Friday, September 28, 2007

Blackwater Hotheads Make Decisions in Iraq

This morning the New York Times gives a capsule version of the Blackwater, USA debacle in Iraq of September 16th. The NYT says, “Participants in the Sept. 16 security operation have been ordered not to speak about the episode. But word of the disagreement on the street has slowly made its way through the community of private security contractors...These new details of the episode on Sept. 16, in which at least eight Iraqis were killed, including a woman and an infant, were provided by an American official who was briefed on the American investigation by someone who helped conduct it, and by Americans who had spoken directly with two guards involved in the episode. Their accounts were broadly consistent.” 1) Blackwater USA mercenaries who guard American diplomats in Iraq heard an explosion and decided to evacuate the diplomats from a secure compound north of Baghdad where they were meeting and conduct them to the “Green Zone” in Baghdad. American officials can’t understand why the diplomats were evacuated rather than locking down the secure compound. The evacuation began at 11:50 AM. 2) By noon, the convoy had reached Nisour Square. Some of the Blackwater guards got out of their vehicles and took positions in the street to stop all traffic coming from the south and west. The NYT reported, “At least one guard began to fire in the direction of a car, killing its driver. A traffic policeman said he walked toward the car, but more shots were fired, killing a woman holding an infant sitting in the passenger seat.” The NYT said the Blackwater guards believed they were being fired on. An Iraqi investigation concluded that the convoy was not being fired on. But some Iraqi witnesses said the convoy might have been fired on “by commandos in nearby guard towers”. 3) After killing the family in the car, Blackwater guards fired a grenade into the car setting it on fire. 4) One or more Blackwater guards called for a cease-fire. Blackwater guards started arguing with each other about the cease-fire order. One Blackwater guard pointed his gun at another Blackwater guard. 5) This episode occurred on Sunday, September 16. By Wednesday, September 19, American investigators still had not responded to multiple requests for information by Iraqi officials investigating the incident. And now, these Blackwater thugs who draw down on each other because they are badly-trained, self-aggrandizing hoodlums who endanger the lives of our troops, our diplomats and who kill anything that moves in Iraq including women and babies, are being defended with a mammoth PR blitz by the Bush administration and its flack, General Petraeus. All the arguments for the US staying in Iraq, which may or may not make logical sense, are quickly becoming irrelevant. The US troops need to leave Iraq because no one in the Bush administration, the Department of Defense or the Pentagon has the slightest idea what they are doing. And they have no plans for an intelligent occupation of Iraq in the future. We simply need to cut our losses, get out and let the Iraqis sort out the mess the United States has made.

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