• God’s Will: Academi and Mercs at State

    June 14, 2012

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Embassy/State, Iraq

    I wrote recently about the return of Blackwater to the State Department, with the mercenary guns-for-hire company changing its name once again (now called Academi in a homage to bad spelling) and buying an existing contract to put it back into the State Department’s world.

    It gets creepier, as government seems to get these days.

    Slam Dunk on Inman

    Academi now boasts two celebrities on its Board of Directors, former attorney general John Ashcroft and retired admiral Bobby Inman. Ashcroft of course is Mr. Homeland Security, the guy who set in motion the smorgasbord of unconstitutional wiretapping, spying and detentions without trial that followed 9/11. He is also the guy who was so offended by the marble statues at the Department of Justice that he had them draped to hide classical nude details.

    From a State Department-Blackwater love fest perspective, Inman is a slam-dunk. Inside Foggy Bottom, Inman is permanently associated with the up-armoring of embassies abroad through the 1985 “Inman Report,” a call to arms that resulted in the moated, blast-proof, unapproachable fortress embassies America promotes its image through today. The Report was also the catalyst for the establishment of the part of the State Department which titularly oversees the deployment of mercenaries, everyone’s favorite Bureau of Diplomatic Security, DS. Inman’s word is gospel to DS, so his appearance on the Academi Board is no accident.

    Small World

    Keeping the circle of life theme going, Academi’s CEO Ted Wright used to be president of mega-contractor KBR, the firm Dick Cheney worked for and the firm that made billions running the backstage logistics portion of the Iraq and Afghan crusades. One of Academi’s VPs worked for Queen Noor of Jordan, and has ties to the Bush dynasty. It is indeed a small world.

    More creepiness?

    Academi, on its “pro shop” web site, sells God’s Will T-shirts, pictured above. Just the thing for the budding merc crusader to wear while gunning down Muslims for profit. Jeez, and people wonder why we’re not winning.

    A Devil’s Bargain

    In the days since 9/11, State has undergone a fundamental shift, one that has required the organization to make a Devils’ Bargain with mercenaries like Academi. Prior to 9/11, State’s policy was generally to evacuate embassies in countries at war, reinserting diplomats when things quieted down to the point that diplomacy was again possible. This strategy worked well for some 220 years of American history.

    After 9/11, State felt compelled to out-macho the military, to prove its manliness in the testosterone-fueled Bush (and now Obama) years. This meant opening and/or keeping open embassies in the midst of shooting wars, originally just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now spread alongside America’s increasingly one-tune foreign policy of belligerence to places like South Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere in drone land. The US military, already stretched thin by endless war, has neither the forces nor the interest in guarding State’s pasty pseudo warriors, and so the Department of State is forced to turn to private armies, like Academi, mercenaries, to enable its macho posture abroad.

    I saw groups like Blackwater in action in Iraq, often alongside our own military. The mercs were what our military would be like without the NCO corps to enforce discipline, a frat house with guns, lots of guns. While State makes wordplay out of claiming to supervise its mercs, overpaid, ‘roided ‘dudes with guns named Smitty, J-Dub, Spider and the like take little notice when requested to follow the laws of war in protecting diplomats so far out of their environments. It is a situation that isn’t just likely to go wrong, it is one that practically demands to devolve into crisis.

    The solution is straightforward. State should understand and admit that it is neither equipped, trained nor needed for combat situations. State should take a step back from adventures that assure its role as negotiators, diplomats, public diplomacists and the like will be misunderstood at best, and refocus its resources away from spending billions on private armies. Until then, State is forced into bed with creepy organizations like Academi, and will suffer for it.

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  • Recent Comments

    • marc said...


      As far as advancing U.S. diplomatic interests around the world Blackwater has been a complete and unmitigated disaster. But as an example of an inside the beltway influence peddling business model it’s enormous financial success and durability in the face of scandals, horrible publicity and even crimes, would seem to make it an excellent choice for a Harvard Business School case study.

      06/14/12 4:49 PM | Comment Link

    • XrayMike79 said...


      Smokin’ blog post!!! Can I republish on my site with a link back?

      This whole Military–Industrial-Congressional complex has taken the saying of the ‘tail wagging the dog’ to a whole new and frightening level. Can the State say “BLOWBACK!”

      06/14/12 5:24 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Please do republish anything on my site, as long as you credit me and/or include a link back. Thanks!

      06/14/12 6:59 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      I think the late Chalmers Johnson would agree with everything you have posited. America is now the Death Star. I don’t think we can self correct but I hold to the fragile hope that we can reverse our monstrous course.

      06/14/12 11:08 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Is there a missing possessive apostrophe on the T shirt? If so will poor grammar be America’s downfall?

      06/14/12 11:14 PM | Comment Link

    • Disaster Capitalism and its Aftermath « Collapse of Industrial Civilization said...


      […] God’s Will: Academi and Mercs at State  […]

      06/15/12 8:15 AM | Comment Link

    • Hogmanay said...


      You are a very uneducated idiot to believe this crap. I get tired of the word mercenary being tagged onto the job these guys do. First off you obviously don’t have the smallest clue what contractors are used for and the mission the support, which by the way is vital to American diplomacy abroad. These guys are by far some of the best professionals I have ever worked with (over 20 years military service to my country) and I get tired of hearing the stupid lies that get thrown around about these companies. If you had ever gotten off your butt and sacraficed and served in a combat theater for your country you would understand the necessity for their role in high threat environments and would understand just how liberal and stupid you are to write such BS. These guys do a great job and are very professional in every aspect. I praise them for the service they give to keep the wolf off your whinning door.

      02/2/13 12:26 PM | Comment Link

    • Freegrazer said...


      I get tired of self rightous pricks thinking they are the only “true American”. That’s to you Hog

      02/27/13 1:36 PM | Comment Link

    • realist said...


      Hogmanay, you are no more than a brainwashed government tool

      05/10/13 12:53 AM | Comment Link

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