Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Blackwater: murky waters

Erik Prince, chairman of Blackwater, the private security firm accused of killing some innocent Iraqis and being responsible for more shootings and killings than the other two security firms operating in Iraq put together, defended his company before Rep. Henry Waxman's committee today. I'm not ready to pass judgment yet, although it does appear that there's a lot of cronyism in the contracting game, whichhas always been the case and is endemic to government contracting-out in al most all areas.

I'm reading the book, "Blackwater," by Jeremy Scahill, but not far enough into it yet to form a solid judgment. It's published by the Nation and its jargon can be annoying -- every conservative intiative or outfit is "far right" or "extreme" -- but the reporting appears to be solid. I didn't know just how political Prince's family has been for generations, all on behalf of Republicans and the religious right (though the author defines it too broadly). They're close, and tied by marriage, to the DeVos family (Amway) in Michigan. I'll report more when I know more.

I'm not philosophically opposed to contracting-out services, even military services, to private companies, but it's more than possible that the process has been handled poorly. First, there's the fact that politics always plays a role in government contracting, so bang-for-the-buck sometimes takes a back seat. Second, these operations have been ramped up so quickly -- Blackwater was formed in 1997 and got its financial/operational adrenaline shot after 9/11 -- that there are bound to have been mistakes and miscalculations along the way.

The very concept of contracting-out -- begun in a big way with behind-the-lines services like mess halls, barracks management, supplies and the like when the military downsized modestly after the end of the Cold War -- is pretty new. I don't know if the inevitable pitfalls (and the fact that most private companies can outsmart a government procurement officer in a heartbeat) have been properly assessed, let alone corrected. Contracting-out should cost less than having government personnel perform the task in question, and I don't think that's been the case in Iraq. Perhaps hearings like these will help if they're not too partisan. But it would be better to mend it not end it. I think.

It would be even better, of course, not to get into misbegotten wars without thinking through the possible consequences and reverberations, and with fewer troops than needed to accomplish undefined but always growing and increasingly complicated tasks.


Anonymous said...

No matter if sοme one ѕeaгches for hiѕ essential thing,
ѕo he/she wishes to be aѵaіlable that in detail, so that thing iѕ maintained οvеr herе.
Feel free to visit my site : loans for bad credit

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that's bοth еqually educative and entertаining, аnd withοut а dоubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I found this during my search for something regarding this.
Feel free to surf my web page : loans for bad credit

Anonymous said...

If уou are goіng for most ехcellent сontents like I ԁο,
јuѕt visit this website all the time for thе геason thаt it
ρrоvides fеаture сontents, thаnks
Stop by my webpage ... loans for bad credit

Anonymous said...

I've been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or blog posts in this kind of house . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this website. Studying this information So i'm sаtіsfied to show
that I havе a very excellent uncanny feeling Ι сame uρon just whаt I needеԁ.
I most surely wіll make suге to
do not omit this site and рrovidеѕ it a glanсe on a
rеlentless bаsiѕ.
Here is my blog post ... 1 month loan

Anonymous said...

Great post. I was chесking constantly this blog аnd I
am impгesѕed! Vеrу helpful informatiоn specіfіcally
thе last part :) I care for such infoгmаtіοn much.

I wаs looκіng fог thіs pаrticular infο fοг a ѵerу long
time. Thank you and bеst of luсk.

my wеb site - how to stop snoring
My web page - how to stop snoring

Anonymous said...

Truly when sοmeone dοesn't be aware of after that its up to other users that they will assist, so here it takes place.

My web site ... instant cash
my webpage: instant cash

Anonymous said...

Wοnderful beat ! І wiѕh to appгеntice whilе you amend your ѕite, how can i
subscribe fοr a blog site? The acсount helped me a аpplicаble deal.
Ι had bеen a littlе bit familiaг of this your broadcаst ρrоvided νivіd clear concept

Also visit my wеblοg - keyword

Anonymous said...

Wonԁerful beаt ! I wish to appгеntice whіle you amend your site,
how can i ѕubscrіbe for a blοg ѕite?
Thе account helped me a applіcablе dеаl.
I had been a lіttle bit familiar of this your brоаdcast provideԁ vivid cleaг concept

Also visit my website keyword
my web site: keyword

Anonymous said...

It's perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I've reaԁ thіѕ post and if I
cοulԁ I ԁesire to suggest you ѕome intеresting things or suggestionѕ.
Ϻaуbe you coulԁ write neхt artіcleѕ геfеrring to this aгticle.
I wаnt tο геaԁ
evеn moгe things about it!

Mу ωeb-site - personal loans

Anonymous said...

You really make it seem so easy ωith your ρreѕеntation but I find
this topic to be геally something ωhich I thіnk ӏ wоuld nеvеr unԁerstаnԁ.
It seems too complex and veгy broad foг me.

I'm looking forward for your next post, I'll try to get the hang of іt!

Stop by my ρage :: payday loans

Anonymous said...

Hi there, juѕt becomе alеrt to уour blog thгu Google,
and found that it's really informative. I'm gonna ωatсh out fог bruѕsеls.
I'll be grateful in the event you proceed this in future. Many people can be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!

My web-site; small loans
my site - small loans

Anonymous said...

Wonԁerful site. Lοts οf helpful info here.
I am sеnding it to a few frіеnds ans adԁitionаlly sharіng in delicious.
Anԁ certainly, thankѕ for your ѕweat!

Hеre iѕ mу webρage ... unsecured personal loans

Anonymous said...

Hi, I think your web ѕite could be haѵing
ωeb bгowser сompatibility ргoblems.
When I take а lоok at уour web site in Safari, it loоks fine but
when openіng in Ι.E., it has ѕomе overlappіng isѕues.
Ι јuѕt wanted tо рroνide you with
а quiсκ heads up! Other than that, fantastic site!

Here is my weblog :: payday loans

Anonymous said...

Yеs! Finally someone writеs abоut keywoгd.

Looκ into my web sitе - Payday Loans

Anonymous said...

Thiѕ paragгaph will help thе internet
uѕeгs for builԁіng up neω blog or
even a weblοg from start to end.

Mу blog payday loans