• Book Reviews,  Private Military Companies

    A talk with the author of Haliburton’s Army

    “It’s about chocolate covered bunnies.” That’s how Pratap Chatterjee explained the his new book, Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War. In town for a book tour, we met Wednesday at my local Starbucks to catch-up, but mostly we talked about his book. I have to admit I haven’t read it, so I don’t know the details but our discussion about the core theme was so intriguing that while he was talking I started talking notes to post a kind of interview with the author.

  • Peacekeeping,  Private Military Companies

    Beyond Government Accountability: a challenging look at Peacekeepers

    My article in Serviam, the magazine dedicated to “Stability Solutions in a Dangerous World,” is now available.  I mentioned it before, but now you can read the whole thing.  It’s intended to be thought-provoking.  By the way, it was vetted and approved by an international lawyer and a consultant to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.  There will be more on the subject of the lack of accountability of peacekeepers by others.  In the immediate future, it sounds like you can catch more in the upcoming HBO movie The Greatest Silence (and listen to this NPR interview with the filmmaker). 

  • Private Military Companies

    Holding Contractors Accountable

    MountainRunner’s friend David Isenberg, writing for the UPI, strives to put some rational thought into the emotional knee-jerking in response to the Blackwater shooting on September 16th: Even though the commission investigating the alleged indiscriminate shooting by Blackwater employees over the weekend has only just been stood up, some voices are already rushing to judgment, condemning the contractors as cold-blooded “mercenaries.” All of this is entirely predictable, though not necessarily unwarranted. It goes to show that four years after private security contractors first started to assume a major role in Iraq, the way they operate is still poorly understood. Much of this is due to the industry itself. Companies, when…