Monday, September 17, 2007

Ol' Blackwater keep on rollin'

Except this isn't the Doobie Brothers singing for the Mississippi to keep on shining.

So we had a recent troop surge, but not included in the hundreds of thousands of U.S. Armed Services we have over in the Middle East are private contractors. While some of these folks are harmless little hamsters like those lovable rogues in Halliburton, who stroll around in their WTO embossed jackets, others are big angry men who kick down doors and kill bad guys...but who aren't accountable to anyone.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry recently revoked Blackwater USA's license, which effectively negates the legality of them operating on Iraqi soil. Allegedly, a convoy of Blackwater escorted SUVs containing US State Dept was attached by a group of Sunnis, and the contractors and Sunnis engaged in a 20 minute gunfight, resulting in the deaths of 8 civilians and wounding 11 others.

You could say, 'that's what those Sunnis get for attacking 'Merkins', or 'that's not gonna be good for Blackwater USA stock', or 'that's a good sign that democracy is taking root and this action by the Iraqi government is a manifestation of a new independent state taking steps to protect itself', but what I would be saying if you happen to catch me in a pub with a wee draught of the good stuff is, 'damn. that's a sweet deal for the Blackwater guys...they get to travel the world and operate in secret and kill folks and not be accountable for their actions and get paid sweet sums of money and diamonds yanked from the teeth of rich Iraqi children!' What can I say, I'm a cynical drunk.

Haven't heard about any of this? It's all over the internets. Don't get me wrong, if I was a U.S. State Dept official in that convoy and I was attacked I'd want someone there to assist in getting my ass out of there in one piece, however, I think that task best be left to actual combat troops of the U.S. because they're better equipped to deal with these situations. In addition to the combat training U.S. soldiers are taught to understand the importance of winning hearts and minds, and killing civilians isn't generally a best practice measure in such an endeavor.

On the other hand, if you're in the State Dept and you're accompanied by Blackwater, or you're an 'insurgent', and you all have guns and bombs and you don't like each other and are fixin to spill some blood, how much does morality matter as long as your ass lives to fight another day?

What I mean is that in hiring mercenaries for certain jobs in Iraq:
1) it's a sign that the White House was planning to do some effed up isht, because it's on par with farming out torture to other countries, like our "sworn" enemy, Syria.
2) it doesn't make me feel good about my taxpayer dollars going to fund a such an organization because a) they are accountable to no one, and b) they tarnish the mental connection I have between the word 'blackwater' and The Doobie Brothers.

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