Jennifer Abdo's Reviews > Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill
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Feb 28, 11

Recommended to Jennifer by: NPR, Democracy Now

These are just some notes on the book so far. If I finish it, I may summarize or review it.

Edit- Didn't finish it. Don't think I will. Content is good and I'm glad he put this out there (people need to know), but I heard him every time he went on NPR, Democracy Now or any other show, so reading the book seems a little repetitive. I gave this a low rating because I couldn't get through it, not because the subject was bad or I think Blackwater/ Xe is a great company or think that government contractors operating in an abyss of lawlessness between the US and the foreign country of choice is good.

***

I found some people and some policies of confidentiality and secrecy to be reminiscent of The Family. I need to look at the foot notes to see if he references it. So far, he hasn't mentioned them in the text.

P 16 Council for National Policy - started 1981 by Rev. Tim LaHaye to oppose Council on Foreign Relations

***Red flag- this guy is the same LaHaye of the Left Behind novels that promote the false doctrine of premillennialism. Christians would do well to take note and be careful of throwing their support behind such people just because they "appear Christian" or support other right wing causes that Christians tend to support!

Council for National Policy

-Members are told to keep when and where and who attends meetings (before or after) secret from media

-“to strategize about how to turn the country to the right” 102

***Interesting. I have had conservative friends proudly say this is a center right country. Is it that way because people have Republican leanings or because they were manipulated by this and other groups like it that may have politicized and made divisive certain issues or however else they "turned the country to the right"... ?

Erik Prince is unconfirmed as a member of this group, but he has given money to it and is close with other attendees such as: Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, Holland Coors (beer), Wayne LaPierre (NRA), Richard and Dick DeVos, Oliver North, Grover Norquist, Frank Gaffney, GWB- addressed group in 1999. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bolton, Ashcroft, Dan Senor (top aide to Bremer), DeLay, Frist (given an award by them) - Many of these are in The Family...

***

P18 Chuck Colson (also influential in The Family)

Prison ministry

2002 speech - praised Erik Prince, talked of need for political and religious alliance of Catholics and evangelicals

P. 20 Colson, Richard Neuhaus and others - document Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT)

Common missionary cause “all people will come to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior”

(This doesn't sound bad- it sound good- but I disagree strongly with where they take it.)

“The document recognized the separation of church and state, but “just as strongly protest[ed] the distortion of that principle to mean the separation of religion from public life…The argument, increasingly voiced in sectors of our political culture, that religion should be excluded from the public square must be recognized as an assault upon the most elementary principles of democratic governance.” “ (p20)

(Again, I agree that separation of church and state shouldn't mean religion is banned in public life, but I also disagree with how much and what kind of religion is put into public life and how it is done. I also take issue with branding those who disagree with the way, say Republicans, aim to use or keep religion in public life, you are un-American, undemocratic and un-Christian)

Religion is “privileged and foundational in our legal order”

Need to defend “the moral truths of our constitutional order”

(This is a religious declaration- or so I thought. What is the constitution doing in it? God doesn't care what type of government we're under. The teachings are the same. This phrase seems to put the Constitution on the level of the Bible in the minds of some or that we should legislate all Bible truth in order to be faithful.)

Abortion was a big topic in ECT- called “culture of death”

(Abortion is murder, but "culture of death"?? This is Bush-style hype.)

Advocates “moral education” - giving future generations our cultural heritage, that is, Christianity and Judaism.

(Why a Christian would put Judaism on the level Christianity is beyond me. Given other moral issues they take a stand on, it seems they would want to make the Biblical distinction that Jews are in the same boat as Muslims today- they need to obey Christ. But, instead, they uphold Israel and it's war crimes as honorable and Muslims as incapable of anything good.)

“We contend for a free society, including a vibrant market economy.”

(Again, I'm fine with a religious statement. I'm not saying I'm going to endorse it, but go ahead if it reduces animosity between Catholics and Protestants. Help people find Christ. That is truly a great goal. Now, what on earth does salvation have to do with the economy???)

“We affirm the importance of a free economy not only because it is more efficient but because it accords with a Christian understanding of human freedom” (also something I can’t wrap my brain around- is there some Biblical example or preference or word on type of government or economy we should advocate for?? Total garbage. The Bible is about teaches one to be faithful and teaching others about Christ) “Economic freedom, while subject to grave abuse, makes possible the patterns of creativity, cooperation, and accountability that contribute to the common good.” (Sounds like more of a nod and help to the billionaires that started The Family, CNP, etc, but putting a Biblical spin on it so everyone else can voluntarily help them stay rich at their own expense.)

“renewed appreciation of Western culture”

(Sounds like a bit of American hubris, but what comes next is much more sinister...)

“We are keenly aware of, and grateful for, the role of Christianity in shaping and sustaining the Western culture of which we are apart.”

“Multiculturalism” most commonly come to mean “affirming all cultures but our own”

(Scary as a similar sort of thing appears in white supremacist type rants. Perhaps black folks are meant to be included in "our culture", but like I said, this is unsettling. Even if this does include African Americans, I disagree with the statement and think adopting a French style culture protection is wrong- especially given that most of us aren't Native American and so don't really have the right.)

The document says that now is the time for Catholics and Evangelicals to be Christians together in a way that prepares the world for the coming of Christ. It is a noble enough goal, but in the context of the political and economic goals also mentioned, it really doesn’t have much to do with this goal. And another issue is the differences in doctrine between the two and more importantly, how much should we in the Lord’s body be involved with these two. Should we use them to the extent that they follow the Bible, or just blaze a new trail?

I vote for the latter since I have no use for either the Republican or Democratic party.
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