Australian polymath Antony Loewenstein – documentarian, atheist Jew, journalist, photographer, best selling author and acrylic nail technician – is interviewed by Salon’s Ben Norton, who also reviews Loewenstein’s latest book, Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing out of Catastrophe. The book is praised as “compelling, meticulous and daring”, while Loewenstein is, despite being a hick Australian, a “cosmopolitan journalist” who “expertly shows how corporate control of not just the domestic, but also the global political system has led to a drastic ‘erosion of democracy’”.
Much is made of Loewenstein’s “explosive” revelation that war is supposedly being contracted out to Private Military Companies – in Loewy-speak, privatised mercenaries. Some scary “facts”:
Not all private security interests in Afghanistan are mercenaries; many men are just security guards protecting embassies or Western interests. But mercenaries are a little-reported aspect of the war, either directly engaged in killing or capturing suspected insurgents (a key failing of the Western war in the country has been its insistence on designating any opponent of the conflict as “Taliban” and therefore “terrorist”) or training Afghan forces to do the same thing, often inflaming conflicts in local villages.
The U.S. government, along with its many allies, likes using private assets to further geo-political interests. The initial motivation when invading Afghanistan was revenge for 9/11, but this quickly morphed into a messy project to control the nation and partner with a corrupt central government and warlords across the country.
The reason I use the term “imperialism” to describe the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and beyond — along with U.S.-backed autocratic partners in the Middle East, South America, Asia and Africa — is that there’s no other way to describe attempts to secure energy reserves and economic influence in the modern age.
War has always worked this way, but the inclusion of globalized private entities removes one more level of accountability. Today in Afghanistan there are around 30,000 contractors working for the Pentagon alongside the U.S. military and Special Forces. And the Pentagon won’t acknowledge how many soldiers are truly fighting ISIS in Iraq.
According to the link above, the 30,000 people employed by DoD contractors are providing non-soldierly services such as: construction; weapons maintenance; food; laundry; electric supply; waste management; and sewage maintenance. The article says absolutely nothing about mercenaries or anyone else acting as soldiers.
Loewenstein and Salon are purveyors of nonsense.