Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Listening to Eric Prince - musings about US SOF and the Empire

Jeremy Scahill, the award-winning independent journalist and the author of the international bestseller, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army" has just published an article on his blog at The Nation entitled "Secret Erik Prince Tape Exposed". Scahill was also interviewed today on Democracy Now. Check out the article and the interview, interesting stuff.

Here is, however, the one quote by Prince which is really priceless:

"These people, they crawled out of the sewer and they have a 1200 AD mentality. They’re barbarians. They don’t even know where Geneva is, let alone that there was a convention there"

This short sentence crystallizes all the key features of the American imperial warrior.

"These people": Eric Prince is too ignorant to realize that there are many very different people, with different histories, different cultures, different languages, different religions and different traditions in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. I bet you that Prince speaks no local language and that he thinks of "these people" as "sand niggers", "hadjis", "ragheads", etc.

"They crawled out of the sewer": clearly, he thinks of "them" as something akin to rats, cockroaches, or maybe maggots: an infestation, a nuisance, a pest to be exterminated, but not as "real" human beings. This is the kind of mentality which has supported every single genocide the USA has committed in its blood-soaked history.

"They have a 1200 AD mentality". Another great statement. Prince clearly has no idea whatsoever about the 13th century, in particular not about where Europe at that time stood, especially when compared to the Middle-East. He simply cannot envision that the culture of Iraq or Pakistan in the 13th century was way more sophisticated and civilized that the mentality (one can hardly call it a 'culture') of today's USA. He also get's his time-reference wrong. Iraq and Pakistan are both top contenders for the honor of being the first civilization on he face of the earth. Iraq with its Sumerian civilization and Pakistan with its possibly even older Indus-Saraswati civilization near the modern Moheno-Daro ruins in what is today Sindh region of Pakistan. Both civilization can be roughly placed around 2500-3000 BC and there is some evidence that the Vedas might be as old as 12'000 BC! But how could an arrogant American mercenary whose idea of "ancient history" probably does not stretch further back than the US Civil War and whose country recently celebrated its bi-centennial wrap his brain around such figures?!

"They don’t even know where Geneva is". Since I spend most of my life in Geneva, I can vouch for the following: most Americans do not know where Geneva is, while most people I met in South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle-East did.

"There was a convention there". Of course, no "convention" was organized there. Four legal instruments called "Geneva Conventions" (and several Additional Protocols) were adopted under that name in reference to the work of Henri Dunant and the Red Cross. Eric Prince probably thinks that the word "convention" refers to a big conference, some event, rather than a legal document.

The interesting thing here is that Eric Prince was a USN Seal. I have always had a very bad opinion of US special operations forces and if one puts aside the Hollywood type propaganda about "the most elite for on the planet", their actual record ranges from the mediocre to the outright pathetic (think Grenada here). One could wonder why that is the case? The US special forces are very well equipped and supported, their training is costly and advanced, yet their performance is lackluster at best. Eric Prince and his Blackwater goons are a perfect illustration of why: its their mentality/mindset which is so inadequate for their mission.

Compare these US "Rambos" with French, British or Russian special forces. While the former are all about "killing sand niggers" and firepower, the latter typically very rapidly "turn native". They speak the language, make local friends, adopt local customs and, by and large, try to blend in with their environment. Often, they are fluent in several local languages and have one or two college degrees back home. They also have a great deal of respect for the capabilities of the local fighters. Most importantly, effective special operators do not feel the type of hostile condescending disdain which seeps through every word Eric Prince spoke that day.

What is at the very core of the imperial mindset - in any empire - and which is further concentrated in the US military in general, and the special operations forces in particular, is this deep-seated racism, a sense of innate superiority and a complete inability to relate to other people and cultures. That is one of the biggest achilles heel of the entire US military. No matter where it goes, it ends up being hated and rejected because it always comes in with a racist mindset. Eric Prince and his Blackwater goons are just a perfect illustration of a much more widespread US imperial mindset.

The Saker