Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Obfuscating the Real Issues.

While everyone is waxing hysterical over the manufactured controversy regarding President Obama's speech to schoolchildren, clearly a non-issue, there are real controversial issues that need to be addressed.

For example, why is President Obama continuing some of the Bush administration's disastrous policies, specifically retaining Blackwater (rebranded Xe pronounced “z”obviously a ploy to operate in the shadows rather the limelight of their murderous past), which is owned by right-wing religious fanatic, and "Christian" crusader, Erik Prince, who is currently accused of murder.

Why isn't Obama doing more to reverse the Bush Administration's destructive courses of action and instead relying on what can only be called, "Bush-era tactics." ?

Why isn't he doing more to stop the senseless bloodshed...to stop the hiring of mercenaries from "for profit" war corporations, who currently comprise more than half of all military forces in U.S. war zones?

Why does the Congressional research group, report civilian contractors working for the Pentagon in Afghanistan not only outnumber the uniformed troops, but also form the highest ratio of contractors to military personnel recorded in any war in the history of the United States?

What happened to the Stop Outsourcing Security Act? , which would have phased out the use of private military contractors? Open Congress reports that secure it's interests regardless of costs in collateral damages.

Could it be that war profiteering is just too profitable to the corporate elite to put a halt to mercenary armies?

Do we really need a new super-sized U.S. embassy in Islamabad that rivals the scale of Bush's giant U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was completed last year after construction delays at a cost of $740 million?

So, why not hire private contractors, especially when our military is stretched so thin in various places around the world?

Jeremy Scahill eloquently answers this question and I will do my best to paraphrase. He basically says, when it becomes a necessity to hire an army of people to fight a war, it’s not a reflection of the will of “we the people”. If this were truly a war of national defense, people would willingly sign up, and the government would impose a draft. In this situation, however, imposing a draft would almost certainly put an end to this war as it would surely serve as the fuel needed to fire "we the people" up.

180,000 private contractors are in Iraq right now working for "for profit" war corporations. There are only 150,000 US soldiers. There are 630 corporations on the US government payroll in Iraq. 40% of the money being spent on the occupation in Iraq goes directly to these corporations.

This administration has circumvented the democratic process in order to keep a draft off the table. They have replaced a system of negotiation or international diplomacy or coalition of willing nations with a coalition of corporations. This not only violates democratic principles in the United States, it violates the sovereignty of nations around the world because they are hiring people from countries who are against the war.

On of the gravest matters regarding this issue is that the contractors have not been held to the same standards as the military. They are not held accountable under any system of law whatsoever. 70 soldiers have been court marshaled on murder related charges alone since the beginning of the Iraq war. Not one armed contractor has been prosecuted for any crime under any legal system.

Our soldiers are lucky if they're earning $40,000/year. Their families are at home saving their own money to buy body armor, meanwhile these contractors are making six figures and have much better equipment than our soldiers, manufactured by one of the companies that make up the Prince global empire. In addition, our soldiers often pay the price for the misconduct of the contractors, as they are above the law.

It wasn't all that surprising to see our government stoop so low as to hire Blackwater contractors take on the truly "dangerous" .... dying cancer patients, when Bush was in office, because, after all, President Bush was in office. However, it is surprising to see the escalation of some of Bush's most controversial policies under President Obama.

The bottom line is we need to differentiate between real issues and manufactured issues designed to steer us away from what is in our best interest.

Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)

Contracts to Blackwater USA from 2000-2008

Triple Canopy and DynCorp.

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