Author Blames Lack of Draft for Blackwater's Rise

    In the 1960s, one of the key rallying points that led to the organization of the modern liberal movement was resistance to the military draft and the Vietnam War.


    But Jeremy Scahill, a fellow at the liberal Nation Institute and author of “Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” a book highly critical of the defense contractor, took a very ironic stance on the reinstitution of a draft in a recent appearance. He blamed the government’s reluctance to use a military draft for the rise of private defense contractors.


     “It [the government’s use of Blackwater and other contractors] also helps to keep a draft off the table,” Scahill said June 5 at Busboys & Poets books shop in Arlington, Va. “I can almost guarantee you if there were a draft in this country, people would stop watching Britney Spears checking into rehab clinic and would probably be out in the streets because many, many more U.S. citizens would be coming back in body bags.”


     “So this is a way of doubling, effectively, the size of the U.S. occupation force in Iraq without having to own responsibility of doing that,” Scahill said. “Because, instead of implementing a draft in the United States, instead of engaging with other nations states to get their militaries there, the Bush administration has used companies like Blackwater to go into countries like Chile, Colombia and elsewhere and actually hire up citizens of nations, many of whom have home governments that are opposed to the war and then deploy them in a war zone in which their country is not a part of.”


     Scahill said he was not a proponent of a draft, and that he would be a modern-day draft-dodger if it were reinstituted.


     “If there was a draft, I think it would make the war politically untenable pretty fast,” said Scahill. “[B]lackwater benefits from a lack of a draft.”


     “In fact, I’ve had guys say to me, ‘We keep you from having to go to war,’ you know guys who work for those companies. In way, it’s true, but I wouldn’t go to that war even if I was drafted,” Scahill concluded.

     On Oct. 19, 2007, Scahill appeared on Bill Moyers’ PBS show to discuss Blackwater and Moyers dedicated 40 minutes of the show to Scahill’s Blackwater bashing.