Meet Blackwater USA, the most secretive, most powerful, and fastest-growing private army on the planet. Founded by fundamentalist Christian mega-millionaire Erik Prince, the scion of a conservative dynasty that bankrolls extreme-right-wing causes, this company of soldiers is now being sent "to the front lines of a global battle, waged largely on Muslim lands, that an evangelical president, whom Prince helped put in the White House, has boldly defined as a 'crusade'."
Ranging from the blood-soaked streets of Fallujah to Washington, D.C., where they are hailed as heroes, this is the dark story of Blackwater's rise to power.
©2007 Jeremy Scahill; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"A crackling expose." (New York Times Book Review)
"Jeremy Scahill's Blackwater would be a masterpiece of the genre of futuristic sci fi were it not so regrettably real....It's got all the twists and turns and secret corners of a Hollywood thriller....[A] horrifying but necessary read." (Daily Kos)
As most folks know, Blackwater has been much in the press during the fall of 2007. Journalists tended to say little is known about Blackwater. Maybe they hadn't been doing much reading.
In early 1987 Scahill wrote this investigative book laying out the backstory about the rise of this band of mercenaries and its entanglement with the establishment neocons and what is often called the "radical religious right."
One's reaction to this book will likely be determined by the reader's political point of view. The further to the political left the reader is, the greater the anger the book will spark. The further to the right, the more scepticism the tale will surely fire. But I suspect, for most readers, the tale will be viewed as horriffic-if-true.
This story may not bode well for the direction our government/culture/country is headed.
I can't stop without mentioning the narrator who reads the text with the deep scarey theatricality so stereotypic of movie trailers. That's a pity as it unnecessarily creates a sense of danger, something the text itself is plenty able to do.
although we hear less and less about the privatization of the American military, this books provides a great reminder of what is going on behind the scenes.
I have to say, i dont think most of the reviewers read the book. Perhaps they saw an interview on tv and from that they decided they didnt like the subject of the book, because the book is not "a factless rant","anti-christian", "anti-troop", or "anti-american".
The book references christian mercenaries and their financers. Now perhaps calling them mercenaries sounds harsh, but that is the truth. If you are fighting for the money, then that is what you are. I suggest if you really care about your country then you should inlist instead. That they are christian mercenaries may give some comfort. But not me. And especially not in a war that already has too much religion in it. And to that point the book is certainly not "anti-troop". It is anti-mercenary. Finally it is not 'fact-less'. It is so fact filled i was shocked. It was page after page of interviews and statistics. Only after pages and pages of facts would it draw a conclusion. Which you probably already drew yourself just by listening to the facts. I would say that I think that it may not be as non-partisan as I would have liked. Sometimes I would hear a clearly partisan group or politican referenced as if they were an objective witness and other times I would hear just as partisan conservatives referenced as "far right" or "ultra conservatives". But on the whole I think this is a real wakeup call and I hope that people are reading this.
I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.
This was a scary, intense, thought-provoking book to read, and I'm so glad I did. Here you will find the story not just of how a powerful and rich ultra right wing and fundamentalist family created the largest private army in the world, but more importantly, the story of how America has slowly outsourced more and more of the war effort. We see the beginnings of Blackwater, as a training ground for armed forces and police. But then they grow to private security, peacekeeping operations, and worldwide mercinaries. The questions this book raises are serious, profound, and largely neglected by American culture: if private armies fight our wars, then who holds them accountable to the same code of conduct as the actual army? If we privatize our wars, and don't count these contractors among the dead, do Americans get a real sense of our war's devistation? If we use a 1:1 armed service-member to contractor ratio, doesn't that make it easier to fight in wars, and doesn't that mean we will deploy troops with less oversight? And what does that mean to our democracy? And if contractors are sent out with less legal oversight and on shorter contracts, whose to say they won't leave an area less politically secure than when they went in?
This is an important book. It makes two real points as it charts the company from its founding in 1997 to 2006. First, contractors are not held to the same moral and legal code as the real army, and are thus more likely to commit abuses. Second, the use of contractors makes it much too easy for a country to engage in wars without real consequence of oversight of the population. You should read it.
I purchased this book a while back since Jeremy Scahill always provides honest and refreshing insight into foreign policy issues, but I never got around to reading it. I just finished reading it as a follow-up to Rachel Maddow's Drift and they complement each other so nicely!!
This is quite revealing. I had to take a break from it several times-the information contained was overwhelming to listen too.
There were many things in government that provoke the imagination-but this puts it out there. It is revealing as it exposes the workings of the war machine of the Bush administration.
This story of Blackwater is an important and scary read. As a reader of many, many other books on the Iraq conflict this is just another confirmation of failings in a very sad story.
An issue I have with this book is the narrator. I have been an Audible listener for years and this is the first time I've found a narrator almost too irritating to listen to. The over the top attempt to be sonorous and profound would be laughable if it weren't in the telling a very important story.
Readers of Brad Thor and Tom Clancy would love the world of this Apocalypse Now. Check out Erik Prince's side of the story as well in Citizen Soldiers. It's all fascinating.
A MUST READ for anyone who votes...well researched, well written, well done!
The "patriot" responsible for this mercenary army has since moved to the Middle East to avoid investigation and taxation...money talks, BS walks!
Report Inappropriate Content