement that is strong and growing every day."

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