❮BOOKS❯ ✮ Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army Author Jeremy Scahill – Dolove.info
This book covers Iraq and mercenaries in great detail However, I was unprepared for the section on Blackwater and Hurricane Katrina The author makes the point that guns were on the ground long before humanitarian aid was deployed I checked Blackwater s website and they claim to have donated time and effort, although they hide behind wording like in the first few days , leading one to believe this book s claim that they were well paid after those first few days I was also disturbed by the political lobbying to overturn South Africa s restrictions on its Nationals participating in private armies and the situation in Darfur.I could only read a little bit every morning The rage and disgust made this book impossible to read at night Also the short sightedness, what will happen now that we don t have a president who matches agendas with the owners of this large private army First, a little background on my own biases I saw September 11th with my own eyes, and fully supported a military response of whatever form necessary to capture Osama bin Laden and break up Afghani training camps for Al Qaeda I opposed the invasion of Iraq from day one, though was happy to see one less dictator in the world who had committed genocide against a portion of his own population I used to subscribe to The Nation, but eventually found its reporting to be wildly simplistic, dogmatic and plain uninteresting I have interned for the UN in Rwanda, and read widely about international affairs.This is a book on a fascinating topic, written moderately well The question at its center are we comfortable with the increasing privatization of our military, and all the attendant questions it raises is a good one Unfortunately, the author s answer is a foregone conclusion from page one, and the reader is expected to agree from the same starting point This was frustrating, and this book did not answer my questions, merely emphasizing them Often, the author cites DoD officials, leaders in the private security contracting industry, and political supporters as if the points they raise are so ridiculous they speak for themselves If the reader is not beholden to a specific political agenda, but genuinely curious about these issues, I think s he will find many times that these individuals will raise a good point Scahill needed to argue clearly and concisely why the things they were saying were so offensive Lots of research done for this book, but it did not quite up to the damning conclusion the author reaches.If anything, the disaster in Iraq should prove that the world s emerging security threats cannot be solved through traditional military solutions Many of the cases cited in the book, from Sierra Leone, to car bombings in the Middle East, to the ravages of Darfur, prove that the worst cases require new answersmobile,efficient,versatile forces, buoyed byin depth intelligence.There are many questionable aspects to the rise of mercenary forces in the war on terror The fact that they sit outside of any legal jurisdiction for their actions is perhaps the most damning, especially when so many of these soldiers come from countries with notoriously bad human rights records The amount of connections Blackwater specifically has with curious, secretive government initiatives such as the readying of military bases all along the Caspian border countries should get anyone s inner conspiracy theorist buzzing The extreme religious outlook of its leaders, given the places its troops are primarily active, should give one pause as to the true motives of this company.But like I mentioned, the overall effect of this is to raise some big questions ones that the author assumes are answered from page one In short, The Nation choir will sing its praises, but comes far short of claiming the conclusions it stakes out at the end Still, it s well researched, dives deep into many of the questions at play, and should be read as a means of provoking discussion on an important topic. On September , , Machine Gun Fire Erupted In Baghdad S Nisour Square, Leaving Seventeen Iraqi Civilians Dead, Among Them Women And Children The Shooting Spree, Labeled Baghdad S Bloody Sunday, Was Neither The Work Of Iraqi Insurgents Nor US Soldiers The Shooters Were Private Forces Working For The Secretive Mercenary Company, Blackwater Worldwide This Is The Explosive Story Of A Company That Rose A Decade Ago From Moyock, North Carolina, To Become One Of The Most Powerful Players In The War On Terror In His Gripping Bestseller, Award Winning Journalist Jeremy Scahill Takes Us From The Bloodied Streets Of Iraq To Hurricane Ravaged New Orleans To The Chambers Of Power In Washington, To Expose Blackwater As The Frightening New Face Of The US War Machine What is the downfall of empires associated with With the building of evermassive mercenary armiesPlease note that I put the original German text at the end of this review Just if you might be interested.The basis for the tremendous success of the now repeatedly renamed security firm Blackwater put the Republican initiatives in the term of George W Bush, which relied on the massive privatization of the American military Initially, logistics and supply tasks were primarily to be placed in the hands of private companies so that the army could concentrate on the primary responsibility of the struggle.It did not take a decade, however, until a private army of 50,000 men emerged This, armed with immunity from prosecution and the duties and responsibilities of the police and military, could also operate within Western democracies The analogies to events in world history show to what such tendencies lead.Behind the company are neoconservative advocates of neoliberalism from politics and economics, whose religious fanaticism holds the balance with enthusiasm for the proclaimed crusade to obtain world domination of the free market economy The first plans for privatization in the military sector have been around since the 90s, but only paved the New York attacks and the proclaimed war on terror evenexpansionary growth.This would have never been possible before in this form because of concerns of constitutional and civil rights activists Specifically, Patriot Act and consorts aim at nothingthan the establishment of a close meshed surveillance network No sooner had the search for the perpetrators started than the rotation of various revolving doors began and swift politicians working in parallel between politics and the security branch drove Blackwater to work.A few weeks after the attacks, they began to take full advantage of the now flattened possibilities and to enact new laws and regulations and to undermine old, obstructive constitutional articles First, for the training and equipping of police, military, and intelligence agencies of the US by private companies Then for the privatization of the war in Iraq But not all mercenaries came from the USA and Europe in the sense of maximizing profits, because they demanded horrendous prices In the spirit of wage dumping, former paramilitaries, torturers and potential war criminals from different countries were organized.In particular, the former Latin American death squads and unemployed South African apartheid soldiers enjoyed enormous popularity due to their efficiency and experience and were used in large numbers in Iraq Even their American teachers were reactivated for training in Iraq so that the fighters were also up to date in the field of asymmetrical warfare, abduction, embarrassing interrogation techniques and needle sticking operations.As American civilian tactics of shock therapy caused civil order in Iraq to collapse, the number of security guarded security companies and their associates increased steadily until it settled into a 1 1 ratio to the armed forces Since much has been paid out of black and for the safety of the United States secret coffers, neither the exact financial framework nor the number of employed mercenaries can be quantified.The increase in forces often followed the pattern of screaming for deadly attacks on Blackwater workers in Iraq after evencrackdown and an increase in contingents.When hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, it sparked a double spark Both the deployment of a private, full shadowed militia to protect infrastructure and the privatization of disaster relief began There were legitimate concerns about the use of domestic paramilitary groups, which were accountable neither to the judiciary nor the police and acted on behalf and in the interests of private individuals.Since 2006, private security companies are also officially part of the American armed forces, which should be useful for the further growth of security companies These companies blatantly define the protection of private infrastructure and company ownership as part of, if not core, their area of responsibility With the argument that the economy would be desirable as an attack target because of its importance for the US for terrorists.Which includes civil disobedience, sit ins, peaceful protest, demonstrations, and blockades, is obvious Terrorist, subversive activities that should be tackled with all severity of state and civilian forces War against your people.Another location for Blackwater is the Caspian Sea region Both the encirclement of Russia with vassal states of the USA the construction of a pipeline through terrain weakened by Russia s influence to soften it, as well as the creation of bases for a potential war against Iran form the motive for its deployment Blackwater employees are expected to train a local militia and build an army steered by the US, as a direct military presence would be too prominent a provocation for Russia and Iran.Where, on whose behalf and with which tasks entrusted all the private security companies, whose signboard Blackwater is, worldwide, evades due to a rigid secrecy policy the knowledge of all control authorities.The fact that the concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people leads to worrying developments is an old known fact, the description of which almost bursts the history books An increasingly alienated from the general public and democratic principles Moloch builds up to secure his interests on an unmanageable and uncontrollable mercenary army Only the clients know about its exact tasks and activities.It is to be hoped that the shift to asustainable economic order will be untypically slow and peaceful, rather than culminating in aanddelayed and thus exacerbated collapse If the worst comes to worst, the ruling authorities will be protected by their hired killers, while the vast majority of the population will sink into chaos, civil war, and misery.For in what ways does the world today differ significantly from former empires Womit geht der Untergang von Imperien einher Mit dem Aufbau immer gr erer S ldnerarmeenDie Basis f r den gewaltigen Erfolg der mittlerweile schon mehrmals umbenannten Sicherheitsfirma Blackwater legten die republikanischen Initiativen in der Amtszeit George W Bushs, die auf eine massive Privatisierung des amerikanischen Milit rs setzten Urspr nglich sollten prim r Logistik und Versorgungsaufgaben in die H nde von Privatfirmen gelegt werden, damit sich die Armee auf die Hauptaufgabe des Kampfes konzentrieren konnte.Es brauchte jedoch kein Jahrzehnt, bis sich eine Privatarmee von 50.000 Mann herausbildete Diese, mit Immunit t vor Strafverfolgung und den Aufgaben und Kompetenzen von Polizei und Milit r ausgestattet, konnte auch innerhalb westlicher Demokratien t tig werden Die Analogien zu Geschehnissen in der Weltgeschichte zeigen, wozu solche Tendenzen f hren.Hinter dem Unternehmen stehen neokonservative Verfechter des Neoliberalismus aus Politik und Wirtschaft, deren religi ser Fanatismus sich mit der Begeisterung f r den ausgerufenen Kreuzzug zur Erlangung der Weltherrschaft der freien Marktwirtschaft die Waage h lt.Erste Pl ne f r Privatisierungen im Milit rbereich gab es bereits seit den 90er Jahren, jedoch ebneten erst die Anschl ge in New York und der ausgerufene Krieg gegen den Terror ein noch expansiveres Wachstum Dieses w re vorher wegen Bedenken von Verfassungssch tzern und B rgerrechtlern in dieser Form niemals m glich gewesen Es zielen speziell Patriot Act und Konsorten auf nichts anderes als die Errichtung eines engmaschigen berwachungsnetzwerkes.Kaum hatte die Suche nach den T tern begonnen, setzte auch schon die Rotation diverser Dreht ren ein und flugs zwischen Politik und Sicherheitsbranche wechselnde oder parallel arbeitende Politiker lotsten Blackwater Auftr ge zu Wenige Wochen nach den Anschl gen begann man die nun geebneten M glichkeiten voll auszusch pfen und neue Gesetze und Verordnungen zu erlassen und alte, hinderliche Verfassungsartikel auszuh hlen Zuerst f r die Ausbildung und Ausstattung von Polizei, Milit r und Geheimdiensten der USA durch Privatunternehmen Dann f r die Privatisierung des Krieges im Irak.Wobei ganz im Sinne der Gewinnmaximierung nicht alle S ldner aus den USA und Europa stammten, da diese horrende Preise verlangten Im Geiste des Lohndumpings organisierte man ehemalige Paramilit rs, Folterer und potentielle Kriegsverbrecher aus verschiedenen L ndern.Speziell die ehemaligen lateinamerikanischen Todesschwadronen und arbeitslose, s dafrikanische Apartheidssoldaten erfreuten sich aufgrund ihrer Effizienz und Erfahrung gro er Beliebtheit und wurden im Irak in gro er Zahl eingesetzt Sogar deren amerikanische Lehrmeister reaktivierte man f r die Ausbildung im Irak, damit die K mpfer auch im Bereich von asymetrischer Kriegsf hrung, Entf hrung, peinlichen Verh rtechniken und Nadelstichoperationen auf dem neuesten Stand waren Da aufgrund der amerikanischen Taktik der Schocktherapie die zivile Ordnung im Irak mehr und mehr zusammenbrach, nahm die Zahl der mit Schutzaufgaben betrauten Sicherheitsfirmen und deren Mitarbeiter immer mehr zu, bis sie sich auf einem Verh ltnis 1 1 zu den Streitkr ften eingependelt hatte.Da vieles aus schwarzen und zur Wahrung der Sicherheit der Vereinigten Staaten geheimen Kassen gezahlt wurde, lassen sich weder der genau finanzielle Rahmen noch die Anzahl eingesetzter S ldner beziffern Die Aufstockung der Kr fte folgte h ufig dem Schema, nach t dlichen Angriffen auf Blackwatermitarbeiter im Irak nach noch mehr hartem Durchgreifen und einer Erh hung der Kontingente zu schreien Als der Hurrikan Kathrina New Orleans verheert hatte, kam es zur doppelten Initialz ndung Sowohl der Einsatz einer privaten, mit Vollmachten ausgestatteten Schattenmiliz zum Schutz von Infrastruktur als auch die Privatisierung der Katastrophenhilfe nahmen ihren Anfang Dabei gab es berechtigte Bedenken gegen den Einsatz paramilit rischer Verb nde im Inland, die weder Justiz noch Polizei Rechenschaft schuldig waren und im Auftrag und Interesse von Privatpersonen agierten Seit 2006 sind private Sicherheitsfirmen auch offiziell Teil der amerikanischen Streitkr fte, was einem weiteren Wachstum von Sicherheitskonzernen dienlich sein d rfte Diese Firmen definieren den Schutz von privater Infrastruktur und Firmeneigentum unverhohlen als Teil, wenn nicht Kern, ihres Aufgabengebiets Mit dem Argument, die Wirtschaft w re als Anschlagsziel aufgrund ihrer Wichtigkeit f r die USA f r Terroristen beraus attraktiv Worunter ziviler Ungehorsam, Sit Ins, friedlicher Protest, Demonstrationen und Blockaden demnach fallen, liegt auf der Hand Terroristische, subversive Aktivit ten, denen mit aller H rte staatlicher und ziviler Einsatzkr fte begegnet werden soll Krieg gegen das eigene Volk.Ein weiterer Einsatzort f r Blackwater ist die Region Kaspisches Meer Sowohl die Einkesselung Russlands mit Vasallenstaaten der USA die Errichtung einer Pipeline durch von dem Einfluss Russlands entzogenem Terrain zu dessen Schw chung als auch die Schaffung von Basen f r einen potentiellen Krieg gegen den Iran bilden die Motive f r den Einsatz Dabei sollen Mitarbeiter von Blackwater einheimische Milizen ausbilden und ein von den USA lenkbares Heer schaffen, da eine direkte Milit rpr senz eine zu offensichtliche Provokation f r Russland und den Iran darstellen w rde.Wo, in wessen Auftrag und mit welchen Aufgaben betraut all die privaten Sicherheitsfirmen, deren Aush ngeschild Blackwater ist, weltweit agieren, entzieht sich augrund einer rigiden Geheimhaltungspolitik der Kenntnis s mtlicher Kontrollinstanzen.Dass die Konzentration von Reichtum in den H nden immer weniger Menschen zu bedenklichen Entwicklungen f hrt, ist eine alte historische Tatsache, von deren Beschreibung die Geschichtsb cher geradezu bersten Ein immer mehr von der Allgemeinheit und demokratischen Prinzipien entfremdeter Moloch baut sich zur Sicherung seiner Interessen ein un berschaubares und unkontrollierbares S ldnerheer auf ber dessen genaue Aufgaben und T tigkeiten wissen nur die Auftraggeber Bescheid.Es steht zu hoffen, dass der Machtwechsel hin zu einer nachhaltigeren Wirtschaftsordnung untypischerweise langsam und friedlich verl uft anstatt in einem, immer weiter hinausgez gerten und dadurch verschlimmerten, Kollaps zu kulminieren Sollte der schlimmste Fall eintreten, werden die herrschenden Instanzen durch ihre gedungenen M rder gesch tzt die Krise aussitzen, w hrend der berwiegende Teil der Bev lkerung in Chaos, B rgerkrieg und Elend versinkt Denn in welchen Punkten unterscheidet sich die heutige Welt schon gro von ehemaligen Imperien I picked up this book hoping it would provide some good basic information about Blackwater, with the understanding from the dust jacket that it likely would reach certain ultimate conclusions I might not agree with In reality, the book provides only superficial information, merely regurgitating the reporting of several already public incidents, then quoting supporters and detractors of Blackwater and similar private military companies Mr Scahill almost invariably characterizes statements from supporters as misleading spin or the conspiratorial lies of right wing, neoconservative, Christian fundamentalist Republicans By contrast, Mr Scahill quotes the statements of opponents as though they were transparent utterances of unalloyed truth The real truth, of course, is muchcomplex, and so Mr Scahill s book does not provide any analysis of real value There are serious concerns that should be addressed related to the use of private military forces, but this book cannot contribute meaningfully to any discussion because of its political presumptions, strident tone and lack of content Instead of a history of Blackwater, it isakin to hist eria. One can draw a straight line from Tim Weiner s extensive report on the CIA, Legacy of Ashes, and this book by Jeremy Scahill on the outsourcing of American military, security, and investigative duties Scahill centers his work around the event that transfixed the world and brought awareness of Blackwater to the fore for those of us not immediately engaged in military operations The event was the 2004 murder of Blackwater employees in the city of Fallujah wherein the victims were killed, dismembered, and hung from an overpass to remind Americans that in Fallujah at least, Americans were not welcome.What Scahill shares with us here is his report of a Christian army of for profit soldiers headquartered in North Carolina who have grown in size and weaponry to rival national militaries around the world Begun in 1997 as a private advanced training facility for active duty soldiers and police, Blackwater grew during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to supplying weapons trained military security personnel, receiving lucrative contracts from a U.S government unwilling to face the political backlash from a public unhappy with military losses overseas Blackwater marketed its services by saying it could accomplishwith less, though it is difficult to see how their proffered services cost us less As profits grew for the corporate organization, Blackwater sought cheaper and cheaper contracts with mercenary soldiers in South American and Latin American countries, as well as Eastern European, African, and select Asian countries Sometimes when they cut corners on equipment, training, or staffing they found themselves embroiled in lawsuits in the U.S as a result of tragic and allegedly preventable deaths.What was particularly shocking to me was the overt tone of the speeches and promotional material produced by the leadership of the organization, in that it completely resembled ISIS rhetoric about holy wars, and fighting for the will of God Far right wing religious groups with which Blackwater founder Erik Prince is affiliated were writing in the 1990 s that the Christian community might need to face the possibility that the regime our government might force their Church into confrontation ranging from noncompliance to morally justified revolution It is in this context that the largest privately held store of military grade weapons was begun Their god is a Christian one, but they stand allied with Israel, and trace their religious roots back to the Crusades, which was medieval in its very concept and reflected the fanatic religious warriors now terrorizing the Middle East.Scahill is scrupulous in his reporting on the effect of Blackwater forces in the Iraq and Afghan wars, and when it seems he might be getting off the point by describing, for instance, the Chilean mercenary contingent that became a part of Blackwater, he is so vastly interesting that I m glad he left the material in Scahill also details the use of Blackwater forces in the catastrophe that was Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, providing property and force protection for FEMA officials It seems appropriate somehow that Bush wasconcerned with property than with residents.More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that these contractors do not operate under the same restrictions and set of rules that govern national troops, and their contracts often leave them free of liability or of obligations in terms of insurance that we commonly find acceptable Critics decry the rise of heavily armed mercenaries as killers for hire, suggesting that their contractual freedom from culpability and their for profit motive may lead them to start conflict rather than prevent it The growth of Blackwater was exponential during the years of a Republican government and was not curbed enough under a Democratic president In 2008 the number of private contractors in Iraq was at a one to one ratio with active duty U.S soldiers, according to Scahill This book was published in 2007 and updated in 2008, but a June 2010 article in Nation magazine written by Scahill brings us up to date Blackwater is up for sale and its shadowy owner, Erik Prince, is rud to be planning to move to the United Arab Emirates as his top deputies face indictment for a range of alleged crimes, yet the company remains a central part of President Obama s Afghanistan war Now, Blackwater s role is expanding Earlier this year, Schakowsky and Senator Bernie Sanders reintroduced the Stop Outsourcing Security Act, which would phase out the use of private security contractors by the government Ironically, Hillary Clinton was a co sponsor of the legislation when she was a senator and running for president Now, as Secretary of State, she is the US official in charge of most Blackwater contracts Blackwater is also bidding on a contract potentially worth up to 1 billion to train the Afghan National Police It is difficult for me to accept the concept of a religiously motivated army and I am not comfortable with a extra legal military force that operates for profit Scahill won the George Polk Award for his reporting on Blackwater The book is beautifully written and, though a large book, it is an engrossing read I listened to the Blackstone Audio production audio read by Tom not Tim Weiner and thought it terrific. There is little need for me to do a review of this one as the review that encouraged me to read it in the first place pretty well sums up my feelings about it too Another excellent review by my mate Eric.Now, one of the recent books I have read called Mistakes Were Made, but not by me points out that the most dangerous people in the world are people who have high self esteem and they are at their most dangerous when they are forced to do bad things to powerless people You might think that there may well be a parallel here given that it is possible that the US is the nation with the highest apparent self esteem in the world and in Iraq they are dealing with people of very limited power to retaliate I thought about this a lot during this book I also thought that the people who set up Blackwater are fundamentalist Christians and I thought it might be a good thing to say something along the lines that when people who have very strict moral standards are confronted with people who have different moral standards the first group of people often tend to do incredibly nasty things to the second group of people if they can get away with it.But what I find most fascinating is that these faith based organisations and, believe it or not, Blackwater is faith based almost invariably do things even to their friends that simply cannot be considered moral in any sense These people are low life, pure and simple.I used to think that people would need to be able to believe something before they could espouse it Let s stay with Christianity for a moment and its links to free market economics You know, Jesus Christ didn t really say very much about economics, but one of the things he did say was that the rich will have a rather hard time getting into the kingdom of heaven something like a camel struggling through the eye of a needle And he said that if you want to be good you should follow his example and give everything you own to the poor.The only quote by him that seems to justify the right wing excesses that his religion seems inspire is perhaps The poor are with you always as an excuse for him getting pampered for a while with essential oils and such Even great men are allowed a moment of weakness, I guess But honestly, the whole kill or be killed, an eye for a tooth, make money at any cost, stomp on your brother before he stomps on you is so opposite to the clear message of Christ that it is hard to know how these guys like Prince and Black can live with the dissonance The other interesting thing is how often these guys say things like, private armies areeffective and cheaper than regular armies Naturally, no proof is required and the US government hides the figures so no one can check a clear indication that there is something worth hiding They also quote the US founding fathers whenever possible, but never that crap Washington came off with about never telling a lie what was that guy on, anyway This is another deeply disturbing book in the mode of Blowback, Failed States and The Shock Doctrine Although not as disturbing as The Shock Doctrine even when they cover the same territory this is still a confronting read. This gives a history and account of various misdeeds by Blackwater and their born ultra rich right wing Christian kook founder Erik Prince It goes in depth with the infamous Fallujah incident where civilian contractors actually they were former Special Forces guys working for Blackwater were ambushed, yanked out of the car, burnt alive and their corpses were hung from a Fallujah bridge It looked like an inside job set up to me when I first saw the incident in the news a few years back and now I am evenconvinced Between it being a last minute assignment, at least one of the guys was in the doghouse with higher ups, the Iraqis not only had a camera there to record the whole event but they had an anti American sign written up in ENGLISH all ready to show Plus Bush was on the campaign trail so this would fire up all the dumb rednecks in the States and they needed this as propaganda to justify going full bore into Fallujah Sorry but the Blackwater Fallujah incident was a blatant Psy Op Another shocking thing was how politically clueless some of these Blackwater mercenaries seemed to be There was one where he thought Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9 11 and another was quoted as saying if he was going to die it would be out with a bang , defending his country Somebody please explain to me what the hell shooting at a bunch of Arab hillbillies on the other side of the world has to do with defending America Put Blackwater on the Mexican border might be of use for defending America but that will never happen because they are really a globalist goon squad that pimp patriotism to morons when its convenient Probably the scariest thing is Blackwater is angling to be some sort of global mercenary peacekeeping force for the United Nations If there is a problem area, instead of sending in Nato, or UN forces to the Sudan or where ever they send in Blackwater But really corporate goon squads for the elite are nothing new ever heard of the Pinkertons but Blackwater may end up like America as a whole, a snake eating its own tail out of their lust for short term greed They already are using a significant number of soldiers from third world nations because they are cheaper to hire This book does have a big left wing bias but I actually think only a leftist would write a realistic book on Blackwater I can only imagine the garbage a book about Blackwater would be if it had been written by a Neo Con Republican. Okay, first some literary criticism And I hate to do this, because I saw Jeremy Scahill speak a few months ago and I genuinely liked him He s brilliant, he obviously knows what s going on in the world, he s a first class investigative journalist, a crusader for the truth, and I sincerely applaud him for what he does But, though the story of Blackwater is gripping, chilling, andthan just a little sinisteron that later , I have to honestly say that carrying around this book and reading it over the course of about a month wasof a burden than a joy Yes, of course there s nothing about it that should make one feel joy, and maybe it hadto do with my state of mind at the time, but something about the actual style and mode of writing turned me off Fact thrown upon fact thrown upon fact, reinforced by supporting facts, and somewhat long and convoluted digressions of evenfacts thrown in just to make sure the reader is paying attention Yes, we get it, you did your research But the story itself and the dramatic pacing specifically suffer because of this never ending barrage of facts Yes, again, I understand this is nonfiction not the latest Michael Crichton political thriller and maybe others feel differently, but reading this book was like trudging through mud, or wading in quicksand, or stumbling up all 108 flights of stairs in the Sears Tower dragging a ball and chain you know it s going to be cool when you get to the top and finally grasp the enormity of the panoramic landscape spread out before you, but it was one tough climb getting there.Maybe I m being too critical I sure hope Mr Scahill doesn t read this Don t get me wrong, I am disturbed by the fact that our government is semi secretly building a corporate army the new Praetorian Guard as the author calls it to loyally serve the far right, that this army seems so far to be impervious to any attempt to hold it accountable for its actions in the way that the actual military is to some degree anyway , etc Even writing a review of this book has drained me to the point where I just throw an et cetera at the end of my sentence because I don t feel like going on any I ll end on this note of all the frightening, alarming, horrific things this book touches upon, if one thing really stands out in my mind it is this what incentive does a private, profit driven mercenary army have to create and maintain peace and democracy, and to eradicate suffering and anarchy Oh yeah, the same incentive that our current government has none, to be exact And that is scary So, thank you Mr Scahill for your hard work and dedication in exposing this story and bringing it to a mass audience I promise I will never again say a bad word about you. Yes, I read the whole book Painfully so.No, I don t think it was worth my time or money.Like many other reviewers, I bought this book hoping to get a historical perspective on the Blackwater company Instead, I got a heavily biased opinion piece on the US Government s use of military contractors Scahill cites many quotes and facts in his book, but most of these are from heavily biased liberal writers or publications, and most of these cited works are opinion pieces, not factual evidence Worse yet, Scahill himself admits he didn t research or write most of this book, rather one of his graduate assistants did read the foreward.The author strays off topic repeatedly, droning on about the influence of the religious right within the US Government, or about other contractors besides Blackwater The total factual information about Blackwater contained in this book could have easily been condensed down to 100 pages or less And should have been.The author s anti Christian and left leaning Liberal bias is so strong as to taint any facts presented in this text, regardless of whether you are liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat That s a shame, since there is some interesting information presented in the book Unfortunately you have wade through a 400 page opinion piece on religion and outsourcing to get to it.If you want to find outabout Blackwater, read something else If you want to reinforce your own Liberal bias against the US Governmentwell then you don t need to read this book anyway.