Node Of Evil - Fair And Balanced Reporting

For those who feel the war on terrorism
could use a little "Structural Adjustment".

Hey all, here's something that's vitally important -- the U.N. aid program in Palestine is close to running out of funds. Please take a minute to donate something to help the Palestinian refugees. You can donate here. More information about the program can be found here.

Who We Are: Did you feel left out of the "Axis of Evil"? Do you not have enough WMD's to qualify? Well, fret no more friend, 'cause any rational left- or right-leaning individual who dares disagree with the war on terrorism is a threat to every peace-loving nation! That means us! and that may mean you, too, are qualified to make the Most-of-the-Most-Wanted list. We're here to welcome all who disagree with, or generally dislike, any aspect of the war on terrorism with open arms! Declare yourself an enemy of the state - join the Node Of Evil.

Why join the Node Of Evil? We offer benefits such as a clear conscience and the ability to express your opinion, plus the opportunity to lob a few political hot potatos in the general direction of the White house.

How do you join the Node Of Evil? To join, simply repeat the phrase "I hate the war on terrorism". Yes, it's that simple!


Monday, August 04, 2003

One issue we've covered from time to time is the Mercenary industry in the United States. While mercenaires (who go by all sorts of different names these days, but whom are nevertheless mercenaries and thus banned under the terms of the Geneva convention) have gone legit in the last ten years, this still does not address the fundamental question of whether or not they should be employed on behalf of the American people. Consider for a moment this example:

'The campaign cash and personal connections give private military companies an unusual degree of influence, even by Washington standards. In at least one case, a company has successfully shifted U.S. foreign policy to bolster its bottom line. In 1998, the government of Equatorial Guinea asked MPRI to evaluate its defense systems, particularly its need for a coast guard to protect its oil reserves. To do so, MPRI needed a license from the U.S. State Department. But the Clinton administration flatly rejected the company's request, citing the West African nation's egregious record of torturing and murdering political dissidents. '

'MPRI launched a full-scale blitz to overturn the decision, quietly dispatching company officials to work the hallways of the Pentagon, State Department, and Capitol. "This is the kind of lobbying that's surgically executed," says Rep. Schakowsky. "This is not something they want a wide discussion on in Congress." MPRI's executives argued that the United States should be engaging Equatorial Guinea, both to improve its record on human rights and to ensure access to its oil reserves. It didn't hurt that the company could effectively pull rank, citing its extensive military experience. "Remember, these are high-level four-star generals, who can really make an argument that this is consistent with foreign policy," says Deborah Avant, an international-affairs expert at George Washington University. '

'In 2000, the State Department did an about-face and issued a license to MPRI. Bennett Freeman, a high-ranking State Department official who initially opposed the deal, says he changed his mind after meeting with Lt. General Harry Soyster of MPRI, who convinced him that the company would include human-rights training in its work. "These private military companies, if properly directed by U.S. government officials, can in fact play positive roles," Freeman says. MPRI refuses to reveal the terms of its contract with Equatorial Guinea.'

The time has come for a serious national debate about privatizing such things as national defense, and more importantly diplomacy. While this certainly isn't the first time a company has influenced U.S. policy to its benefit, it is an egregious example of how privatization has ceeded traditional governmental functions to private corporations. This has, of course, all happened with very little pubicity and a lack of effective oversight by Congress. Hopefully the current military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which employ a number of mercenaries, will force the issue into the public eye.

Andrew 8:55 AM : |


New York Times
The Independent
Google News

The New Yorker
The Atlantic Monthly

Bloggers we like:
Baseball on Blake Street
Non Tibi Spiro

Bloggers you already know:
Daily Kos
Kevin Drum

Andrew's Music:
Poser P
Our history: The Node Of Evil started in the spring of 2002, before the age of dated posts. The original site is here.

Hook Into The Node - Add Your Comments

See What Others Think - View Comments

Lob A Hot Potato At The White House:

Email The President (

Email The Vice President (

Throw something at a senator, too:

Senators by state.

I am responsible

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Weblog Commenting by