The Pro-War Undertow of the Blackwater Scandal

[…] the problem with Blackwater’s activities is not that they “undermine” the U.S. military’s “efforts” and “mission” in Iraq. The efforts and the mission shouldn’t exist.

A real hazard of preoccupations with Blackwater is that it will become a scapegoat for what is profoundly and fundamentally wrong with the U.S. effort and mission. Condemnation of Blackwater, however justified, can easily be syphoned into a political whirlpool that demands a cleanup of the U.S. war effort — as though a relentless war of occupation based on lies could be redeemed by better management — as if the occupying troops in Army and Marine uniforms are incarnations of restraint and accountability.

Midway through this month, the Associated Press reported that “U.S. and Iraqi officials are negotiating Baghdad’s demand that security company Blackwater USA be expelled from the country within six months, and American diplomats appear to be working on how to fill the security gap if the company is phased out.” We can expect many such stories in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, we get extremely selective U.S. media coverage of key Pentagon operations. Bombs explode in remote areas, launched from high-tech U.S. weaponry, and few who scour the American news pages and broadcasts are any the wiser about the human toll.

With all the media attention to sectarian violence in Iraq, the favorite motif of coverage is the suicide bombing that underscores the conflagration as Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence. American reporters and commentators rarely touch on the U.S. occupation as perpetrator and catalyst of the carnage. READ MORE

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