War on Iraq

Blackwater Changes Its Name, Shall Now Be Called the Knights Who Say 'Xe'

Perhaps Erik Prince and his men have been watching Monty Python.

In Monty Python And The Holy Grail, the Knights Who Say "Ni" are a bizarre band of forest-dwelling pirates, headed by a 12-foot-tall leader with antlers on his helmet. The Knights are charged with protecting a series of sacred words (including the word "Ni"), which, if heard by mortal ears, cause horrible pain and suffering. "Those who hear them seldom live to tell the tale!" King Arthur tells his companions when he and his entourage encounter the Knights in the forest. The King and his men cower at the very mention of the word, "Ni" before the Knights demand a sacrifice in return for safe passage: a shrubbery. King Arthur bows in respect. "O Knights of Ni, you are just and fair and we will return with a shrubbery." But when they do, the Knights are intent on extorting King Arthur and his men. Their leader informs the King that they are no longer the Knights Who Say "Ni." Now they are the Knights Who Say, "Ekke Ekke Ekke Ekke Ptang Zoo Boing..." Thus, the King must now pass a new test: bring them another shrubbery and, while he's at it, "cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring." The King refuses this clear attempt at extortion.

Meanwhile, this just in:

Today, that merry band of Knights from Blackwater Worldwide -- infamous for the killing of innocent civilians in Iraq -- having failed to have their lucrative Iraq contract renewed, have announced that they shall no longer be called "Blackwater Worldwide." They shall now be called, "The Knights Who Say 'Xe.'" Well, actually, the company will just be called "Xe," pronounced "Z." (No word yet on whether Blackwater chief Erik Prince will be donning an antler helmet.)

Jeremy Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.
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