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Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (2007)

– tekijä: Jeremy Scahill

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,3022710,951 (3.73)16
In this exposé by radical journalist Scahill, you will meet BLACKWATER USA, the world's most secretive and powerful mercenary firm. Based in the wilderness of North Carolina, it is the fastest-growing private army on the planet, with forces capable of carrying out regime change throughout the world. Blackwater protects the top US officials in Iraq, and yet we know almost nothing about the firm's quasi-military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and inside the US. Blackwater was founded by an extreme right-wing fundamentalist Christian mega-millionaire ex-Navy Seal named Erik Prince, the scion of a wealthy conservative family that bankrolls far-right-wing causes. This book is the dark story of the rise of a powerful mercenary army, ranging from the blood-soaked streets of Fallujah to rooftop firefights in Najaf to the hurricane-ravaged US Gulf to Washington DC, where Blackwater executives are hailed as new heroes in the war on terror.--From publisher description.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 27) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
You can read the book jacket to see what it's about, but I found it more interesting than I expected. And following the reports about Blackwater in the news appears to be only part of the story. A good study of a troubling trend. ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Very troubling. ( )
  Tosta | Jul 5, 2021 |
A good read, but like in The Assassination Complex, there are repetitive sentences and passages, I'm guessing coming from having a series of longform articles compiled into a book. Still surprising to see the extent of this, the huge amounts of money, the extraordinary legal gray areas that complicit politicians carved out to make PMCs effectively immune from prosecution.

Some basic Wikipedia perusal, Blackwater, rebranded Academi, has merged with several other PMCs under an umbrella holding company. ( )
  nicdevera | Oct 1, 2020 |
A book about "Blackwater" could have been easily turned into yet another "conspiracy theory" storytelling, but instead this book is something else.

Nonetheless, if you are looking for something that will raise your outrage, this book has plenty of material that can test your moral sense.

In this extensively documented book (out of almost 500 pages, 100 are just of footnotes and bibligraphical references), you will find plenty of stories about cronyism, political convergence, and business development strategy, as well as the expected reviews of incidents and recruitment plus deployment practices.

But, personally, I decided to read it for something else.

I was interested in stories about logistics and procurement when private and public armed activities share the same space.

Another book "An Army at Dawn: The War in Africa, 1942-1943" (https://www.librarything.com/work/13178/book/81996115), showed how in WWII modern war logistics was in its infancy.

Nowadays, we live in a more complex world.

And, in our complex world, most countries dropped the "draft".

I served just one year in Italy, compulsory service.

In my time, I worked a bit also on logistics and procurement, but civilians were just suppliers, not part of joint operations.

If you remove the draft and create a professional army, this has some impacts, and when you then cut down the costs, plenty of restructuring of activities and processes is needed.

And when you do more with less? Eventually, you might have to outsource, if you cannot wait to expand again your footprint.

In business, I worked extensively within various forms of outsourcing, and therefore I am familiar with the side-effects on an organization getting "addicted" to outsourcing also for what is mission-critical (i.e. "core business").

And, of course, I was interested to read how a training facility turned into a private provider of security details, scaling up to almost brigade level (my group was reporting at a divisional level, a notch up in the complexity level, but we fired weapons only in training exercises, albeit some NCOs told stories of when they had been deployed to a previous UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon).

Redundancy and check-and-balances is what you expect from an army that, as is normal within NATO countries, reports to politicians, who, in turn, are elected.

Once I asked a non-Italian friend who had served as a professional if he ever considered serving as a private contractor, and his answer resonated often through this book: no- more money, less armour.

When a supplier can influence your strategy and operations, you have to add to your own complexities a further layer: continuously ensuring that your suppliers' purposes do not interfere with your own.

This book shares some episodes where this "alignment" was at best questionable, but the lessons could actually be translated into something useful in less-critical (but still business) situations.

A further layer in this book is adding more depth on "sidelines", as explaining the context of some episodes requires backtracking and doing plenty of "flash-back" episodes.

This sometimes makes the prose slightly heavy, but it is worth getting through it, also if once in a while sounds as "Cloud Atlas" (it all converges in the end).

So, beside what you could expect from the title "Blackwater" and subtitle "

Anyway, interesting, and here and there even an amusing reading, albeit sometimes you wonder how some of the episodes could have happened at all. ( )
  aleph123 | Oct 5, 2019 |
Covers the rise of mercenaries, exemplified by Blackwater, who are receiving very large amounts of money to keep the peace in hotspots around the world. Of course, while Blackwater's owner and senior staff are paid handsomely, the same cannot be said of many of the soldiers serving in dangerous areas. While some sections drag, overall "Blackwater" is a quite frightening insight into how war is making some people very rich (and did the founder name his company "Blackwater" specifically because it sounded ominous?) ( )
  MiaCulpa | Feb 11, 2019 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 27) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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In this exposé by radical journalist Scahill, you will meet BLACKWATER USA, the world's most secretive and powerful mercenary firm. Based in the wilderness of North Carolina, it is the fastest-growing private army on the planet, with forces capable of carrying out regime change throughout the world. Blackwater protects the top US officials in Iraq, and yet we know almost nothing about the firm's quasi-military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and inside the US. Blackwater was founded by an extreme right-wing fundamentalist Christian mega-millionaire ex-Navy Seal named Erik Prince, the scion of a wealthy conservative family that bankrolls far-right-wing causes. This book is the dark story of the rise of a powerful mercenary army, ranging from the blood-soaked streets of Fallujah to rooftop firefights in Najaf to the hurricane-ravaged US Gulf to Washington DC, where Blackwater executives are hailed as new heroes in the war on terror.--From publisher description.

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