Friday, March 02, 2007

Opinion (Yuram Weiler): The dangers of private armies

Since the onslaught of the Reagan administration in 1981, the “free market” has been promoted as the panacea to cure all economic ills. The idea is that “market forces”, Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”, best determine the most efficient distribution of scarce economic resources. The free market solution, also known as privatization or deregulation, has been applied to everything from private companies such as railroads and telephone companies, once thought of as having an obligation to serve the public, to governmental agencies such as water systems, public transit and even prisons. Now, the free market solution is slowly being applied to the U.S. military as well as civilian police forces.

Enter Blackwater, co-founded in 1997 by Erik Prince, a former Navy Seal, and Gary Jackson, a major Republican Party contributor. Erik Prince is a billionaire, right-wing fundamentalist Christian with strong Republican Party connections who gave some $80,000 to the Republican National Committee in support of Bush’s presidential coup in 2000 and more in 2004.

Blackwater, by its own admission, says on its web site: “We are not simply a private security company. We are a professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations firm who provides turnkey solutions. We assist with the development of national and global security policies and military transformation plans.”

Read the rest at the Tehran Times