America is plummeting into a trap that caused the greatest empires of the age to fall and become nothing more than chapters in our history textbooks. The act of privatizing armies is a common topic in history as is the use of mercenaries, both of which led to absolute rule or the destruction of the empire.
Today, this is fueled by politics and corruption, as well as simple apathy toward what many are calling America’s military revolution.
The largest private military corporation in America is Blackwater USA, whose goal is “to protect those who are defenseless and provide a free voice for all.”
Adding to their congeniality, they are known to be the “most responsive, cost-effective means of affecting the strategic balance in support of security and peace, and freedom and democracy.”
If these words are not sincere, then at the very least the public relations official who helped design www.blackwaterusa.com deserves a raise.
Despite their seemingly commendable aspirations, Blackwater employees are currently under investigation for the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians. However, it is probably ill-advised for me to use the words under investigation since no one has actually been accused of a crime.
No, the question to be pondered is whether there is enough evidence to start an investigation. Furthermore, Blackwater was given partial immunity by the State Department, making anything said in an official statement useless to the prosecutors.
According to Blackwater accounts, their teams encountered a car bomb and then a shootout occurred between Blackwater guards and Iraqi security officials, killing civilians in the crossfire. Conversely, Iraqi eyewitnesses state that Blackwater guards fired an explosive at a car that was speeding then processed to fire without provocation into the surrounding area. However, it should be conceded that the Iraqis may be slightly biased given their last encounter in 2004 when Blackwater contractors were found burnt, mutilated, and hanging from a bridge across the Euphrates River in Falluja, Iraq — a situation that brings up memories of the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.
If President Theodore Roosevelt could become involved in the Russo-Japanese War and win a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts why can we not solve the growing issues on our own soil?
After admitting that President George W. Bush invaded Iraq illegally, Richard Perle, former assistant secretary of defense, stated to the press: “I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing.”
Years later, will this be the excuse that befalls the lips of America’s politicians upon questioning why we ignored the Alien Torte Claim Act? We are students who hear the words “liberty and justice for all” daily in homeroom in a country that spilled blood for democracy. If we start bending our morals for the sake of security and continually making exceptions to the laws that supposedly protect us, when will we start breaking that which binds our society together? Let us not end with “He loved Big Brother.”
Suelynn Ren is a 10th-grader at Shaker High School in Latham.