Blackwater: Reckless Shootings

Top American mercenary corporation Blackwater is in hot water over their self reported recklessness (Sue Pleming, Reuters):

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. security contractor Blackwater has been involved in at least 195 shooting incidents in Iraq since 2005 and, in eight of 10 cases, their forces fired first, a leading U.S. lawmaker said on Monday.

And who watches the for profit watchmen?

Committee chair Rep. Henry Waxman, a vocal critic of the Iraq war, released details from Blackwater’s own reports of multiple incidents involving Iraqi casualties. The memorandum also slammed the State Department’s oversight of the company.

Not the State Department. A Democratic Representative with backbone.

Blackwater, which has been paid a little over $1 billion by the U.S. government since 2001, declined to comment on Waxman’s memorandum.

The State Department commented in usual Bush administration fashion: through damning actions (emphasis mine):

“It appears that the State Department’s primary response was to ask Blackwater to make monetary payments to put the ‘matter behind us’ rather than to insist upon accountability or to investigate Blackwater personnel for potential criminal liability,” said the memorandum.

Wow that sounds sketchy. Apparently Iraqi lives are worth 15,000 when murdered by Blackwater employees:

The State Department’s charge d’affaires recommended Blackwater make a “sizeable payment” and an “apology.” Waxman noted the State Department’s diplomatic security said that was too much and eventually Blackwater agreed on a $15,000 payment.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey declined to comment on specifics listed by Waxman but said the department was “scrupulous” in its oversight of all contractors.

I wonder how much money our citizens are worth? (Naomi Wolf, via pecunium, Majikthise)

Does Blackwater’s reputation for careless violence against civilians in Iraq, protected by legal indemnification, matter to us? Scahill reports at least one private contractor’s accounts of other contractors’ abrupt shooting in the direction of American civilians in the wake of Katrina: ‘After that, all I heard was moaning and screaming, and the shooting stopped.’

Will any Blackwater employees be made to pay for their crimes? And will the US government continue paying these recklesly violent mercenaries for their services?

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4 Responses

  1. What would be the correct amount for Blackwater to pay to the families?

  2. To ask if Blackwater employees will be made to pay for their crimes when employed by the government, (who do not seek to punish their own employees beyond a pittance to placate the foaming-at-the-mouth morons within any given democracy) is to answer ones own question.

    Who will you take them or any other government employee to? A government court? HA!

    I suppose though this is a ingenious way of villainizing the free market and private defense (not that Blackwater is in any way private or ‘defensive’ to any extent). So I would imagine you are delighted that outrage over the actions of (superficially) indirect government employees (fascist model) has come about and not so much so the criminal actions of direct government employees (socialist model). Though the two are mere inches from one another and separated not by payroll but by terminology and possibly some small uniformed insignia

  3. yojoe,
    How about the 250,000 originally recommended by the state department? Or the 100,000 currently requests by the Iraqi government?

    How about just bringing that murderer to trial?

    Darrin,
    We need an international criminal court. But yes, there are enough principled people in our court systems that they can and should be put on trial here, at the very least, if not subjected to trial in the country they murder in.

    Criminal acts are criminal acts, and I despise them no matter where they crop up. On top of everything, the idea of employing mercenaries is offensive and dangerous to the health of our Republic.

    And the two are FAR more than “mere inches from one another”. US Troops are not recruited from the torturers and murderers from other countries. They are not paid the same inflated salaries. They do not operate in a legal vacuum. And above all, they have an honor that mercenaries will never even approach. Do not even begin to compare serving one’s country with killing people and billing one’s country.

  4. As private citizens we cannot wield deadly force in this manner. Try walking down a public street with automatic weapons with your buddies and see how far you get. How is it that a private security company can mimic military actions with impunity when private citizens are restricted from forming militias with the same clout (which is supposedly provided for in the constitution). I am pro right to bear arms but my government is against me. Something is awry.

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