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

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

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Encyclopedia
Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army is a book written by independent journalist Jeremy Scahill
Jeremy Scahill
Jeremy Scahill is an American investigative journalist and author whose work focuses on the use of private military companies. He is the author of the best-selling book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, winner of a George Polk Book Award. He also serves as a...

, published by Nation Books in 2007, as a history and analysis of Blackwater USA
Blackwater Worldwide
Xe Services LLC, better known by its former names, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide, is a private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark.. Xe is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department's three private security contractors...

, now Xe Services. It won a George Polk Book Award
George Polk Awards
The George Polk Awards in Journalism are a series of American journalism awards presented annually by Long Island University in New York in the United States.-History:...

.

Synopsis


The book details the rise of Blackwater USA
Blackwater Worldwide
Xe Services LLC, better known by its former names, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide, is a private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark.. Xe is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department's three private security contractors...

, a private military company
Private military company
A private military company or provides military and security services. These combatants are commonly known as mercenaries, though modern-day PMCs refer to their staff as security contractors, private military contractors or private security contractors, and refer to themselves as private military...

, and the growth of security contracting in the Iraq War and the War on Terrorism
War on Terrorism
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

. In the book, Scahill contends that Blackwater exists as a mercenary
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 force, and argues that Blackwater's rise is a consequence of the demobilisation of the US military following the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 and its overextension in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. He describes further how Blackwater (at the time of writing) serves in Iraq and Afghanistan like, in his judgement, a Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard
The Praetorian Guard was a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors. The title was already used during the Roman Republic for the guards of Roman generals, at least since the rise to prominence of the Scipio family around 275 BC...

, protecting top authority figures and enjoying immunity from the usual constraints and regulations on traditional armies. Scahill argues that Blackwater's leadership was motivated by a right-wing Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 ideology, and that its founder, Erik Prince
Erik Prince
Erik Dean Prince is the founder and formerly the sole owner of the private military company Xe Services LLC, formerly Blackwater Worldwide. On March 2, 2009, Prince announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Xe. He is currently living abroad in the United Arab Emirates, where he is creating a...

, has provided significant assistance in that venue. Blackwater is also present in some parts of Pakistan.

Media attention

  • Scahill appeared at DePaul University
    DePaul University
    DePaul University is a private institution of higher education and research in Chicago, Illinois. Founded by the Vincentians in 1898, the university takes its name from the 17th century French priest Saint Vincent de Paul...

     in Chicago, IL to speak about his book with U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
    Jan Schakowsky
    Janice D. "Jan" Schakowsky is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1999. She is a member of the Democratic Party.The district includes many of Chicago's northern suburbs, including Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Rosemont...

     (Democrat) on April 21, 2008.
  • Scahill appeared on CBC
    Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

    's The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos
    George Stroumboulopoulos
    George Mark Paul Stroumboulopoulos is a Canadian television and radio personality, best known as the host of CBC Television's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and being a VJ for Canadian music television channel MuchMusic...

     on April 4, 2007 to promote his book.
  • Scahill appeared on the April 19, 2007 episode of The Daily Show
    The Daily Show
    The Daily Show , is an American late night satirical television program airing each Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central. The half-hour long show premiered on July 21, 1996, and was hosted by Craig Kilborn until December 1998...

    with Jon Stewart
    Jon Stewart
    Jon Stewart is an American political satirist, writer, television host, actor, media critic and stand-up comedian...

    .
  • Scahill appeared on the October 19, 2007, edition of PBS' Bill Moyers Journal.
  • Scahill appeared on MSNBC
    MSNBC
    MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

    's program Countdown with Keith Olbermann
    Countdown with Keith Olbermann
    Countdown with Keith Olbermann is an hour-long weeknight news and political commentary program that airs on Current TV, where it began airing on June 20, 2011. The program was broadcast on MSNBC from March 31, 2003, to January 21, 2011. On MSNBC, the show presented five selected news stories of...

    on October 30, 2007; and has appeared on Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...

    as a commentator on Blackwater USA.
  • Scahill appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher
    Real Time with Bill Maher
    Real Time with Bill Maher is a talk show that airs weekly on HBO, hosted by comedian and political satirist Bill Maher. Much like his previous show, Politically Incorrect on ABC , Real Time features a panel of guests that discuss current events in politics and the media...

    on November 2, 2007, March 7, 2008, April 18, 2008, June 5, 2009 and August 21, 2009.
  • Scahill appeared at Ithaca College
    Ithaca College
    Ithaca College is a private college located on the South Hill of Ithaca, New York. The school was founded by William Egbert in 1892 as a conservatory of music. The college has a strong liberal arts core, but also offers several pre-professional programs and some graduate programs. The college is...

     in Ithaca, New York
    Ithaca, New York
    The city of Ithaca, is a city in upstate New York and the county seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca-Tompkins County metropolitan area...

     on December 2, 2008,
  • Scahill appeared on Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...

    on August 3, 2010 and talked about the level of violence in Iraq as US troops are preparing to pull out by the end of August 2010.

Editions

  • 2007 U.S. hardcover, Nation Books, ISBN 978-1-56025-979-4
  • 2007 U.K. hardcover, Serpent's Tail, ISBN 978-1-84668630-6
  • 2008 U.S. paperback, Nation Books, ISBN 978-1-56858-394-5
  • The book has been translated into Chinese and Arabic.

Reviews


External links