[FoRK] Outsourcing fascism

Contempt for Meatheads jbone at place.org
Tue May 4 14:36:09 PDT 2004

Nit:  I'm rather sick of imprecise overuse of the term "fascism."  On 
the other hand, there are some good points lurking in this:

Weinberger quoth:


Outsourcing fascism

Does President Bush understand the magnitude of the disaster at Abu 
Ghraib? We've lost whatever ability we had to maintain that we were 
occupying the high ground. We have given our enemies a powerful 
recruitment poster. We have handed them the rejoinder to those who want 
to argue on our behalf. Our country is at substantially greater 
long-term risk today. And our president treats it as something that is 
personally troubling, a matter of conscience rather than an issue of 
policy. He continues to talk about how we ended the "torture rooms" in 
Iraq, as if unaware of how hollow his words sound to the world.

All that is PR and perception, and it counts for an awful lot. But we 
also have to ask whether we as a nation are responsible for the torture 
of the prisoners. Of course every American is outraged - aren't we? - 
but was it anything more than an isolated incident? And I'm afraid that 
the answer is yes. Even if it is the only time we've beaten prisoners, 
we are responsible for hiring mercenaries to mask the true cost of the 
war. Mercenaries are the second-largest force in the Coalition of the 
Willing and the Paid. Some of them have high security clearances from 
our government. We are outsourcing our dirty work. In the 21st century, 
the secret police work have corporate IDs. This is scary as shit.

What can we do about it? I'm not an expert in foreign relations, war, 
security or diplomacy, so I don't know. But here are some things that 
make sense to me as a citizen:

Announce a full investigation. Punish those who are responsible. Treat 
it as a big deal. Show the world what the rule of law looks like.

Fire the mercenaries. Bring charges against them and the companies they 
work for. Don't use mercenaries any more.

Bring the Guantanamo prisoners to trial and release the ones who are 
found innocent (or who can't be charged).

Fire Ashcroft for not protecting our Constitution.

Re-think how we can make our country safer. Being a bully is going to 
get our cities blown up. What can we do in addition to hunting down 
terrorists? In twenty years, what is our vision of the world?

The use of mercenaries to do our dirty work is a turning point. We 
should treat it as such and go back...conspicuously and quickly. 

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