(I know Blackwater is “Xi” now)
News reports today highlighted the withdrawal of America’s last combat brigade from Iraq, although nearly 50K troops will remain in “non-combat” roles until 2011. The name of the operation has also been changed from “Iraqi Freedom” to “New Dawn” , as if the garnish of a new title would make the situation any less volatile, the country any less fragile. Close your eyes and call it something else… we’ll see how that global strategy works. A news footnote mentions that the size of private security forces will be doubled. (Won’t be near enough)
For more on that precarious decision, I suggest Peter Singer’s “Corporate Warriors” or Robert Pelton’s “Licensed to Kill”. Or read Ralph Peter’s articles in his recent compilation “Endless War”.
Back to the fiction…
Set in the near future, “Running Black” centers on a small team of former soldiers, an indentured corporate hacker, and illegal combat clones who’ve formed a “private security” outfit doing dirty work for tomorrow’s massive financial entities. Think it’s far-fetched? Think again. Private security is a rapidly growing, multi-billion dollar industry, and with politics, budget cuts, the constant need to maintain strategic interests, the opportunities are only going to increase. As global markets expand, corporations are going to need real security in the face of terrorists, pirates, and constant internecine war in Africa, Asia, and the ME as they compete for consumers and resources.
The bottom rung, sketchy transactions of a shadowy outfit like Eshu International are more a matter of time than plausibility. Nations and corporations will always need dirty work done and there will always be people willing to do it for cold cash. Like Jace says in the novel, they’re ‘deniable, deletable, and disposable.’ The perfect tool for ruthless pragmatism.