Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Blackwater drops in to San Diego

On Sunday I mentioned there were rumors that Blackwater had participated in the halftime show at the SDSU/BYU game over this past weekend? Here's the deal:

For the past three years, San Diego State University has participated in Fleet Week to honor the military. This year, it fell during the week of the Southern California fires, so the annual SDSU Fleet Week football game was postponed until this past weekend. That was the reason for the military angle of the halftime show, and the promotion was done in conjunction with the Fleet Week Foundation. This is nothing new. It's been done in years past.

However it appears that for the past three years, Blackwater USA has participated in the Fleet Week/SDSU game halftime show as a part of the production to honor the military in San Diego. is where I part company with anyone who think this might be just peachy.

I'm not opposed to the halftime show as a whole, nor do I don't have any problem with ceremonies honoring our veterans, as many of the Fleet Week events do throughout the year. My objection is this:

Blackwater is not part of the United States Armed Forces. They're a private company. Not to mention, a private company undergoing a series of federal investigations related from everything to arms smuggling, to steroid abuse, to the murder of civilians. In any case, they are not part of the US military force.

That line between the private and public sector needs sharpening, but Blackwater's participation in this event does nothing but blur the distinction. There are some functions that belong only under the control of the people, and not in the hands of for-profit corporations. War is one of them. When the people have a high stake in the international conflict, it's less likely to occur. When corporations have a stake in war, it's just the opposite. Businesses that make obscene profits during wartime, have no incentive to keep the peace. It's Eisenhower's military industrial complex writ large.

This video is a promo associated with last year's SDSU/Fleet Week game. If you forward ahead to the 2:43 mark, you can watch a parachutist with a huge Blackwater canopy above his head, and a giant American flag tied to his ankle, descend into Qualcomm Stadium.
Is it just me, or does that image make anyone else feel a little queasy?

Lucas from Calitics speaks wise:
Fleet Week events, which go on year round, are to honor veterans. I've attended several of them and in my experience they've been good opportunities to pay tribute to veterans. So I have a hard time understanding howBlackwater fits into the puzzle. They consistently undermine the work being done by our armed forces around the world and especially in Iraq. It seems a particularly unfortunate inclusion in the festivities; made all the more uncomfortable given that theBlackwater recall election culminates on Tuesday (12/11).

I spoke with Steve Becvar of the SDSU Athletic Foundation, which was involved in planning the event. He explained that this is the third year that Blackwater-affiliated parachutists had played a role in the Fleet Week game. He emphasized that the school was not seeking to make any sort of political point, simply to partner with the Fleet Week Foundation to honor veterans.

But despite what may well have been the best intentions of event organizers, Blackwater has NO business honoring veterans. Blackwater profits from war and has a vested interest in prolonging any military struggle as long as it increases revenue. They are, in fact, naturally at odds with everything that our veterans should be honored for. They dishonor the flag and all the people who have bled for it whenever they or their representatives try to wrap themselves or theBlackwater logo in the American flag.

This is the icing on my cake regarding Blackwater building a base of operations in San Diego. Not only is their proposed training camp wildly inappropriate for the location where they want to build in regard to land use and environmental issues, but I am deeply opposed to this blurring of the public and private sector in the military whether it be Blackwater or any other private corporation. The show at Qualcomm stadium this past Saturday puts a very fine point on it, but no matter how much they wish it to be so, Blackwater is not a part of the United States military force and I strongly object to their use of our military and our flag as a marketing opportunity and a PR device.

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Blogger nunya said...


Perfect post, thanks

12/09/2007 12:05:00 AM  

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