Xe (pronounced “zee”) is the new Blackwater. And, all of the Blackwater subsidiaries are getting the makeover treatment too:
The Blackwater name has being expunged from all of its business units: Blackwater Airships (which offers surveillance services for intelligence gathering) has become Guardian Flight Systems. Blackwater Target Systems (the unit that develops and builds targets) is now being called GSD Manufacturing, and Blackwater Lodge and Training Center has been named the U.S. Training Center.
There are appropriate roles for private industry to work with government, but, as we learned from the Nisoor Square shooting in 2007, providing military personnel is not one of them.
This Blackwater rebranding suggests that they are trying to distance themselves from the cowboy foreign policy of GW Bush as well as from their own mistakes. Changing the name of a mistake… well, it’s still a mistake. Perhaps also they are trying to fade into the background of our national awareness so that they can re-emerge later without objection. It’s our duty to keep an eye on these accountable-to-no-one private armies and keep them away from our military and our military interests.
Private mercenary companies simply shouldn’t be allowed to exist. Blackwater in particular is approaching the scary point of being “too big to fail” (they even have their own air force, for crying out loud), which, if wall street is any sort of harbinger, is a sure recipe for catastrophe. I don’t want to live in an age of corporate war, where businesses have greater powers to make war than nations. We’re a long way from that terrible place, but the Blackwaters of the world — or whatever they want to call themselves — exist to drag us there.