Erik Prince and Ilk-Commit Original Civic Sin: Losing the Faith in Our Government--Giving Up on America
Blackwater's Entanglement in False Profits and Ungodly ideologies illustrates the growing mercenary menace to the sovereignty and future of our democracy.
"Everybody carries guns, just like Jeremiah (sic Nehemiah) rebuilding the temple in Israel—a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other.”
Erik Prince quote, Blackwater, Jeremy Scahill
"Private military corporations become a way [for government officials] to distance themselves and create what we used to call `plausible deniability.'"
Daniel Nelson, former professor at the U.S. Defense Department's Marshall European Center for Security Studies
Every historic delusion has its ideological basis
Erik Prince addresses a large audience in Holland, MI this morning explaining his ethnic Dutch religious and cultural heritage and his personal "values."
UPDATE: Read more... http://www.dailykos.com/...
Detailed Assessment below the fold...
"Religious terrorism arises from pain and loss and from impatience with a God who is slow to respond to our plight, who doesn’t answer.
Its converts often long for a simpler time, when right and wrong were clear and simple, when the neighborhood was small, when we knew one another. When the outside world, with its vulgar cosmopolitanism, didn’t humiliate us or threaten our children. When we did not envy those others or even know about them.
It is about finding a clear purpose in a confusing world with too many choices. It is about purifying the world. The way forward is clear: kill or be killed. Kill and be rewarded in heaven. Kill and the Messiah will come. It’s about seeing the world in black and white. About projecting all one’s fears and inadequacies on the Other..."
Jessica Stern, Terror in the Name of God
Blackwater’s Erik Prince’s main religious and ideological mentors have seriously lost faith in the goodness and virtue of the people of America.
Blackwater sees itself as a superior and more effective fighting machine than the United States military, more capable of intelligence gathering and analysis than government agencies. Prince sees himself accountable directly to God, not Congress or the Constitution. Through the eyes of his mentors' dogma, they together see the country on the road to perdition and ruin. They believe it is their God-given role—sacred mission--to reverse this slide in any manner available to them.
Blackwater’s mind-set and mission would have the little impact beyond that of the scattered and amorphous citizen militia groups were it not for the money and political influence of Erik’s extended family and their billions.
The fact that immense personal wealth and Prince’s multiple connections to ideological and political groups and individuals has allowed Erik to tap the black funding sources of the Pentagon and the U S Treasury in a manner unprecedented for a private mercenary force commander.
In Blackwater’s leadership and sponsor’s strong conviction the final authority they would apply to affairs of government is not the constitution, but the law of God. Therein lies a grave danger. This is a dangerous and subversive enthusiasm, if not fanaticism, and leaves whoever is ascribed control of that religious authority (acceptable to them of course) as the final arbitrator of God’s intentions and will. God’s vicars are often a group of men or institutions of men—through whom the devout affirm they directly hear God’s voice.
We must thus pay very close and detailed attention to those we know have had, and do have, influence on the youthful Erik Prince.
Richard Neuhaus, was a conservative Lutheran who converted to orthodox Catholicism, has become a public morals and social scold. His publication, the journal First Things at one point openly questioned "whether we (Americans) have reached the point were conscientious citizens can no longer give moral assent to the existing regime (Neuhaus’ term for the Clinton presidency.) --Scahill
Neuhaus built, up over time, a strong condemnation of the country and in a published series of essays appearing in First Things
"[E]vents in America may have reached the point where the only political action believers can take is some kind of direct, extra-political confrontation of the judicially controlled régime" to which Colson expanded with a "showdown between church and state may be inevitable. This is not something for which Christians should hope. But it is something for which they need to prepare."Colson followed that statement with:
"[A] ‘social contract’ that include biblical believers and Enlightenment rationalists was the basis of the founding of the United States...if the terms of our contract have in fact been broken, Christian citizens may be compelled to force the government to return to its original understanding...The writings of Thomas Jefferson, who spoke openly of the necessity of revolution, could also be called on for support."
The cagey Colson, convicted political crimes felon, former ardent underminer of the federal electoral process and a serious criminal Watergate conspirator, doesn’t come out calling for an open rebellion, but undeniably holds forth a future contingency where his option for such could be the way to go.
Colson, being an alarmist within his own rationale stated, with fear and trembling, I have begun to believe that, however Christians in America gather to reach their consensus, we are fast approaching this point (the threshold of open rebellion)."
This Colson is the very man for whom Amway’s Richard DeVos Sr., Erik’s sister Betsy’s father-in-law, endowed a Colson Chair at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, in order to honor, foster, and promote Colson’s brand of aggressive evangelicalism through that evangelical institution.
When the conservatives need an apologist, Christianity Today inevitably rolls out this useful felon, Colson, as they did to whitewash the shocking political insurrection of many of Calvin College’s faculty and students in opposition to George W. Bush at the time he appeared in Grand Rapids, MI, May 2004--using Calvin’s commencement to air a policy statement to what Karl Rove had pledged would for Bush be a warm, receptive and pliable audience—a well-fit event to be featured on the national evening news –a coveted media campaign moment. As it turned out, the Christian college’s strong opposition caused Bush to ditch any attempt to make media moment-- a key statement--on national policy as he intended, so instead he made an milquetoast speech and hurriedly left flanked by hundreds of Christian protestors. To smooth the way, Colson is regular the go-to guy when the evangelical press needs political spin.
First Things conjectured in it’s pronoucement on the moral state of affairs in America:
"This symposium asks whether we may be deceiving ourselves and, if we are, what are the implications of that self-deception. By the word ‘regime’ we mean the actual, existing system of government. The question that is the title of this symposium is in no way hyperbolic. The subject before us is the end of Democracy," the journal when on, "The government of the United States no longer governs by the consent of the governed...What is happening now is the displacement of a constitutional order by a regime that does not have, will not obtain, and cannot command the consent of the people."
This series of articles appeared during the very timeframe Blackwater [was organized as a training camp for law enforcement, security and military personnel] and provoked a firestorm of criticism and discussion among other Christians who did not share the harsh assessments of Colson, Bork, Neuhaus, and company. To the rescue and support of Neuhaus and a colleague came, close Prince family friend, mentor and beneficiary of Eagar Prince’s monetary support and largesse, James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family. This hectoring radical right celebrity added his blessing imprint upon this First Things series of essays concerning the national state of affairs stating:
"My deepest gratitude to the editors of First Things for facilitating what history may reveal to be their most important symposium. The moral legitimacy of our current government and the responsibility of the Christian towards it are questions of tremendous moment...I wonder—do we have the courage to act upon the conclusions we may reach in these deliberations?" Dobson when on to heighten his support by asserting that these essays "laid an indisputable case for the illegitimacy of the regime now passing itself off a democracy."To this Dobson added,
"I stand in a long tradition of Christians who believe that rulers may forfeit their divine mandate when they systematically contravene the divine moral law...We may be rapidly approaching the sort of Rubicon that our spiritual forebears faced, Choose Caesar or God. I take no pleasure in this prospect; I pray against it. But it is worth noting that such times have historically been rejuvenating for the faith."This group, including the moralizing mercenary commandant, Erik Prince, is set up in a manner all too common of all (Christian or Muslim believers) who reach such a point of spiritual exasperation:
--As reported by Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater
"...[T]hese grievances often mask a deeper kind of angst and a deeper kind of fear. Fear of a godless universe, of chaos, of loose rules, and of loneliness—fears that we all have to one degree or another. The religious extremists’ angst is familiar, as is their fear. What surprised me most was my discovery that the slogans sometimes mask not only the fear and humiliation, but also greed—greed for political power, land or money. Often slogans seem to mask wounded masculinity. (It’s)...about those deeper feelings—the alienation, the humiliation, and the greed that fuel terrorism. And it is about how leaders deliberately intensify those feelings to ignite holy wars."Erik Prince has been in the thick of this right wing effort to unite conservative Catholics, evangelicals, and neoconservatives in a common theoconservative holy war—with Blackwater serving as a sort of armed wing of the movement.
-- Jessica Stern, Terror in the Name of God
AS Prince himself once envisioned the role of his mercenaries:
‘Everyone carries guns, just like Jeremiah (sic Nehemiah)One occasion Chuck Colson pitched his view of the theoconservative program at Calvin College, having Erik Prince present with him. At that presentation Colson strongly advocated for unity between conservative Catholics and Protestants as a step in the achievement of his intended goals.
rebuilding the temple in Israel—a sword in one hand and
a trowel in the other.’"
Damon Linker, who worked for John Neuhaus long term, said of the Neuhaus group, Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian mission in the third millennium, which included Prince and Colson:
[T]hey "had not only forged a(n) historic theological and political alliance. They had also provided a vision of America’s religious and political future. It would be a religious future in which upholding theological orthodoxy and moral traditionalism overrode doctrinal disagreements. And it would be a political future in which the most orthodox and traditionalist Christians set public tone and policy for the nation."Erik Prince and his mercenary leadership cohorts, as well as mentors like Chuck Colson, James Dobson, Gary Bauer, and John Neuhaus, all have lost faith in America In this dangerous mindset they are willing, as wounded/besieged warriors (as they see themselves), to take aggressive and even violent steps to purify the country. In their process death and killing will inevitably occur.
Erik Prince and his expanded family, the Prince/DeVos alliance, have given strong support to a radical religious movement know has Dominionism:
(S)ociologist and scholar Sara Diamond wrote extensively on the rise of right wing groups in the country providing readers with a wealth of information based on her firsthand research. In her seminal 1995 book, Roads to Dominion, she traced the various movements over the past 50 years identifying four types she discovered:
1. The anti-communist conservative movement that in the 1970s included moral traditionalism of the emerging Christian Right
2. The racist Right including the KKK and other segregationist groups and later the paramilitary white supremacist movement
3. The Christian Right-with its evangelical roots
4. Neoconservatives with roots in the Cold War and Democrat party later finding a new home in the Republican Party under Ronald Reagan
Diamond explained these movements involved scores of organizations, not monolithic in beliefs, who nonetheless share a common set of policy preferences that unite them listing three core areas - the economy, the "nation-state in global context (military and diplomatic)," and moral norms relating to race and gender.
The movements are also unified in their advocacy of free-market capitalism, anti-communism (now anything left of center), US worldwide military hegemony, traditional morality, superiority of native-born white male Christian Americans, and the traditional nuclear family.
In addition, Diamond lists what she calls the "three pillars of the US Right" calling them "tendencies, not absolutes":
* anti-communist militarism
In her book, Diamond included a detailed history of the Christian Right explaining how it came to be the largest, most influential movement on the far right dominating policy-making in Republican-led governments and especially the one not yet in power under George W. Bush. She explained it all in over 300 fact-crammed pages and another 100 pages of notes and references.
Who is better prepared to confront the unruly and ungodly government than Erick Prince:
• an ardent arch-conservative converted Catholic and benefactor of right wing causes and candidates
• romantic and archetypical maven of military might, leader of soldiers of fortune
• devotee of medieval archetypal mythology having to do with the Holy Crusades and knighthood
• an indoctrinated Hillsdale College graduate who was pliable and malleable in the hands of hard right ideologues where he sought to excel following his father’s doctrine
• champion of moral purity
• aficionado of stealthily covert actions, very well-connected politically
• influential politically well-connected and surrounded by ex-administration types, former Department of Defense high-ups, and former high ranking CIA/Special Ops figures-with hard-core philosophy and an assortment of others/extreme ideologues
• eager player, very rich, pliable to certain military and "darkside" technicians and heavy hitters
• caught up in the treachery of those he has hired out of government, especially the clandestine and espionage fields, as well as DoD—Prince may be a willing or duped pawn of darkside forces