Friday, January 01, 2010

The Blackwater Travesty Lives On

A New York Times headline this morning: “Judge Drops Charges From Blackwater Deaths in Iraq”. And I’m not saying that Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of the Federal District Court in DC didn’t have good and proper reasons to drop the charges. Nor am I saying he was morally right. He may have had no choice. He wrote in a 90-page opinion that “the government’s mishandling of the case requires dismissal of the indictment against all the defendants.” What I’m saying is: these fuckups (aka mishandling) started when the Bush administration used a bunch of thugs from a camp of mercenaries trained at an outpost of religious fanatics in North Carolina because the Bush administration couldn’t get enough bonafide recruits to fight their bogus war in Iraq. And these fuckups have been so monumental that if there were a medal given for amoral behavior and bad decisions, medals would have to be presented to Blackwater’s Erik Prince/Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld/President George W. Bush. That’s all I’m saying. To recap this particular case and to quote from this morning’s article in the NYT, this ruling is about an incident in Iraq. “A shooting at Nisour Square (in Baghdad) frayed relations between the Iraqi government and the Bush administration and put a spotlight on the United States’ growing reliance on private security contractors in war zones. “Investigators concluded that the guards had indiscriminately fired on unarmed civilians in an unprovoked and unjustified assault near the crowded traffic circle on Sept. 16, 2007. The guards contended that they had been ambushed by insurgents and fired in self-defense. “A trial on manslaughter and firearm offenses was planned for February, and the preliminary proceedings had been closely watched in the United States and Iraq.” And now, because of what Judge Urbina has ruled as the government’s mishandling, he has dropped all charges. Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor who teaches criminal law at Columbia University, said it’s rare for a judge to issue such a long opinion at this early stage and since this opinion was based on factual findings not on interpretation, it would be hard to challenge on appeal. The religious zealot assholes at the North Carolina camp are overjoyed, of course. And please note, they have changed the name of their camp from Blackwater to “Xe Services”. The families of the people in Iraq who were murdered are furious. (Oh yeah...murdered! You bet! They were murdered!) Ali Khalaf, a traffic police officer who was on duty in Nisour Square when the Blackwater guards opened fire said, “There has been a cover-up since the very start. What can we say? They killed people. They probably gave a bribe to get released. This is their own American court system. “Some of the victims had been burned so badly, he said, that he and others had to use shovels to scoop their remains out of their vehicles. ‘I ask you, if this had happened to Americans, what would be the result? But these were Iraqis.’” Now that the whole world knows and recognizes the extent of the crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration, we would like to see Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld and the various Attorneys General rounded up and put in jail for the senseless war in Iraq, for the financial meltdown, for the arrogant corrupting of our justice system, for the trampling on the Constitution. But failing that, we would like to see the prosecution of someone or some group that symbolizes these wrongs. Such a symbol is Blackwater. Using Blackwater thugs as mercenaries fighting next to our brave soldiers and subverting our military system by their presence in Iraq and by their mindless violence, symbolizes all that was wrong about the war in Iraq, and all that was wrong in the Bush administration. And now, we won’t even get to see Blackwater, AKA XE Services brought to justice. Fah!

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