An Unholy Union: The Privatisation of War


After asking a friend to choose one of three topics, the next book I am delving into is the world of mercenaries – investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill’s Blackwater. I am aware of Blackwater, now Academi, and of Erik Prince (brother of Betsy DeVos), but I am sure this book will bring much more to my attention. If ever there was a hell on Earth, where the world of business amalgamates with war would be at its core.

Privatisation is not a process I am fond of in any sector, a stance that leaves me endlessly disappointed and angry with the Australian government over. But war is different, it has its own level. Wars always have economic or ideological motivations behind them, backed heavily by private interests profiting off the destruction of mankind. In the US, Academi has made a name for itself by turning that destruction into an art.

Militias in the US are nothing new, but Blackwater’s role in the last 20-odd years has not been limited to the US. They have been contracted out by the US government for numerous purposes, the most egregious being the invasion of Iraq in 2003. They have courted controversy a number of times for having employees committing war crimes, of which I am sure there are many unknown cases of elsewhere too.

Whether it be through the manufacturing and selling of weapons, the development of systems designed to automate the ‘processes’ of war, or mercenary services, directly profiting from the intentional continuation of war is despicable. When the government is spending billions of dollars on contract after contract, a frightening pattern is glaringly obvious – it’s commonly known as the military-industrial complex.

The history of the phrase hardly needs detailing as it is pretty self-explanatory. Once you take away the thin veil of propaganda, rhetoric about ‘freedom’ or ‘loyal patriotism’ become absolute jokes in the context of fighting for one’s country. That part of this is done through private companies is the epitome of the farce, literally selling oneself in service of death. Once private interests are involved, there is no loyalty to country, really; it’s purely a machination of a corporate demon, the by-product of which is genocide.

People hardly need me to explain this – as I said, this vicious cycle and business is obvious to those who care to look. I just thought it was worth touching on, as it is something I am utterly opposed to in every way, and I am fascinated to see what this book will entail – nothing pretty, I imagine.

One of the quotes in the ‘praise’ section of the book is attributed to Martin Strong, listed as Vice President of Blackwater Worldwide. It says: “Jeremy Scahill actually doesn’t know anything about Blackwater.”

We will see about that.


Liked this? Read Molecules of Anything but Freedom

Previous piece: Island Off the Coast of Asia: A Reflection

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