People who may think that Code Pink has a centrist philosophy, feel that wars would end if America was nice, and opine about the "Right Wing Christian Dynasty," aren't likely to let Blackwater go. What Blackwater security's employees did was a wonderful propaganda tool for them: a concrete example of what they seem to fear more than the Taliban.
Blackwater Guards on TrialThe American judicial system hasn't forgotten, either. Guards involved in the 2007 Nisoor Square killings were charged earlier this month. "...Each of the former guards has been charged with 14 counts of manslaughter, 20 counts of attempted manslaughter and one count of using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime...." (CNN)
Manslaughter. That's "homicide without malice aforethought." (WordNet) I think I see the point. Apparently there isn't enough evidence to show that the nitwits planned to kill somebody. It's not emotionally satisfying, but it is still a serious charge.
I'm not as certain now, as I was in 2007, that the case should be tried by an Iraqi court. It still seems like a good idea: Iraq is a sovereign country, the offense was committed in Iraq, against Iraqi citizens. But, the India-Pakistan-Mumbai situation has given me more to think about, when it comes to international criminal cases, and I'm not even close to making up my mind.
I'm just glad that I'm not responsible for deciding where the case gets tried.
Strange JusticeA problem I have, when thinking about American courts, is that I started being aware of how the American judicial system works in the sixties. What I learned - from sources which often had a favorable view of American courts and their efforts to change society - about the weird decisions and views on social engineering from the bench appalled me. At best, I have reservations about the ability of an American court to stay glued to the space-time continuum.
Iraq to America: Find Another Security FirmBlackwater Worldwide seems to be definitely out of Iraq now. American diplomats will have to find another company to provide protection.
Iraq's Major Geneneral Abdul-Karim Khalaf spoke for the Interior Ministry: " 'We sent our decision to the U.S. Embassy last Friday,' Khalaf told The Associated Press in a phone interview. 'They have to find a new security company.' " (AP)
Sounds reasonable. Reputation is important, and Blackwater's reputation in Iraq isn't good at all. Even if Blackwater as a company was blameless in Nasoor Square killings (stay calm, keep reading), the Iraqi government would want Blackwater out: just as a matter of public relations. As it is, I can't help but think that something went horribly wrong in Blackwater hiring or management practices - maybe both.
And, Iraq isn't blacklisting all Blackwater employees. If someone worked for Blackwater and wasn't involved in what happened in Nasoor Square, they can apply for a job at another security company.
It's "Mission Accomplished" - and Will be for GenerationsIraq's a sovereign nation. It's government is negotiating with the American government, sorting out how the two countries will be handling diplomatic security - and whatever else needs to be dealt with .
There's still a lot of work to be done, catching up on three decades of neglect under Hussein's mis-management: and repairing what happens when a homicidal dictator won't give up, and religious crazies try purifying a country with swords and truck bombs. I think Iraq will be willing to let America help.
America's got a pretty good track record, that way: one reason that Anti-American demonstrators in Japan and Germany, for example, have the resources to express their opinion is what America did after WWII, to help the countries get back on their feet.
"Mission Accomplished?" NeverWhat some might see as the Iraqi government throwing its weight around is, I think, evidence that America - and the coalition - can claim "mission accomplished" for one phase of the War on Terror's Iraqi front. A brutal dictator is gone, and Iraq is going about the messy business of establishing what I hope and believe will be a prosperous, free, country.
There's much more to do, and I'll be surprised if America isn't involved in matters of trade, security, and diplomacy with Iraq for for generations. The way I see it, that's part of the 'mission' too: making it possible for Iraq and other countries to prosper.
Iraq won't be a "western democracy." Iraq isn't, except maybe from the Chinese point of view, a "western" country. But, I think that Iraq will be a country whose government and economy favors good sense, rather than terrorism.
Good enough for me.
- "Blackwater, U.S. State Department, FBI, and Iraq: Be Glad You're Not in Charge"
(October 30, 2007)
- "More Stupid Shooting in Iraq"
(October 19, 2007)
- "Fixing the Blackwater Mess: A Sign of American Strength"
(October 6, 2007)
- "Blackwater Employees and Dead Iraqis: Let Foreigners Try Americans?!"
(October 4, 2007)
- "Blackwater USA: Not the Ideal Goodwill Ambassadors"
(September 18, 2007)
- "Bad News from Iraq, with a Small Silver Lining"
(September 17, 2007)
- "Iraq won't allow Blackwater to operate in country"
The Associated Press (January 29, 2009)
- "Blackwater: Murder for Hire"
"Right Wing Christian Dynasty creates its own private army"
videos on brasschecktv.com (undated)
- "Blackwater defendants plead not guilty"
CNN (January 6, 2009)
- "Iraq killing headed for court"
The Seattle Times (January 6, 2009)
- "Blackwater guards face arraignment in Iraqi deaths"
Los Angeles Times (January 6, 2009 )
- "Blackwater plans shift from security business"
"Company says Iraq shootings made it poster child for those against war"
The Associated Press, via MSNBC (July. 21, 2008)