Monday, December 15, 2008

Comments from Comrade Karla #1

Today, the good comrade rolls-in on what is now called "The Blackwater Incident." Blackwater is a private security company (PSC), hired by governments or other private firms to provide protection for their personnel. For the past few years, Blackwater's primary theater of operations has been in Iraq.

On 16 September 2007, a Blackwater team escorting a diplomatic convoy was involved in a shoot-out at, or near, Nisoor Square in Baghdad.As soon as the last shots were fired, a political fire-storm was kindled and is now raging over this incident. The Blackwater employees involved in the shooting are facing prosecuting for indiscriminately firing upon civilians.BBC America has a decent recap of the incident and the current legal issues:

Meanwhile various Main-Stream Media (MSM) outlets have already pronounced their verdict--guilty. The good comrade's comments are based on this article from "Pajamas Media":

Comrade Karla:

"The author points out quite clearly that the initial "story" that is being put out to the public is just as damning in appearance as the Haditha one was--that said, we all know how Haditha turned out. The real "story" was that the initial publicly available version was distorted and wrong; one suspects a similar motive here given the apparent attempt to try and condemn the Blackwater team in the court of public opinion before a trial is even held. I'm more curious as to what grounds this case is even based on? There was no real SOFA for private security contractors (PSCs) that I'm aware of. The US government began to look far and wide for PSCs once Rumsfeld's War-Mart model for Iraq crashed and burned when everybody (except maybe him) began to realize you couldn't do an occupation with 100K or fewer troops. 17 Iraqis were killed in this incident. Tragic and terrible; but was it murder? Remember what happened to the Marine Recon team in Afghanistan--ambushed by terrorists, their return fire hit civilians that the terrorists had embedded themselves with--tragic, but hardly a war crime. But the Marines were quickly rotated out of the AO, the skills of useful combatants lost. The Marine ambush in Afghanistan will likely be a closer model than Haditha, which has suddenly lost all media interest with each Marine acquittal. PSCs have been derided as mercenaries, thugs, etc. While some of the earlier ones lacked in skills, this was a growth industry and nobody else was available to do the job thanks to a too small US military that had other commitments (Afghanistan). DOS and others seem to have been very happy with Blackwater, which seems to be mostly populated by ex-SOF people. Regardless, they will have a tough time beating the media characterization of them as "trigger-happy cowboys and rogue operatives."

The ultimate moral? As Longstreet said at Gettysburg when asked to launch his attack on July 2 before Pickett's Division had arrived "I don't like to go into battle with one boot off." Hopefully future administrations will heed this basic fact and not plan to fight any more future wars with "one boot off" and all the problems that entails." A previous article Karla sent us stated that--among other things--the Blackwater employees were charged with using "a machine gun in a crime." (Huh?) The "guilt by verdict from the court of public opinion" was also very much in play during the 2006 Duke University Lacrosse Scandal. Which has now been consigned to the history books, or at least cyberpedias:

In this case, though, public opinion steadily shifted against prosecutor Nifong. It's really a shame that our men and women in uniform, along with those seeking better pay in PSCs, fight such a continual uphill legal battle.

For information on exactly what Blackwater is and does, check out their website:

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