Blackwater Down

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jeremy Scahill, reporter for The Nation and author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (Nation Books, 2007), discusses the role of private contractors in the Iraq war, and Blackwater's recent troubles in Iraq.

Blackwater is available for purchase at


Jeremy Scahill

Comments [24]


Has anyone thought of the men themselves? And that they, everyday, may come under fire and will give their lives for their principals? Would you rather have a highly trained operative protecting you, who had to FIGHT for the privelege to get there?
Blackwater and others like them leave our men and women in the armed forces to do the jobs they need to do. The soldiers have enough to do without having to babysit diplomats.
It may not be perfect, but it isn't on Blackwater, it is a systematic failure.

Oct. 09 2007 12:56 AM
figa from Brooklyn

Those beeps on Scahill's line were clearly THE MAN trying to keep the truth from getting out.

Sep. 20 2007 10:12 AM
Paul from Manhattan

Please, can we get an answer somewhere?
If the employee gets $650 per day, how much do we pay Blackwater?

Sep. 19 2007 11:41 AM
Trevor from LIC

Support our privatized, outsourced and mercenary troops!

Sep. 19 2007 11:39 AM
Ernesto from Tenafly, NJ


Please ask Mr. Scahill what seems to me to be the obvious question:

Does Blackwater, as a sub of the US State Dept. in Iraq, have diplomatic immunity as would any other security detail for foreign embassies in any country?

Thank you.

Sep. 19 2007 11:37 AM
Sunphat Yau from X-nyc-LA 4a bit

I wonder if part of the rise of companies like blackwater is partly borne out of the neutering of our armed services? Along the same lines I guess this war more resembles viet Nam and Algieria which is a huge contrast to Korea and WWII.

Sep. 19 2007 11:37 AM
Paulo from New Jersey

A friend in the Swedish special forces was in Sierra Leone a couple of years ago, and he said that Blackwater was helping to protect the human traffickers that they were there to stop. Any word on the accuracy of that?

Sep. 19 2007 11:31 AM
clare gregorian from new york city

It troubles me that since the mercenary forces transport and supply food, gasoline, fuels, and many other support services, the armed forces can no longer do these tasks themselves, making them utterly dependent on these private contractors. Clearly, we will be responsible for evacuating all 180,000 of them as well as our soldiers, and the complications inherent in this relationship that enfeebles our armed forces are stupefying to contemplate.

Sep. 19 2007 11:28 AM
barry from Manhattan

They should kick out Blackwater as a signal to all groups like BW that consequences exist. It is time to make of example of them.
Iraq would be smart pursue this till the end.

Sep. 19 2007 11:28 AM
Brian Tourville from New Paltz, New York

Sounds like the Iraqi Gov. is talking 'Iranese' -
Gov'mt is known to be infiltrated and Iran leaning.

Author is a Sophomore - never been in Iraq with a Unit ? Don't talk 'girlie' talk.

Sep. 19 2007 11:27 AM
ab from nyc

Roman history buff here :)

Sep. 19 2007 11:27 AM
mary anne from new york

Before 9/11 we did not imagine we wold be attacked at home.

Are we also nieve about a military coup in the US?
We are financing the mercinary army wing of the far right.

Does Mr Scahill see this as a threat?

Sep. 19 2007 11:25 AM
Michael from New York, NY

Mr. Scahill's comments are very interesting.

(1) In light of these events, what is to be done?

(2) Is there no one from Blackwater or another private contractor that was willing to speak on your show to give us a little more context?

Sep. 19 2007 11:23 AM
Trevor from LIC

Good call Robert.

Any Roman history buffs listening?

I'd always thought I would end up like Boethius...

Sep. 19 2007 11:22 AM
Bill from NYC

Exhibit A that blackwater is reckless is the trophy video made a while back, where they can be seen shooting for fun at random cars:

Sep. 19 2007 11:21 AM
ab from nyc


Yes.....historically that is true. This trend toward using mercenaries is really a bad sign of things to come on so many levels

Sep. 19 2007 11:20 AM
Trevor from LIC

All of this reminds me of the film "The Wages of Fear", and its slightly-lesser remake, "Sorcerer".

Sep. 19 2007 11:20 AM
ab from nyc

Blackwater sounds like a Crusader army....mercenaries, former soldiers culled together by a religious zealot


If the fact that there is ANY question that the Iraqi government has the authority to throw Blackwater out doesn't prove the complete and utter hypocrisy of the Bush administration's rhetoric for our continued involvement in the war, then nothing will

We are supposedly building up his government to be a sovereign government..."when the Iraqi's stand up, we'll stand down.." Well they are trying to stand up now and act like a government and throw out a bunch of mercenaries who are killing and abusing their citizens....and we're going to block that??????


Sep. 19 2007 11:17 AM
Robert from NYC

Hasn't history taught that the use of mercenary armies is a sign of the decline of nations?! You have to pay outside groups to fight wars and "maintain order" (huh!) and they aren't under any real control of the nation who pays them rather the folks who run these armies control them. This is a sign of decay as much as the current administration is a sign of decay.

Sep. 19 2007 11:16 AM
barry from Manhattan

Military Outsourcing is not going away but killing Blackwaters contracts would make it clear to all these competing groups that they will be held accountable for screw-ups.

Sep. 19 2007 11:13 AM
eCAHNomics from nyc

What's the point of having a puppet government in Iraq if the U.S. can't do what it wants to do?

Sep. 19 2007 11:08 AM
Trevor from LIC

Naomi Klein discusses like issues in her book, "Disaster Capitalism".

Sep. 19 2007 11:01 AM
Paul from Manhattan

Do we know how much Blackwater is being paid?

If a Blackwater employee is paid $650 or more
per day, then what is our daily payment to

Was Blackwater represented on Secretary Rumsfeld's advisory board, as was Booz-Allen, and Richard Perle's company, and others supplying staff to
Justice, Homeland Security, and the Defense Department?

Sep. 19 2007 10:50 AM
mark Brown from or

See my various PREVIOUS discussions about

* UN-Privatizing the Military
* National Talk like a Pirate day (9/19/07)

Here (shudders to think he actually points to a LYNDON LAROUCHE article)


AND HERE for talk like a pirate day....

How 'bout a closing hour segment on TLAPD today!

Mark Brown (unfortunately Away from a radio for oday!

Sep. 19 2007 08:30 AM

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