Friday, January 30, 2009
If you haven't heard by now about Blackwater Worldwide; a private security company that trains and provides "for-profit contractors" or mercenaries to paying clientele, then this will be a good news bad news situation.
The good news is that the State Department has decided to let the contract with Blackwater Worldwide for "security contractors" in Iraq to expire.
This comes with a new administration and a refusal of renewal by the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government refused to renew the contract based on a September 2007 incident in which 6 Blackwater Security Guards allegedly gunned down 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians.
Five former Blackwater security guards pleaded not guilty to charges of vouluntary manslaughter and other serious charges, stemming from the shootings in a Baghdad square.
The sixth former Blackwater security guard has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
Blackwater says its employees were returning fire after they were attacked by armed insurgents, but an Iraqi investigation concluded that the guards randomly fired at civilians without provocation.
On second thought, its all bad news but the really bad news is that Blackwater Worldwide is a "army for hire" or "mercenaries". Where the issue garnered my interest was when I found through on-line research that this private "security" force was not subject to the United States rules of engagement.
This was accompanied with a few YoutTube videos that were quite revealing as to Blackwater Worldwide and their prominent Republican ties.
A few videos showed footage of Blackwater security guards shooting at civilians and using racial epithets.
Imagine my shock when I found out that Blackwater Worldwide was also awarded a security contract by FEMA of $73 million to police New Orleans after Katrina. National Guard?
The concept of an "army for hire" is obsurd and undermines the strength and dignity of the United States Armed Forces.
Blackwater reported a 600% growth from 2001 to 2005; virtually unheard of, unless a government pumps public military funds into your company.
In this time period Blackwater grossed nearly $300 million in security contracting.
This is taxpayer money for the United States Armed Forces used for private contracting.
Where do we live? I have to ask.
There is a great article on RollingStone.com titled "The Great Iraq Swindle: How Bush Allowed an Army of For-Profit Contractors to Invade th U.S. Treasury."