The Washington Post's Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Dana Priest drove another stake into the heart of the US military industrial complex in today's Post:
In June, a stone carver from Manassas chiseled another perfect star into a marble wall at CIA headquarters, one of 22 for agency workers killed in the global war initiated by the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The intent of the memorial is to publicly honor the courage of those who died in the line of duty, but it also conceals a deeper story about government in the post-9/11 era: Eight of the 22 were not CIA officers at all. They were private contractors.
For-profit mercenaries are now being enshrined as selfless patriotic public servants. God help us.
I wonder if the four Blackwater idiots who got themselves killed in Fallujah and caused the death and injury of hundreds of Marines are chiseled into the wall?
Just as an aside, go read about the First Battle of Fallujah, which was called off for political reasons when it was nearly won at great cost to the Marines, which led to the Second Battle of Fallujah after the bad guys had time to regroup, and which was won at great cost to the Marines. I read No True Glory and it made my blood boil at the political incompetence and disregard for our troops by Bush and everybody else involved in that clusterfuck. Still does.
Wrapped around portrayals of men at combat, West has written an insightful account of how high strategy, low politics and obstructive bureaucracy dictated the bloody fight for Fallujah.
The singular lesson of the Fallujah campaign is almost intuitive: when troops are committed to battle, let them finish the fight. This axiom was violated by virtually everyone in the confused civilian and military chains of command stretching from Washington to Baghdad to the Fallujah theater. [...]
I would gladly trade the lives of every mercenary we've ever hired for the lives of the fine young and not-so-young military men and women who've been unnecessarily killed in the service of corporate and neocon America.
Mercenaries as CIA officers? The CIA and the mercs can kiss my ass.