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Mitt Romney: Tabernacle Choirboy or Blackwater Mercenary

By Robert Weitzel

19 December, 2007

“Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”
Mike Huckabee

Mitt Romney, like his great-grandfather who had five wives, is a polygamist. His problem? The Mormon Church—as well as the United States government—outlawed polygamy for its “Saints” in 1890.

But Mitt has been married monogamously to Ann for 38 years. His problem? He is a political polygamist whose multiple marriages of convenience, and the ease with which he maneuvers between conjugal visits, should be as disturbing to the American electorate as a Utah harem.

Our problem? Mitt seems to be equally at home with “our nation’s symphony of faith” as he is with our nation’s largest mercenary army, Blackwater Worldwide, the Whore of Babylon.

On December 6, Romney delivered his “Faith in America” speech at George H.W. Bush’s Presidential Library. It was his John Kennedy moment. Like Kennedy, he wanted to assure the American people that “no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions.”

That done, he went on for another 30 paragraphs establishing his own saintly bona fides and schmoozing every major religious voting bloc in his “symphony of faith.”

But it was when he spoke of a compassionate responsibility for every child of God regardless of creed or race or nationality that he began using language only the Whore of Babylon could decode: “I am moved by the Lord's words, ‘I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink (waterboarding): I was a stranger, and ye took me in (extraordinary rendition, black sites and Guantanamo): naked, and ye clothed me (orange jumpsuits and hoods).’”

On a November 28 CNN/YouTube Republican debate, Romney assured John McCain, “I know what waterboarding is, Senator,” but then refused to call it by its real name, torture. He went on to say that anyone deemed a threat to the United States belongs at Guantanamo where they can “meet GIs and CIA interrogators.” It was his Heinrich Himmler moment.

Romney made a point of saying that on matters of interrogation and torture techniques he defers to his campaign’s counterterrorism czar, Cofer Black, consort to the Whore of Babylon.

Black, who Jeremy Scahill, author of the book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, calls “one of the biggest thugs to serve in US government,” was a 28 –year veteran of the CIA who escalated the extraordinary rendition (kidnapping, transportation and torture) program under President Clinton. He was head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, when he failed America and 3000 people died.

In a moment of 9/11bravado, Black promised President Bush that he would bring back bin Laden’s head in a cardboard box. And it was his fixation with cutting off heads and sticking them on pikes that endeared him to Bush’s inner circle. After making the promise, "When we're through with them they will have flies walking across their eyeballs," they nicknamed Black the flies-on-the-eyeballs guy.

In 2005, Cofer Black became the vice-chairman of Blackwater Worldwide, the largest mercenary army in the United States. He also heads their intelligence division known as Total Intelligence Solutions.

Blackwater received its first government contract worth $5 million in 2002 for operations in Afghanistan. Since then it has received an estimated $800 million in U.S. government contracts, many of these “black contracts” with no public oversight.

As of 2006, Blackwater counted over 2300 private soldiers in its ranks. It has an air force, a fleet of attack helicopters and armored personnel vehicles and is building a navy. Most importantly, it has the green light from the Bush administration to carry out its contracts in the “war on terror” with impunity.

Before sneaking out of Iraq in June 2004, America’s viceroy Paul Bremer issued Order 17, which granted immunity to Blackwater and other contractors for crimes committed against the Iraqi people . . . either swindle or murder. It is still the law of the land.

This September, Blackwater soldiers killed 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded 24 in an unprovoked firefight during a convoy mission. It was such an egregious crime against humanity that even the U.S. controlled government in Baghdad had the courage to call it murder. Under Order 17, Blackwater walks.

But September’s war crime is not Blackwater’s only black mark. According to Scahill in a December 24 Nation article, Blackwater is currently facing multiple Congressional investigations, a federal grand jury and allegations of illegal arms smuggling and “significant tax evasion,” to name a few.

Despite this, Blackwater was recently awarded a $92 million Pentagon contract to operate flights in Central Asia and is in line to receive part of a $15 billion contract in the war on drugs. Times are good in the private army business.

Keep in mind that Cofer Black, Romney’s personal advisor, is second in command of a private army in need of a public commander-in-chief. As Jeremy Scahill warns, “Blackwater appears to have its own presidential candidate [Romney] . . . one whose presidency could make the company's profitable business under Bush look like a church bake sale.”

But there is more at stake than unconscionable profits when the president of the United States has a private—publicly funded—army and intelligence service at his disposal.

Mike Huckabee almost got it right. There seems to be at least one Mormon who does believe that Jesus and the devil can be brothers.

Robert Weitzel is a freelance writer and contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Skeptic Magazine, Freethought Today, and on popular liberal websites. He can be contacted at:

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