Katrina - that harbinger of what a future urban America in crisis will look like - saw hundreds of thugs from Blackwater and other mercenary outfits patrolling the streets of New Orleans - as if they were the legitimate authorities.
The day may not be far off when the New Orleans nightmare becomes a national reality. The specter of mercenary occupation of American cities is no longer farfetched - it has already happened. The logic of permanent domestic mercenary deployment is rooted in the historical fact that the rich created the modern state to protect their wealth, and to harness the nation as a whole to produce more wealth for their benefit. Mercenary armies and police forces put the lie to the pretense that the state serves to protect the general population. As the current corrupt order decays, the rulers find that due process and other niceties of law - including armies operating under codes of military justice and civil service police forces - restrict their freedom of movement. The process of dispensing with the traditional coercive organs of the state in favor of private mercenaries is well advanced in the United States, where the privatization of prisons of all kinds is in full swing.
These are conscious, methodical decisions by the nation's corporate rulers, rather than emergency measures. At some point, the privatization of coercive power becomes irreversible, as seems to have already occurred in the U.S. military.