Tuesday, September 18, 2007


It's very strange. For the past six years, we have been inundated with bumper stickers and public outcries of "Support the Troops!" But nowhere has there been a bumper sticker that says "Support the Hired Guns!" I guess it is because our President has been so secretive about the existence of our mercenary soldiers.

From what I understand, there are more or as many mercenaries in Iraq than there are troops. Some of them are on security details, but others are out in the field....fighting the enemy. Once in a while they have become confused over just who the enemy may be, as during the commotion last week that resulted in Blackwater being tossed out of Iraq because of the deaths of several civilians and the wounding of several more in a firefight. Nevertheless, as President Bush speaks of bringing troops home, advertisements are calling for more mercenaries.

Throughout this war, we have carefully tallied the number of American troops lost in this war. There has been no tally of the mercenary deaths, nor what happens to them if they are wounded. Evidently, from what I read, they are not composed of only Americans, but can come from other countries....I presume, from the teeming ranks of the Coalition of the Willing. I'm not sure of that, because the Coalition of the Willing seems to have become the Coalition of the Unwilling lately. One politician described it as the Coalition of the Billing, because of the amount of money we have spent on our compatriots during this war.

Imagine that! Our own French Foreign Legion, heroes dashing off to combat evil anywhere in the world. All it takes is a phone call...."Hey, Joe! There's an uprising in Slobania, seems the peasants don't want us to take over their oilfields. Can you send a few hundred thousand over there and straighten them out?"

Blackwater, in an interview with CNN, said that it had recently expanded, which means the Corporate executives must be planning on more and more wars. War has become a business and the millionaires that start a company like Blackwater are becoming even richer off the largesse of the American people. We pay our military very little....after all, they have a duty to protect us from harm. But the mercenaries....well, I have heard their pay can reach thousands of dollars. Of course, they are risking their lives and limbs, as well as their heads, but then, so are our military.

One thing's for sure, companies like Blackwater outfit their employees with the finest of equipment. We never hear a complaint about the mercenaries going without armored vehicles or other protective gear. Throughout this war, we have heard that our soldiers are not adequately protected and the number of them coming home with brain injuries bears this out. Why are we willing to spend tremendous sums to hire mercenaries, yet have left our soldiers without the proper equipment?

Somehow, something isn't right. It seems to me that the cry "Bring them home!" has become an empty echo, ringing through the shadows like the lonesome call of a dove. It appears to me that the troops could come home, but the existence of these mercenaries could keep the Iraq War going forever, until the last Iraqi is either dead or has fled to another country.

Perhaps this is the idea behind it. If this happened, the oilfields would be ours, under our control, a goodly supply of Black Gold to line the pockets of the oil barons for the next century. So, while the American people have been shouting "Support the Troops," and waving their flags, a secret army, without accountability, has been fighting in Iraq. Oh, how these leaders of today love a lack of accountability! You and I are held accountable. Run a red light. Pay your fine. But the people we have elected to serve us are aiming us down a secret path and we haven't even been aware of it. We have been blindfolded, inundated with PR material, and led down a dark and murky path through a black tunnel with no light at its end.

Secret prisons. Secret Armies. Secret e-mails that disappear into thin air. Secret conferences. Secret reports that subpoenas cannot summon. Secret plans for a new and different America, the land of brave and the free, the land of secrets.