Blackwater Worldwide, the self-described “military company” at the center of much criticism, scandal, and attack, is doing a wonderful job proving John Edwards’ point about Washington’s culture of corruption.
In Edwards’ speech on Monday in New Hampshire, he said:
It’s time to tell the truth. And the truth is the system in Washington is corrupt. It is rigged by the powerful special interests to benefit they very few at the expense of the many. And as a result, the American people have lost faith in our broken system in Washington, and believe it no longer works for ordinary Americans. They’re right.
Is he right? Wrong? Nuts? Bold? Pandering? Prophetic? What?
Cut to today’s story in the New York Times on Blackwater.
Blackwater Worldwide, its reputation in tatters and its lucrative government contracts in jeopardy, is mounting an aggressive legal, political and public relations counterstrike.
It has hired a bipartisan stable of big-name Washington lawyers, lobbyists and press advisers, including the public relations powerhouse Burson-Marsteller, which was brought in briefly, but at a critical moment, to help Blackwater’s chairman, Erik D. Prince, prepare for his first Congressional hearing.
The article then goes on to document how former officials from the Bush and Clinton administrations, some of Jack Abramoff’s former associates, former senior Hill aides, and others are all being paid very large sums of money by this very, very wealthy company.
While this is clearly legal and it is clearly within their rights to mount a vigorous defense, there is something tawdry about this as well. There is something that just reeks about this wealth-trading insider game.
I have no idea what can be done about it – if anything. But something has to change here because this is really, really gross.