No Justice

We can walk into their country and blow innocent civilians’ brains out and walk away free as a bird. What’s happened to America?

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 22 Comments

If the Justice Dept made the effort, they could probably get a federal judge to strip this “immunity” .

October 31, 2007 @ 12:15 am | Comment

Sounds like you’re assuming the Blackwater folks are guilty (as they may be, but I’m sure you don’t have enough information to judge), that the Iraqis killed are innocent (and no doubt some were), and pitching the Fifth Amendment to the trash bin.

October 31, 2007 @ 12:42 am | Comment

Add mercenaries/privateers to the list of things I don’t like.

Read interviews with US soldiers about how these thugs behave and the repercussions. The Blackwater, Triple Canopy and others are there to protect diplomats AND touring executives as the vanguards for corporate domination.

US troops often get villages and small cities calmed down and have built up good relations until these guys show up and plow their vehicles through markets, knock around locals and create a very bad situation for the US troops, who must deal with the repercussions after the thugs and their prima dona packages have left.

October 31, 2007 @ 1:32 am | Comment

Sounds like you’re assuming the Blackwater folks are guilty (as they may be, but I’m sure you don’t have enough information to judge), that the Iraqis killed are innocent (and no doubt some were), and pitching the Fifth Amendment to the trash bin.

Actually we have video of them opening fire without been fired on (I think was aired on one of the national news). I don’t see what other proof you need.

October 31, 2007 @ 1:56 am | Comment

I’m pretty sure that Iraqi Christian woman driving a taxi to support her kids was innocent.

October 31, 2007 @ 3:00 am | Comment

Richard, you’re making it sound like these guys were deliberately killing innocent people. If they had a “friend or foe” identification device for human beings this wouldn’t happen.

I’m not sure if these people would have worked out there without immunity deals. You can say they shouldn’t have it or indeed shouldn’t be there anyway, but if they hadn’t been around it would have required more American troops to be stationed in Iraq providing security.

The Iraqi government has introduced a bill to remove the immunity deal. If this is passed then I’m sure the companies will pull out/see most of their employees refuse to work there.

October 31, 2007 @ 3:50 am | Comment

Raj, in one incident, the triggerman was drunk. And in general, they do not follow US Military rules of engagement.

I could go on at great length about this but I’m at work. There are tons of articles detailing the kinds of excesses committed by guns for hire like Blackwater. Have a look. I’m pretty sure you’ll be appalled.

October 31, 2007 @ 4:29 am | Comment

And it’s not only Blackwater.

October 31, 2007 @ 7:46 am | Comment

“I’m pretty sure you’ll be appalled.”

I know all about cases you’ve described. But Richard talked about “we” and “America”, not individuals.

I’m objecting to the way all such personnel are being tarred with the same brush, not that criticism is being made at all.

October 31, 2007 @ 8:25 am | Comment

Well, I don’t know about “we” and “america” but Blackwater has been implicated in so many questionable incidents (and that’s putting it mildly) that I’m happy to label it BadBadBlackwater.

Sorry. I had to.

October 31, 2007 @ 8:32 am | Comment

It is we and it is America. It is Bush. With everything stamped top secret and all sort of deals cut under the table with cronies like Blackwaters CEO, a Dobsonite, and zero accountability, such scandals are now symptomatic of Bush’s America, a country from which I feel increasingly estranged. In my lifetime, this is unprecedented. It is an American disease, a cancer than needs to be excised, and luckily the people of America seem to know it. Truth has been replaced by truthiness, substance with soundbites and the real picture obscured by Mission Acomplished banners. This is Bush. This is what he has done. War is made pretty by banning pohtos of soldiers’ coffins. Deals aremade to protect murderers. Innocent people are tortured and held incommunicado for years with no charges against them. Bush is responsible. He and the people he appointed made it this way. Enjoy it.

October 31, 2007 @ 10:39 am | Comment

@Richard:

Looking back at history, this model started with the Dutch East India company (and I’m pretty sure there are Chinese equivalents). Private businesses move into an area and grease the local powers into cooperation, slowly gaining control over an area. And to back them up are either national troops, or when that becomes unaccepetable, mercenaries.

In the West, we had the Dutch East India Company, then the British model which really laid the foundation for what the US is doing now. Unfortunately, corporations now have outgrown their home countries, so you have to wonder who is in charge and where the national interests end and the corporate ones begin.

With Blackwater being so big, wealthy and powerful provides corporations with a semi-independent, global force that is not tied to the US military except through recruitment.

I could eventually see Blackwater moving to a very small, poor country for a global HQ and main base of operations so that they are beyond US law and can openly serve their “clients”.
Especially since the DOJ and Congress are building momentum to sweep aside the State Dept’s false “immunity”.

October 31, 2007 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

I know all about cases you’ve described. But Richard talked about “we” and “America”, not individuals.
Posted by: Raj at October 31, 2007 08:25 AM

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s just a few bad apples. The fact that they are under contract by the US State Dept and provided extraordinary rules of engagement that allow for “accidental killings” and provided immunity by the same US State Dept for those killings doesn’t mean that the US government is involved. It’s just a few bad apples.

But Richard, if you want real bizarro, go catch up on the Sadly, Hoes. http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/7676.html

:::In case you do not read Little Green Footballs, the blog is pro-Muslim, left-wing, politically correct, and basically a front for neoconservative foreign policy (instead of defending their culture, they want to build schools in the Anbar province). They are basically a puppet of the multiculturalists and believe that Islam is not the enemy of Western civilization and Christendom.:::

I fell out of my chair laughing at this claim by a college conservative to the right of LGF.

October 31, 2007 @ 12:21 pm | Comment

I love it: $1,000/month G.I. is f**ked, with his life ruined by a court martial and dishonorable discharge for smacking a Haji in the face during a house search and a $1,000/day mercenary gets off scot free for wiping out a dozen people with a SAW. There’s “uniform code of military justice” for you.

What’s the point of grunts “looking out for their own” when once they’re back at base camp they’ll be stabbed in the back by their careerist C.O.s and Washington politicians that evaded the draft back in the ’60s??

October 31, 2007 @ 1:22 pm | Comment

Markos of Daily Kos’ ugliest moment was when he said “Screw them” in regard to the mercenaries murdered and burned in Najaf (Fallujah?). But his point was a fair one: these guys get paid obscene salaries to do the same work as our soldiers, without the benefits and the support (modern equipment, armor plating, immunity from prosecution, unaccountability, etc.). I wish Markos had not said it the way he did, but the point he was making is rock-solid.

October 31, 2007 @ 3:16 pm | Comment

@Richard;

The mercs do alot less work than our soldiers do. The military must also act as street level diplomats, police, engineers and intermediaries. The mercs just smash their way through everything without speaking to a single local to get their precious executive cargo where it needs to go.

October 31, 2007 @ 3:51 pm | Comment

And the mercs get paid, what, three times what the soldiers get?

The wonders of outsourcing.

October 31, 2007 @ 4:42 pm | Comment

Arty,

Post a link to the video. Does it start well before B.W. folks start shooting? Does it explain the bullet holes in their trucks? Does it give a view that proves there was no one shooting at them?

October 31, 2007 @ 10:27 pm | Comment

We had a war vet name was Ike
who warned about a future fight
when putting bets on guns and butter
morphs into the treasury’s udder
lets end the draft while we’re at it

Persia today has guns for hire
cause united snakes had lost the fire
to kill and maim old commie threats
with tales of bible thumping vets
tossing NVA outta chopper’s in Nam

The playing card were fewer then
and richard cheney worked his friends
the schlumberger and haliburtons
lets not forget those arabs behind the curtain
and of course an occasional wyoming mayor

That stink now sticks to Uncle Sam
and every american man
who insists Iraqi robbery is just
or plays a role to keep that lie alive
You are a Muderer of Women and Children, America.

November 1, 2007 @ 1:16 am | Comment

Post a link to the video. Does it start well before B.W. folks start shooting? Does it explain the bullet holes in their trucks? Does it give a view that proves there was no one shooting at them?

Type blackwater video in google. You will see the news link. There is a video showing a contractor shooting at a truck for no reason but some of the replies said that it is not blackwater contractor (but it is still a contractor)…also you will find msnbc link for the story.

November 1, 2007 @ 2:06 am | Comment

The head of Blackwater is also a rightwing born again Christian, a type which personally make me nervous.

Google blackwater and new orleans too.

These guys own tanks and planes – they are a private army.

November 1, 2007 @ 3:00 am | Comment

The US Secretaries of Defense and State sat down and agreed Blackwater would fall under the control of the US military.

November 1, 2007 @ 2:50 pm | Comment

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