That is all:
Late last month Blackwater Worldwide lost its billion-dollar contract to protect American diplomats here, but by next month many if not most of its private security guards will be back on the job in Iraq.
The same individuals will just be wearing new uniforms, working for Triple Canopy, the firm that won the State Department’s contract after Iraqi officials refused to renew Blackwater’s operating license, according to American diplomats, private security industry officials and Iraqi officials. Blackwater — viewed in Iraq as a symbol of American violence and impunity — lost the contract after being accused of excessive force in several instances, particularly an apparently unprovoked shooting in downtown Baghdad in 2007 in which 17 civilians were killed.
Despite the torrent of public criticism against Blackwater, American officials say they are relieved that the old guards will stay on. Otherwise, Triple Canopy, they say, would not be able to field enough qualified guards, with the proper security clearances, before the new contract goes into effect in May.
Seems like there’s some obscure sub department of the navy that’s charged with protecting embassies and diplomats, in the air, on land and sea. First to fight for right and freedom. And stuff.
I often ponder what was in that envelope left on Mr. O’s desk on inauguration day by 43 – the one that said 44 on the outside. There were jokes that it was in crayon, etc. I can’t help but wonder that it said something to the effect of ha ha ha, you’ve been punked – Cheney’s minions, Bob Gates and Goldman Sachs comes with the furniture, and it would be too bad if something happens to those cute little kids of yours.
WTF? It isn’t as if it hasn’t been abundantly clear for years that the Army and the Marine Corps need more numbers. How in the world is paying six figure salaries to civilian contractors plus the overhead of their firms a better solution than adding to our conventional forces?
You really should have titled this “Old Blackwater, keep on rolling”.
@Dennis-SGMM: Umm, because if we were paying six-figure salaries + overhead to our troops instead of private mercenary groups, certain legislators wouldn’t be able to get political contributions?
I never understood why private guards were necessary with the large military force on hand. Just seems a bit silly to me.
"I never understood why private guards were necessary with the large military force on hand. Just seems a bit silly to me."
Presumably the private guards are people who got a bunch of experience in the military and then left for the private sector.
There are lots of people in the military, but maybe not as many with the experience and skills that we would want, because those people have gone private sector.
We were never supposed to fight a war of conquest again, hence the air power and robots and shit. But then Bush put on his Napoleon hat and made the modern-day equivalent of invading Russia: sending a bunch of tanks and humvees into a restrictive urban environment where virtually every adult male has been issued high explosives.
So, apart from clapping loudly, the brilliant solution was to pay through the nose for an army of Tim McVeighs, forming our version of the Waffen-SS; the most brutal soldiers who made it publicly known that they feared no reprisal for atrocities. This is otherwise known as spreading freedom.
The alternative would have been to start a draft, but then people might not have been as happy.
Because you are a Commie.
We should ban, under threat of prison or losing one’s citizenship, American’s from taking up arms overseas. The one and only exception being US military or police services under the direct consent of the legislative branch.
The analogy is flawed because Napoleon lost and Bush won.
In other related news to Blackwater that was never mentioned here:
I would think that was important to include if you’re going to mention:
I would have gone with "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
Nice. So all those ex-SEALs and Recon Marines and Green Berets are all "McVeighs" and "Waffen SS." I’m not sure you’re getting enough oxygen up there in the rarified air at the top of your tower.
There are contractors in Iraq (and elsewhere) that abuse their license to handle firearms, and the demand for them outstripped the supply of qualified, ethical contractors. AT the same time, there are many ethical professionals who are good at their jobs.
In addition, it’s not necessarily "SSDD", as organizational culture is important to how employees behave. So unless you have a specific problem with Triple Canopy, I’d hesitate to assume.
BTW – caveat: I’ve been to Iraq and met security contractors I did not like, who were meatheads. I’ve also met pros.
That is a great point about organizational culture.
I watched "Iraq for Sale" and it seemed that plenty of regular army troops were pissed off that mercenaries making 20 or 30 times as much were taking their specialties.
CADI mercenaries tortured people. Blackwater mercenaries massacred people. Mercenaries are known to act in a rather cavalier manner, ramming cars and pointing their guns at random civilians, and our government maintains that they inhabit a legal gray area in which they can’t be prosecuted for anything. There doesn’t seem to be any benefit to their existence.
Except, of course, as you argue, that they’re more experienced and so they’ve "graduated" from the military to the paramilitary. This is a common arrangement in third-world dictatorships; the question of whether it should be emulated in the Land of the Free is open to the reader.
True, and of course. I also just read a first-person account of a combat-heavy tour in Ramadi in 2004 ("Joker one", highly recommended), where the author (USMC platoon leader) praised the contractors as pros and were grateful to have them.
I am unaware of this example, but taking it at face value, so did some American intel and military personnel at points during this war. That does not lead me to make the category error of comparing them, institutionally, as a class, to the Nazis.
Very possibly, though the investigation is ongoing. I read that ballistics were recently unable to match the bullets found in many of the dead with the Blackwater weapons, BTW. In addition, if/when one takes fire , people (US military, Iraqi police or otherwise) can terribly overreact w/o it being some sort of gleeful massacre. (tapes seem to indicate they thought they were under fire) But who knows. I’m not arguing that they aren’t culpable, btw, just pointing out some other factors.
Certainly happens with some of them. (see organizational culture above, also too much demand, too few qualified mercs)
It’s funny that you point out all of those negatives, and then wrap up with that conclusion which is kind of apart from the negatives. The fact is, they are/were needed DESPITE those negatives. For one very specific example: the US military does not have the manpower to fight an insurgency AND protect State Department employees while shuttling them around on the short timelines they need to move around on.
Another: the US military does not have the manpower to guard every supply convoy that moves from point A to point B. (yes, I would prefer they did, I’m just giving you the facts as they were)
As a class, I would not condemn all private security contractors as "Waffen SS," though a serious discussion about how they are best used and the rules that govern their behavior is warranted. This is my point.