Thursday, January 29, 2009

Iraqi Government Boots Blackwater: Another 'Mission Accomplished'

Blackwater Security is back in the news: and the killings in Baghdad's Nisoor Square aren't forgotten.

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 Trial

The 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 Justice
A 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 Firm

Blackwater 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 Generations

Iraq'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?" Never
What 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.

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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.