Friday, September 21, 2007

Private armies

I am totally opposed to a draft which, I believe, is a form of slavery, not much different from the old British practice of commandeering citizens off the streets and out of bars and forcing them to serve in the British navy. There is a term for this but, alas, I cannot remember it at the moment. Anyway, I don't think a government ought to be able to force people to fight in wars they don't believe in, or kill people when it is against their basic principles to do so.

On the other hand, I am very suspicious and fearful of an all volunteer army, and even more fearful and suspicious of private armies such as Blackwater. The danger here, somewhat worse in the latter case than the former, is that you might well end up with an army or militia whose loyalty is only to those who pay them, rather than to their country. There are currently, I have read, more private civilians in Iraw than there are troops. I don't know precisely what all of them are doing, but some of them (Blackwater) are heavily armed and killing people apparently at will, while at the same time answering to no one, neither the military nor the Iraqi government. I find this frightening beyond belief. I want to know how this came about. Who hired all these mercenaries? Where does the money come from? Who approved the organization of a private army? Was it approved by anyone other than Dick Cheney and George Bush? And why was it employed during the Katrina disaster? Does it really have authority to act within the United States? And if so, why? Who said so? How, in fact, did all this come about? Personally, I do not believe this should have been allowed. And I believe it ought to be quickly disbanded. If Bush/Cheney can't find enough troops to fight their illegal "war" they shouldn't be allowed to continue it. Let them try to start a draft and we'll see how popular this disgusting business of theirs really is.

After the recent shameful performance by the Democrats in Congress over the MoveOn ad I have now given up all hope for them. Apparently, like Republicans, they don't really believe in free speech. And they also apparently believe that Republicans ought to be allowed to get away with any gutter tactics they wish but Democrats should not be allowed even to express an opinion. As I mentioned last night, don't forget what they did to John Kerry, McCain, and above all, Max Cleland. All of these cases were far worse than MoveOn's ad, far worse. Furthermore, Bush had no business using Petraeus in a political context and Petraeus had no business meddling in politics. Bush pays no attention to the rules or precedents or laws even when he might actually be aware of them (which is probably not often). Bush and Cheney get up in front of their audiences and tell the most outrageous falsehoods and no one ever calls them on it. It's as if everyone is terrified of them (and perhaps they are). It appears to me that Republicans (and unfortunately some Democrats) actually want them to tell lies (apparently it makes them feel better and assuages their guilt).

I think we should vote all members of the Senate and the House out of office, ALL OF THEM, NO EXCEPTIONS). We could pick people at random off the streets and do better than this hopeless bunch of idle nose-picking nincompoops. Even the ones in the positions of power seem unable to get anything done. In truth, they don't even seem to want to get anything done. I say they should all go. Let us start over completely from scratch. Better yet, perhaps, let's pick at random from our better High School students, pose the problems for them to solve, and let them go at it. They could not possibly do a worse job than our current crop of self-centered politicians who only worry about where their next donation is coming from. And please, let us rid ourselves of the absurd claim that Corporations are people. And let's bring our troops home before any more blood is spilled for oil and greed. And finally, let's hold accountable those responsible for this terrible and unnecessary disaster.

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."
Thomas Jefferson


David said...

The term is "press-ganging".

There is an argument that a draft at least gives you an army composed of a mix of ordinary citizens rather than one composed of those dumb or psychopathic enough to want to enlist.

However, I have two sons and I would personally shackle them to the stove in the cellar, dress them in gingham frocks or inflict on them a slight flesh wound rather than see them in the army, particularly in the kind of "war" we seem to embrace these days.

drblues said...

Actually, I think the term used by the Royal British Navy was "impressment."

It astounds me that the mainstream media has ignored the Blackwater situation from the very beginning. Jeremy Scahill has written the definitive book called "Blackwater: The rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army." It is just about as depressing a read as any book that has emerged from the Bush years. I have seen Scahill interviewed by Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" and heard him on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross. If he has been interviewed by the MSM, I have missed it.
Keep up the good work, Morialekafa.

David said...

I'm told that "press-ganging" was the "colloquial" term for "impressment", presumably in the same way that "kidnap and torture" translates as "rendition" these days.

La plus ca change, as they say...