Thursday, December 18, 2008

Blackwater's Slimy Influence

You gotta love the timing of it all. On the very day that Bill Clinton's foundation finally releases its list of donors (only because it was forced to as a condition of Hillary being named Secretary of State), among which is the shadowy private security contractor Blackwater USA, the State Dept.'s Inspector General issues a report noting that Blackwater may lose its license to operate in Iraq due to its small problem of slaughtering apparently innocent civilians. Blackwater, which has been called everything from George Bush's Rent-An-Army to "the elite Praetorian Guard for the global war on terror," has been a key cog in the Bush Administration's strategy for privatizing our military. The North Carolina-based company has won a cool $1 billion in defense contracts from the U.S. during the Iraq war. The company was the subject of this scathing book (which I haven't read). But credit the L.A. Times' T. Christian Miller for some of the best early work on this story. Too bad that paper is being systematically ravaged by its owner. The Clinton Foundation's website, by the way, has apparently crashed today from the crush of visitors eager to finally see that list of contributors. Do make a point of stopping back later to check it out. Just know that, true as always to his slippery nature (you'll recall his infamous comment "it depends on what the meaning of the word is is"), Slick Willie has only provided broad ranges of dollar figures for his donors. Some things never change.


At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow I don't think Bill Clinton's retirement will begin to approach Jimmy Carter's in terms of its noble purpose. I know Carter is not without controversy, particularly on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but he has got to be the most public service oriented of any former president.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Good point (as usual), Mike. While as you suggest, I can't say I'm a huge fan of Carter, whom I've always found to be far too sure of his own goodness (and you have to have been alive and paying attention in the 70s to really understand what a disaster he was as president), he does come off pretty well in regards to his post-presidency, certainly when compared to Clinton. On the other hand, Clinton was the far better president. A mixed bag, basically. On the Israeli-Palestinian issue, I actually like his independence, and resistance to being cowed by the loonier right wing part of the Israel lobby. He's the rare American politician who has stood up to those creeps.

At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll have to chat about Jimmy and Bill sometime over coffee.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I'm up for that, Mike. I'll wear a cardigan in Carter's honor.


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