Thursday, October 4, 2007

Blackwater Employees and Dead Iraqis: Let Foreigners Try Americans?!

Many Iraqis died a few weeks ago when employees of Blackwater security shot up a street that had people on it. In downtown Baghdad. With dozens of witnesses.

Iraqis are upset about this: understandably, since there have been other incidents.

People running the Iraqi government's probe into the incident have made a report. They say that the Blackwater security employees should face trial in Iraqi courts, and that Blackwater should compensate victims. Or, I presume, their surviving kin.

After Aruba revived Marx Brothers-style comedy in their investigation of Natalee Holloway's disappearance, and the way Portuguese authorities are making a hash of Madeleine McCann's disappearance (I've lost track of who they're accusing, and why), this is going to sound odd.

I think the trial of the Blackwater security guards should take place in Iraq, with an Iraqi court.

I also think that the Blackwater employees better get good lawyers, and that a relatively impartial set of observers be on hand to verify fair play: or lack of it.

First, taking the Blackwater employees back to America for trial sounds like a good idea, until you look at what could happen.

Having a court find them not guilty due to improper toilet training, pre-traumatic shock, or some other of the weird excuses defense lawyers and judges seem to love, will not go over well in Iraq, or anywhere else.

Or, imagine the reaction if a court found them guilty of aggravated assault, or whatever, sentenced them to five years, and reduced the sentence to 90 days. This sort of thing has happened in American courts. Those courtroom videos of victims' families going berserk after a defendant got off with a light sentence will look like a Sunday ice cream social, compared with how Iraqis are likely to express their displeasure.

Second, these killings, justified or not, were of Iraqis in Iraqi territory: in Baghdad, in fact.

How would Americans be likely to react, if a foreign security service shot of a street-full of Americans in Washington D.C.?

For all its faults, the people running the Iraqi government seem to have no more chauvinists and charlatans than the American government.

I say that Iraq is a sovereign country. Let them do their job.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.