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27 April 2007

Fallujah, 31 Mar 2004. Four fully-armed men in uniform, driving a US Army jeep are gunned down in an ambush. Their bodies are mutilated and hung from a bridge over the Euphrates river. Americans? Yes, of course. Soldiers or Marines? Neither. They were ostensibly civilians. But this humiliation created a backlash against the townspeople that tipped the scales irrevocably into the chaos that reigns today. These civilians were employees of Blackwater whose primary mission it is to provide military training for special forces engaged in combat. Blackwater also supplies mercenaries and even equipment. Blackwater is in effect, the largest private army on earth, fully capable of effecting regime change on its own in many of the less developed nations on this earth.

As a recent phenomenon (last 15 yrs or so), the international community has yet to accommodate private trainers, advisors and armies into any legal framework. Several came into being, even before Blackwater. Blackwater, however, was admirably placed. Geographically 30 minutes or so from Washigton by air, politically conservative, connected to the Neocons running the show, backed financially by a billionaire, and openly preaching born-again Christianity, 9/11 gave them a supreme opportunity.

Shortly after the Iraq war began, Blackwater became a sole-source supplier to all government agencies involved in the fight against terror. In Iraq, all private contractors are even immune to Iraqi law as long as they pursue the terms of their contract. This in effect means that Blackwater in Iraq is a law unto itself! Intimidation of the local populace became the norm and exacerbated Abu Ghraib. It also gave bin Laden added fuel in motivating anti-occupation sentiment throughout the world of Islam. The upsurge in suicide terror quickly followed the Fallujah and Najaf "incidents."

For Blackwater and their kin, 9/11 meant profits--obscene profits. When Bremer went to Baghdad his guards cost $300 each per day. When he left, his Blackwater guards each cost $600 per day--a direct result of sole-sourcing private services. Bremer's final two days in Iraq were spent touring Baghdad, saying goodbye. His entourage ordered 17 extra humvees, three Blackwater helicopters with two sharpshooters each, over the direct route. In addition, the military supplied two Blackhawk helicopters to patrol the flanks in addition to F-16 fighter bombers supplying top cover. In the space of one short year, Bremer had become the most hated man in all of Iraq. He had a price of 10 kilograms of gold, roughly $750,000, on his head, courtesy of bin Laden. Suicide bombing was gaining a momentum that is still on the rise to this day.

In 2003, there was no connection between Iraq and bin Laden. Iraq was not training and exporting terrorists. Today it is doing both as a western outpost of al Qa'ida. Is this the way to win the war against terror?

Sources for the material on this page include:

"Will things go wrong? Sure they will, it's a war zone. But when they do, we'll fix it, we always have -- for 60 years, for both political parties."
- David J. Lesar, CEO, Halliburton

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