Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Pretenders

Blackwater USA has been in the news (and this blog) a bit lately - and one question I've wondered is what does the military think of the mercenaries in their midst? Tom Rick's inbox in today's WaPo Outlook section has one answer to that.

Here's an excerpted list (not all of it was printable) from the Web site of retired Army Col. Patrick Lang, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst of Middle Eastern affairs:

Blackwater Fever -- The Symptoms

A common disease among international contractors working in Iraq, Afghanistan and various other 3rd world hellholes. Frequently attacks young men with only 1 war or enlistment under their belt, State Dept agents, . . . anyone associated with an Ambassadors detail and occasional poseurs. BKWF has many symptoms; if you have the following you may be infected:

Large amount of primping, i.e. mousse in your hair despite the fact you live in a war zone.

Your forearms break out in tattoos, often tribal or USMC related.

Have used, currently using or consider using steroids.

Grow a beard to blend in with the locals, even though you are a 6ft tall blonde with a "Death before Dishonor" tattoo.

Think the UN pool is a good place to pickup chicks.

Are arrogant and condescending to people with more experience, training and who make more money than you.

Truly believe you look good in a Speedo.

Despite the fact there are laundry facilities available, you insist on wearing a dirty brown T-shirt with your blood type in black magic marker to work.

You have excellent kit.

Believe by running locals off the road you are winning their "hearts & minds."

Despite earning a six figure income you wear a ragged ball cap that has not ever been washed.

Your 9 man PSD [protective security detail] team consists of 34 men, 6 armored SUVs, 2 Army Stryker vehicles, an MP company, 2 "little birds" and 2 AH-64 gunships. With an AC-130 on call!

The most dangerous thing you have ever done is: PSD!

Often email pictures of yourself in body armor, weapons and kit to all your friends, family and anybody that you have their email address.

Believe people really give a [expletive] about seeing multiple pictures of you in your body armor, weapons and kit.

You have been seen wearing a black boonie hat, black shirt, black pants, black boots, black body armor, black ammo pouches and a MP5 [submachine gun] in a desert environment when it's 110 degrees.

You refer to yourself as a "rock n' roll mercenary."


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