Geez Issue 7 on monsters includes an excerpt from a previous post of mine on Blackwater Thot I'd make the original a bit more accessible & tidy it up a bit. Here t'is
Cruella De Vil, Cruella De Vil,
If she doesn't scare you,
no evil thing will
To see her is to take
a sudden chill
Cruella, Cruella De Vil. . .
101 Dalmations came out in 1961. I was 8, and Cruella de Vil was, for the longest time, the face of evil in my mind. Clearly that's what evil people looked like, skinny with unmistakably nasty eyes. It's what many of us thought evil looked like. It was, perhaps, too dangerous to think that it might look like Roger or Anita, the nice couple who loved the puppies. Or like Oprah or Dr. Phil.
Unfortunately we were duped.
Erik Prince is the CEO and founder of Blackwater, a private mercenary army for hire [complete with the largest private military base in the world, with some 20 aircraft in their fleet, forces deployed in 9 countries and 21,000 'contractors' at the ready – a larger army than half of the nations in Africa.] Blackwater has been contracted by the Bush admin in Iraq and region. The idea of a private army for hire is pretty chilling in itself, but if that doesn't chill you, Prince's pedigree should.
His father, Edgar, founded the Family Research Council, where young Erik once worked as an intern. He must have learned well from these worthy pro-family lobbyists, because he then went out and started his own mercenary army. Paid killers. Erik Prince is a billionaire [I'm tempted to say something about 'making a killing in business' but I'll resist]. He is also a dedicated, right wing fundamentalist Christian. Let’s see, a billionaire theocrat with a private army. . . If that doesn't chill you no evil thing will.
Erik's mom Elsa, has been a board member of Focus on the Family and the secretive uber-conservative Council for National Policy, brainchild of Tim LaHaye [yep, the Left Behind guy]. Erik’s sister, Betsy, one time head of the Michigan Republicans, married Dick Devos, son of Amway’s Richard Devos. [Both Ricky & Dicky have strong connections to the CNP as well]. So, Erik’s loving mum, sis and brother in law all linked to this secretive ultraright group itself linked to theocrats. And Erik’s got an army.
Betsy and Dick have a foundation that backs groups like Focus. Not to be outdone, Erik has his own foundation, bizarrely named “The Freiheit Foundation” [Freiheit is German for ‘liberty’ but Erik isn’t German. And I am certainly not suggesting a link to Arische Freiheit (“Aryan Freedom”) and Aryan mysticism. Nope, way too conspiratorial.] Freiheit, however, does fund numerous religious right groups including the Acton Institute that targets anti-poverty campaigners and those nasty global warming alarmists. He also sits on the board of Christian Freedom International, an evangelistic organization operating in several predominately Muslim counties including Sudan where, coincidentally, Blackwater “has an interest”.
With over $750 million in US state department contracts, the Blackwater group includes training centres [over 50,000 paid killers trained in the homeland], production of armoured vehicles and remotely piloted aircraft,. Their Presidential Air Service helpfully has secret facility clearance from the Department of Defense [renditions are so much easier that way] And under Cofer Black, former head of counterterrorism at the CIA and Blackwater’s Vice-chair, they’ve created ‘Total Intelligence Solutions’- spies for hire.
Erik though is the quiet type. He eschews the spotlight, shy perhaps, or maybe he simply to prefers working under the radar. Strongly pro-family, pro-life [and as a mercenary boss, one can only assume pro-death as well] he may have a dog, a cocker spaniel perhaps or a golden retriever, and a garden with tulips. A pretty wife, a nice estate. He doesn't look anything like Cruella, really, does he?
Let's see, a major war-profiteer, mercenary army CEO. . . does that seem a bit at odds to the gospel? to the person/spirit/ethos of Jesus? Jesus who said, 'You've heard it said, 'Love your neighbour, hate your enemy', but I say to you 'Love your enemy.and pray for those who persecute you, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you..."
We make the mistake of thinking that evil shows up as the opposite of the good, often it is more like 'the good with benefits' – it begins with a little twist here, a little lie there, a quick justification.
Whatever its spiritual genesis, evil thrives not because of sociopaths [though they do their bit] but because of everyday folk who choose to live an unexamined life, chose to live a lie rather than face uncomfortable truth. Roger, the Dalmatian loving father could have been a pedophile or a war profiteer, could have taken pot-shots at pro-choice gynecologists, and Anita might not have suspected a thing.
I joke about this stuff in order to avoid madness. . . but joking aside, having watched the rise of the religious right in the US for 3 decades, I'd never considered the possibility of them creating their own army. I'd underestimated the wiliness of the devil. Yet here's a group that has created its own army, with the blessing of the Bush administration, and is amassing huge profits.
30 years ago I heard Corrie ten Boom asked if she feared Germany returning to fascism.She looked thoughtful, then answered, “Germany. . .No . . . but I do fear that America could drift into fascism. . . “ Sounded over the top, then. Far less so now.
As Canadians we maybe need to start asking what we will do if/when the US drifts/lurches into a fascist state, a theocracy . ..And as Christians, we need to start asking the questions Bonhoeffer asked, at what point must we give up our silence, our comfortable acquiescence?
here are some links and other resources re blackwater:
American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century. Kevin Phillips. 2006
Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Jeremy Scahill. 2007
The Theocons: Secular AmericaUnder Siege. Damon Linker. 2006
Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy. Fredrick Clarkson. 1997