Shifting Sands

19Sep07

Blackstone Helicopter, Courtesy AFPToday’s news broke the story concerning the cancellation of the operating license of Blackwater, a private security firm based in the United States, by the Iraqi Minister of the Interior following a Sunday shootout that killed 8 and wounded 10 people. Blackwater has been a fixture of the United States’ efforts in Iraq throughout the war, although their presence has not been without controversy–including the mounting disfavor in which Blackwater is held by the Iraqi people.

Whatever your concern is about Blackwater–whether it be a lack of accountability to the law, inequality of pay when compared to soldiers, greater availability of protective gear for mercenaries, or lack of benefits for Blackstone veterans–I think that it is important to step back and consider the big picture.

Our society has been in a trend towards privatization of government programs in recent years. While this has been a trend over a period of time, it has become pronounced in the Iraqi war. Whether it be food services, technical support, nation building, or in the case of Blackwater, mercenaries, we have seen a large effort to commercialize the process of war.

This raises a number of troubling questions. When war becomes a for-profit venture, is it still possible to make a claim for just war? When war becomes a for-profit venture, what code of ethics guides our actions? When war becomes a for-profit venture, what impetus is there to stop?

For people of faith, the question must also be, “When the economy guides some of the most profound decisions of humanity, where is God?” Have we become like the foolish man who built his foundation upon the shifting sands? Who is our God?

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One Response to “Shifting Sands”

  1. 1 Tom Hoberg

    Adam, these are great questions. I too am troubled by the move towards privatization of everything. On a side note, this is happening to the public schools as well, with some people advocating a voucher system. That would be devastating to the very foundation of public education in America–just as the privatization of military duties enables us to stay even further removed from the real issues of war.


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