Senate Hearings for Show

updated post (updates marked)

If you believed Congress actually cared whether or not N. America lived up to the ideals set for this nation and for democracy around the world then you clearly missed it when Blackwater’s contract was renewed by the democrat controlled Congress. update: By the way, investigators and Nancy Pelosi were “protected” by Blackwater while visiting Iraq and doing their investigation according to Scahill. (scroll to bottom for interview with Jeremy Scahill, writer of the Blackwater book I mentioned reading earlier this summer.)

  • # of soldiers in Iraq: 156,000
  • # of contracted mercenaries from private companies: 182,000

(end of update/updated videos at bottom; stats from Scahill’s report to Congress)

  • American casualties in Iraq: 4,000 – 4,023
  • American injuries in Iraq: 29,628
  • Coalition casualties: 309
  • Iraqi deaths: 89,000 – 1,197,469

(stats from BBC and AntiWar as of April 7, 2008)

While Blackwater remains employed and continues to make it possible for the war to continue, N. Americans are steadily losing their jobs and the Iraqi and Afghani infrastructures are almost completely destroyed.

  • # of jobs by spending $1billion on defense: 8,555
  • # of jobs created by spending $1billion on health care: 10,779
  • # of jobs created by spending $1billion on education: 17,687
  • # of jobs created by spending $1billion on mass transit: 19,795

(stats from Yes Magazine Spring 2008/ Econ Dept. UMass Amherst)

  • current national unemployment rate: 4.8% (Feb 2008)
  • net loss for 2008 as of February: 195,000 jobs

(stats from Federal Bureau of Labor)

  • Foreclosure rate: 2.04% (highest in 50 years)
  • Owner equity: down 50% (lowest since 1945)
  • percentage of home owners behind in their payments: 5.82% (highest since 1985)

(stats from Washington Post)

more info on Blackwater? read my previous post: here (history/links) and here (Blackwater patrolling US soil).

It is also going over really well with Iraqis ensuring all kinds of cooperation is in store . . .

Instead of asking about pastors and sniper fire, maybe we should be asking candidates about using private firms to fight wars, police U.S. borders, and provide mediated relief in disasters on our soil. Naaahhh.

Scahill Interviews

5 thoughts on “Senate Hearings for Show

  1. Yep!But people will tell you “well you have to choose an evil (i.e. democrat or republican),” but that keeps or at least restricts people from envisioning a better world where you have unlimited choices and have people govern from a social justice human rights agenda. I say you don’t have to choose . . . . but i know people usually tear into me on this point.

  2. That is disturbing, but there would be no way they could wage this war without Blackwater and the the other private military contractors. Is it ironic that there will be a show of debate this week on how the Iraq War is going on, while the politicians just rubber stamp more corporate welfare to wage war?Politics is just the entertainment division of the corporate state. Don’t look at how much money is being stolen from people to give to corporations — just hold useless debates between different bureaucrats on the “progress” of a quagmire.Just like how they’re stealing money through the Federal Reserve to bail out the banks from the foreclosure crisis, while putting together voluntary plans and tax breaks for lenders and builders at the expense of the people. And then having the audacity to call it a Foreclosure Prevention Act.All hail the “Blackwater, Banks, and Builders Bailout Act of 2008,” I guess. It’ll help some rich people defray the worst costs of the economic downturn and drain of war.

  3. Fal – you are right, there are choices and I think several people are watching the current debacle and thinking that if something does not change they will walk from the party . . . foreclosurefish- thanks for bringing up the bank bail out. I’ve been watching that, along with the credit card and school loan discussions, and noting how the only people who seem to be helped are the predatory lenders themselves. No one is talking debt cancellation for illegal (lacked informed consent or reasonable choice) or predatory (unjustifiable hikes or rates) for people already in debt. When you bring those things up, Oprah does another special on how college kids spent too much money with their GAP credit cards . . . And you are also right to say we could not wage war without Blackwater or other private companies; that was also part of my hidden point. If the war lacks so much support that we cannot even populate its ranks, then we shouldn’t be in one. Between the soldiers who are forced to do multiple tours and the institutionalization of private militias in this country, we are soon going to find ourselves in a whole new quagmire . . . see my post about where Blackwater’s bases are located (ie near freeway hubs and borders) and/or any study on the increase of domestic and sexual violence, mental illness, etc. after Vietnam to know what is coming/is here to keep this war alive. Then add the devisitating cost of women and girls bodily integrity, loss of lives, loss of ancient artifacts, infrastructure in a key zone in the M.E. etc and tell me again why we have not declared peace and begged for absolution yet? Even Patraeus announced today that it was time to stop flooding Iraq with troops.

  4. thanks for the link Adriana. I find it disturbing on two levels: 1. Obama’s stance on Blackwater; some body get the man a copy of Cahill’s book or how about the Senate hearings info . . . and 2. Clinton’s duplicity both as stated in the article with timing/interviewing and the fact that she has consistently said that we need to keep a cadre of troops and security in Iraq and possibly Iran. Who are these security people if not contracted mercs like Blackwater?As time marches on in this election I feel less and less hope about the outcome . . .

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