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Blackwater Down
IBD Editorials ^ | January 6, 2009

Posted on 01/07/2009 6:02:12 AM PST by Kaslin

Justice: Once again, Americans asked to put their lives on the line go on trial. Their crime was doing the very job we asked them to do in Iraq. Will they now be sacrificed for an ungrateful Iraq?


On Tuesday, five members of a tactical support team of Blackwater Worldwide security guards in Iraq made their first appearance in U.S. District Court on charges ranging from voluntary manslaughter to the use of automatic weapons. The "crime" was protecting State Department personnel under fire in a war zone and firing back.

On Sept. 16, 2007, 18 members of the "Raven 23" team came under fire while responding to an attack on another Blackwater group transporting a State Department official. It was a typical mission under their contract. This freed up military personnel for combat.

To aid their comrades, Raven 23 had to take the most direct route, which took them through Baghdad's Nisour Square on their way to the Green Zone. As radio logs show, they came under fire while trying to set up a temporary roadblock through which their comrades could pass quickly and safely.

They returned fire and when the firefight ceased 14 Iraqis were dead and 20 wounded.

To call this action "voluntary manslaughter in the commission of a crime" is a tragic joke. They were protecting State Department personnel in a war zone, as they were contracted to do. They had no reason or motive to show up in downtown Baghdad and start randomly shooting civilians.

(Excerpt) Read more at ibdeditorials.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: baghdad; blackwater; blackwaterbridge; blackwaterusa; fallujah; greenzone; ibd; iraq; raven23
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1 posted on 01/07/2009 6:02:14 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

No offense, but the Blackwater guys weren’t “asked” to do ANYTHING.

Their company is a for-profit entity which bid on and entered into a CONTRACT to do certain things for the U.S. government.

They actually ASKED to go to Iraq. They are quite different from U.S. military personnel.

With that said, I hope they are not found guilty, but I also hope our government gets out of the business of hiring mercenaries to do the job our military is supposed to be tasked with doing.


2 posted on 01/07/2009 6:08:42 AM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th)
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To: WayneS

Re: but I also hope our government gets out of the business of hiring mercenaries to do the job our military is supposed to be tasked with doing.

Agree with this 100%.


3 posted on 01/07/2009 6:10:08 AM PST by Red in Blue PA (Guns don't kill people; abortion clinics do.)
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To: Kaslin

I hope this incident makes the government realize it should stop paying mercenaries $1000 a day to do what our soldiers and marines do.

this for-profit military company nonsense is really creepy to me


4 posted on 01/07/2009 6:14:34 AM PST by ChurtleDawg (voting only encourages them)
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To: Kaslin

—bflr—


5 posted on 01/07/2009 6:15:03 AM PST by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the MSM tells you about firearms or explosives--NRA Benefactor)
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To: Allegra

ping


6 posted on 01/07/2009 6:16:06 AM PST by nina0113 (Hugh Akston is my hero.)
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To: Kaslin; Travis McGee

Will anyone in the “msm” even mention the Raven 23 in their “news” programs or articles?

This morning the abc radio top “news” article every hour is about the discomfort that unemployed folks are having at not being able to reach their unemployment office on the first phone call.

The implication is that America is looking more and more like the bread lines of the 1930s. There was no mention of the fact that Congress’ recent passage of another thirteen week extension of benefits means that many more people are Still on the dole. The phone lines are not crashing because of new registrants.


7 posted on 01/07/2009 6:16:09 AM PST by maica (Barack Obama is a Weathermen Project.)
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To: Red in Blue PA; WayneS

What is the problem hiring paramilitary personnel for temporary duties?

Seems there are provisions for it in the Constitution.


8 posted on 01/07/2009 6:18:06 AM PST by Eagle Eye (Libs- If you don't have to play the rules then neither do we...THINK ABOUT IT!)
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To: Kaslin

Blackwater Security needs to grow into the equivalent of an American Foreign Legion, like the French Foreign Legion. I compare the two, because there are some important parallels that Blackwater must embrace in its business model.

To start with, Blackwater needs a corporate headquarters outside of the United States, especially now, to protect it from a hostile Democrat party. But this also would allow Blackwater to recruit from the best soldiers around the world, who are not US citizens.

As with the FFL, Blackwater would optimally keep American leadership, to avoid conflicts with US, NATO and other friendly forces.

This also allows the US to more freely subcontract with Blackwater, to use it on missions of importance to the US, but far less expensive than using US military, and in places we would prefer not to send US military forces, either. Extended, low intensity missions like Bosnia would save the US billions of dollars by using contracted light infantry.

The US could optionally provide support to Blackwater operations in things such as transport and logistical support, as well as diplomatic agreements to protect them from legal ramifications of their activities.


9 posted on 01/07/2009 6:19:00 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: WayneS
Calling defense contractor's mercenaries is a disservice to them. Everyone gets paid for their work, but almost all of these guys are very patriotic vets. I ought to know I have worked for a Defense Contractor for 15 years and we are not mercenaries.
10 posted on 01/07/2009 6:24:50 AM PST by ohioman
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To: Eagle Eye

Which provisions are those?


11 posted on 01/07/2009 6:26:00 AM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th)
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To: WayneS
Would it be better to have our soldiers on trial? The events occurred regardless of who was doing the protecting. Correct me if I'm wrong but these are highly trained personnel and didn't they meet the prime directive? Secure the safety of their client in an extremely hostile environment?

I'm all for innocent people not getting hurt or killed but my lord, why is it that we expect our bravest to fight with one hand behind their back? Like you, I hope it's proven that they didn't indiscriminately fire on civilians.

I see very little difference in the results of this action than occurred with Haditha. Our guys in very difficult circumstances doing what they're trained to do and then we prosecute them...

12 posted on 01/07/2009 6:26:38 AM PST by Paco
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To: WayneS

IMO Article 1 section 8 has everything needed to hire contract soldiers and sailors.


13 posted on 01/07/2009 6:30:34 AM PST by Eagle Eye (Libs- If you don't have to play the rules then neither do we...THINK ABOUT IT!)
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To: WayneS
No offense, but the Blackwater guys weren’t “asked” to do ANYTHING.

The government put out a RFP (or some similar acronym) which is a request for somebody to do the job. They probably didn't ask Blackwater directly, but they did ask. And Blackwater asked for employees willing to go.

So they did ask. And guess what, we have a volunteer army too. Both groups volunteered, though the Army folks might not have know specifically what they were volunteering for if they signed up on 9/10/2001. Since then, Army volunteers know they are likely to go to Iraq or Afghanistan and we still get volunteers.

Maybe using mercenaries isn't a good idea, but you are on the wrong track arguing that they weren't asked.

14 posted on 01/07/2009 6:30:46 AM PST by slowhandluke (It's hard work to be cynical enough in this age)
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To: WayneS
Which provisions are those?

Letters of marque, I believe is the term.
15 posted on 01/07/2009 6:31:15 AM PST by JamesP81 (Let the Great RINO Hunt of 2009 begin)
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To: ohioman

My apologies.

I shall henceforth refer to them as “paramilitary defense contractors”.


16 posted on 01/07/2009 6:32:35 AM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th)
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To: WayneS
Which provisions are those?

Article 1, Section 8

...
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Letter of Marque
Archaic. A letter of marque was issued by a nation to a privateer or mercenary to act on the behalf of that nation for the purpose of retaliating against another nation for some wrong, such as a border incursion or seizure.

Reprisal
Archaic. An act taken by a nation, short of war, to gain redress for an action taken against that nation. For example, seizing a ship in retaliation for a seized ship.

17 posted on 01/07/2009 6:34:43 AM PST by An.American.Expatriate (Here's my strategy on the War against Terrorism: We win, they lose. - with apologies to R.R.)
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To: JamesP81
Nope. A letter of is a granting of permission to a private citizen, by our government, to seize the property of another nation, usually on the high seas. When used properly, it is also almost exclusively issued to redress a specific grievance by that private citizen against the nation in question.

That is NOT the function Blackwater was performing in Iraq, and if our government claims that their power to grant such letters allows them to hire others to do the job of our military forces then that is just further evidence of their total usurpation of the Constitution.

18 posted on 01/07/2009 6:40:21 AM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th)
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To: WayneS

I agree with you on this. The use of these mercenaries in military capacities in foreign countries has presented serious legal questions that places those involved on pretty shaky ground, in my opinion.


19 posted on 01/07/2009 6:43:55 AM PST by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: WayneS
letter of is a granting of permission to a private citizen,

Don't think anything prohibits a Corporate entity from acting on behelf of the government. Don't kid yourself, they already do just not ususally so openly.

20 posted on 01/07/2009 6:47:53 AM PST by Eagle Eye (Libs- If you don't have to play the rules then neither do we...THINK ABOUT IT!)
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To: ohioman

Paid to fight?

Sounds like the traditional definition of “mercenaries” to me. Not necessarily a perjorative meaning, just a term used to describe such people.

Even the US, in its early years, hired mercenaries.
They fought for the US.
They were still mercenaries.

Saying they’re not mercenaries because they fight for the US is wrong, because they also “contract” to other foreign governments.

“Defense contractors” are traditionally understood to be defense manufacturers or service providers, other than combatants. If you weren’t a combatant, nobody’s ever called you a “mercenary”.


21 posted on 01/07/2009 6:53:59 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

There was such a company out of South Africa... Executive Outcomes. They basically got shut down. I’m not sure that Blackwater has much of a future even if they move their HQ outside the US.


22 posted on 01/07/2009 6:58:59 AM PST by Tallguy ("The sh- t's chess, it ain't checkers!" -- Alonzo (Denzel Washington) in "Training Day")
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To: Kaslin
we asked them to do in Iraq.

Who is we! I did not ask them to do shi+ they did it as private contractors and they did it for money.

23 posted on 01/07/2009 6:59:49 AM PST by org.whodat (Conservatives don't vote for Bailouts for Super-Rich Bankers! Republicans do!)
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To: org.whodat
they did it for money.

Duh.

Usually those with the greatest opposition to private contractors earning 'good' money are those who lack the skills, patriotism, motivation to do that kind of work.

24 posted on 01/07/2009 7:04:32 AM PST by Eagle Eye (Libs- If you don't have to play the rules then neither do we...THINK ABOUT IT!)
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To: Tallguy

Mercenary corporations have long had a hard time of things, but over the long haul, they save so much money compared to having a standing army, that they continue on. Much of the 30 years and 100 years wars were fought with mercenaries.


25 posted on 01/07/2009 7:15:35 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: ohioman

Calling defense contractor’s mercenaries is a disservice to them. Everyone gets paid for their work, but almost all of these guys are very patriotic vets. I ought to know I have worked for a Defense Contractor for 15 years and we are not mercenaries.””

Spot on assessment. I know some very honorable people that work for BW. These men are true professionals doing a job for which they are highly trained and often better than many inexperienced military personnel.


26 posted on 01/07/2009 7:16:50 AM PST by Neoliberalnot ((Hallmarks of Liberalism: Ingratitude and Envy))
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To: WayneS

“I also hope our government gets out of the business of hiring mercenaries to do the job our military is supposed to be tasked with doing.”

You need to read the article more closely. Blackwater is contracted to protect State Department personnel. Civilians. The military doesn’t even protect the President directly. The Secret Service does.

Mercenaries are paid to fight a war. The Blackwater folks are there to protect civilian dignitaries like the US Ambassador.


27 posted on 01/07/2009 7:17:26 AM PST by Jackson57
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To: Eagle Eye

Without the services of Blackwater and other contractors, the State Dept. personnel in high risk area would be confined to their fortress. As it is..they need to rely on these contractors to protect them and not “duck” if there is an incident. All the contractors are under the supervision of State Dept. Security Officers who try to avoid going on on the streets.
State Dept. determines the rules of engagement and assignments.
Our military doesn’t want this job...for exactly the reason that these guys are on trial. You can’t trust our lilly livered friends at State to stand up for their own troops.


28 posted on 01/07/2009 7:17:47 AM PST by Oldexpat (Drill Here, Drill There..we must drill everywhere.)
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To: Alberta's Child

The use of these mercenaries in military capacities in foreign countries has presented serious legal questions that places those involved on pretty shaky ground, in my opinion.””

“Legal questions” — the lawyers have all the answers right? Any one of these “mercenaries” I would rather have as a colleague than any 50 shysters passing as legal experts. We have one of the most corrupt judicial systems ever devised which continues to bring on the ruination of our country, imho.


29 posted on 01/07/2009 7:21:10 AM PST by Neoliberalnot ((Hallmarks of Liberalism: Ingratitude and Envy))
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To: Oldexpat

and how many days before hillary takes over the state department? time to give Blackwater your resignation...


30 posted on 01/07/2009 7:22:15 AM PST by tioga (Rejoice, our Savior is born.)
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To: Oldexpat

Body guard and Gopher are not exactly US Military job descriptions.


31 posted on 01/07/2009 7:25:36 AM PST by Eagle Eye (Libs- If you don't have to play the rules then neither do we...THINK ABOUT IT!)
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To: Eagle Eye
Stick it where the sun don't shine Ahole, I'm a vet, all my brothers are vet's, on in was in North Korea when the Chinese came in, my oldest broker was KIA in WWII, My Uncle KIA in WWI, my father severed in the Forest in France. My Great grand dad died at Gettysburg!!AS I said stick IT!!!!
32 posted on 01/07/2009 7:26:06 AM PST by org.whodat (Conservatives don't vote for Bailouts for Super-Rich Bankers! Republicans do!)
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To: Neoliberalnot
Legal Question #1 (the single most important question of all, when it comes to allegations of criminal activity):

Under whose legal jurisdiction does a Blackwater employee operate when he is working in Iraq?

A Blackwater employee working in Iraq certainly isn't subject to the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice. Is he subject to the civilian laws of the United States of America? The laws of Iraq (whatever they may be)? Is he subject to any legal oversight at all?

33 posted on 01/07/2009 7:26:22 AM PST by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: WayneS

So Blackwater ASKED the US Government to issue a contract? No, the government ASKED qualified contractors to go, and Blackwater answered the call.

Yes, they have a mission that is quite different from military personnel. There are good and sound reason why the government issues these contracts, and not all of their missions are stuff the military should be doing, given current staffing levels.


34 posted on 01/07/2009 7:31:03 AM PST by Travis T. OJustice (Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.)
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To: Kaslin

Reminds me of what Kit Lange said:

>>>Those brave and honorable men who currently reside in prison cells across the country, stripped of their rank, their careers, families, and their good name, will not taste free air again for many years. Their sacrifices and their stories will be forgotten by the general public, remembered only by those of us who continue to fight for them.<<<

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/bloggers/2159535/posts


35 posted on 01/07/2009 7:31:40 AM PST by Calpernia (Hunters Rangers - Raising the Bar of Integrity http://www.barofintegrity.us)
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To: Jackson57

Blackwater and other “contractors” do more than protect US civilian/state department personnel.

They’re guarding supply convoys headed into and out of hostile areas.
They’re guarding PRIVATE enterprises.

It’s all good and fine, but quibbling about the term “mercenary” is a non-starter.
They are, in nearly every sense, wether they contract to the US or not.
I just don’t say “mercenary” like it’s a bad thing.


36 posted on 01/07/2009 7:47:06 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: Alberta's Child
http://www.blackwaterusa.com/media/myths.asp

Myth: Blackwater contractors are unaccountable under U.S. and international laws.

Reality:
Blackwater is accountable under the U.S. Constitution, international treaties, U.S. regulations, defense trade controls acts and numerous U.S. statutes. Specifically, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) applies to contractors accompanying the total force and the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) creates jurisdiction for federal court trials. Any wrongdoing is covered under statutes such as the War Crimes Act, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, the Anti-Torture Statute, the Defense Base Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and many other domestic and international regulations. Blackwater advocates stricter enforcement of existing laws.

37 posted on 01/07/2009 7:51:09 AM PST by Calpernia (Hunters Rangers - Raising the Bar of Integrity http://www.barofintegrity.us)
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To: SJSAMPLE

“Blackwater and other “contractors” do more than protect US civilian/state department personnel.”

Yes, I aware that other contractors (not sure why you felt the need to put that in quotes) do other things in Iraq. However, we were discussing what Blackwater was hired to do and that’s to protect US civilian dignitaries. And they do it very effectively.

As far as you and others using the term mercenary. 99% of the time it’s used in a pejorative way intentionally. There is a distinction between what Blackwater is doing and what traditional mercenaries do. Mercenaries has historically been hired to fight wars that a county either did not want to fight itself or to augment their forces by using personnel hired from other countries. Those are offensive operations. Blackwater was hired to provide DEFENSIVE operations. Sometimes, as in this case, it requires offensive actions, but the MAIN purpose is to defend those they’re hired to keep alive.


38 posted on 01/07/2009 8:00:28 AM PST by Jackson57
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To: Kaslin
The "crime" was protecting State Department personnel under fire in a war zone and firing back.

Moral of the story: If the sh*t hits the fan, State Dept will run and hide. You are on your own.

39 posted on 01/07/2009 8:00:29 AM PST by Sarajevo (You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.)
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To: SJSAMPLE
You're correct all the way, until the last sentence. You may not have intended it as a pejorative, but it is--and that's why the wriggling on this thread to escape being termed that.

They are mercs, and that is a pejorative.

40 posted on 01/07/2009 8:03:51 AM PST by jammer
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: org.whodat

And that has what to do with private defense contractors?

But it does look like you need a BIG HUG...not from me of course!

I guess it is ok for some military people, like IT or pilots or technicians to use their skills to make a buck but it isn’t ok for some combat arms guys to do the same?

And yes, I heard plenty of gripes from the young privates about how little they made in comparison, but then again, Blackwater et al weren’t hiring entry level operators, but guys who paid their dues and had training and exerience.

And that kind of training and experience doesn’t come cheap!


42 posted on 01/07/2009 8:10:15 AM PST by Eagle Eye (Libs- If you don't have to play the rules then neither do we...THINK ABOUT IT!)
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To: Jackson57

1. I put it in quotes because the word “contractor” is very new when discussing such companies. They’ve been called “mercenaries” for hundreds of years, but only recently has “contractor” come into use for this purpose.

2. Blackwater does more than protect “US civilian dignitaries” in Iraq. They have other contracts outside the US government, including private companies providing logistics support. They do so ARMED and they use force.

They fight, primarily in a defensive capability, but they fight.

I use the term “mercenary” because that’s what it is.
I understand it’s come to be used a a perjorative, but so have a lot of perfectly cromulent words.

It’s obvious that they’re needed by both government and private agencies, so the term “contractor” was dreamed up to keep the stupid press and their dim-witted accomplices complacent.

When shipping companies hired such men to guard their fleets, they were “mercenaries”, just as now.


43 posted on 01/07/2009 8:11:22 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: jammer

I understand it’s used that way, but are we really changing anything by using the word “contractor”?

Hell, even that word is starting to be used in a negative manner.

What word do we come up with next?


44 posted on 01/07/2009 8:12:35 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: SJSAMPLE
Well, a "contractor" connotes many other things besides contracting to fight. The term mercenary is much more specific. I think most people would say that "contractor" is a euphemism to obfuscate.

Stay with 'em.

45 posted on 01/07/2009 8:16:10 AM PST by jammer
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To: The Bat Man

How come the State Dept officials they were hired to protect and the State Dept itself isn’t include in this Indictment?? They Did Willfully and Knowingly Conspire with Blackwater. Just like the Getaway Driver is charged with murder if someone gets killed in a robbery even though he didn’t have a gun. They were the Contractor in this obvious Murder for Hire case and they should all Be in Jail if we are going to prosecute these guys for carrying out their orders.

Eyeamok


46 posted on 01/07/2009 8:16:48 AM PST by eyeamok
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To: ohioman
Calling defense contractor's mercenaries is a disservice to them.

I think we can draw a distinction between someone designing warplanes at Lockheed-Martin and someone actually on the ground in a warzone, pulling a trigger. The first is a defense contractor. The second may also qualify as a defense contractor, but by every historical standard, they are a mercenary.

A mercenary, taken in a vacuum, is not automatically a bad thing. But, they have different motivations and goals than a regular member of our military.

47 posted on 01/07/2009 8:22:50 AM PST by Citizen Blade ("A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy" -Benjamin Disraeli)
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To: Jackson57
Mercenaries has historically been hired to fight wars that a county either did not want to fight itself or to augment their forces by using personnel hired from other countries. Those are offensive operations. Blackwater was hired to provide DEFENSIVE operations.

I have to disagree- mercenaries have been hired, historically, for a variety of roles, both offensive and defensive. For example, the Byzantine emperor had a bodyguard composed of Nordic mercenaries. In fact, hiring mercenaries as bodyguards has been very common, historically, because some rulers felt that foreign bodyguards, with no local political ties, could be trusted to be more loyal than locals (so long as they were paid).

The fact that Blackwater was hired primarily for a defensive role does not change the fact that they are mercenaries by any historical definition of the word.

48 posted on 01/07/2009 8:30:38 AM PST by Citizen Blade ("A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy" -Benjamin Disraeli)
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To: SJSAMPLE
I understand it’s come to be used a a perjorative, but so have a lot of perfectly cromulent words.

This made me laugh out loud. I bet only a handful of people will get this reference.

49 posted on 01/07/2009 8:33:32 AM PST by Citizen Blade ("A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy" -Benjamin Disraeli)
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To: WayneS
No offense, but the Blackwater guys weren’t “asked” to do ANYTHING.

Their company is a for-profit entity which bid on and entered into a CONTRACT to do certain things for the U.S. government.

They actually ASKED to go to Iraq. They are quite different from U.S. military personnel.

You're absolutely right.

And while there are plenty of good, decent PSDs who work for Blackwater, unfortunately there are enough steroid-pumped, chest-thumping Rambo-wannabes among their ranks to have earned Blackwater their bad standing with the Iraqis.

This became a diplomatic mission in conjunction with the war around June of 2003 and Blackwater has been a detriment.

The incident where 14 Iraqis were killed is often mentioned, but there are several incidents which are not. Every time Blackwater pulled one of their shenanigans, anti-American sentiment was stoked and hostile events saw a brief spike, putting every one of us at increased risk.

They have long been a source of scorn and derision among other contractors in Iraq. When their "little birds" are buzzing around with Rambo's legs hanging out of them (oh, snap!), you'll hear military guys making sarcastic remarks like "Oh, good, we're all safe now. Blackwater's out there protecting all of us."

I even saw three guys dressed as Blackwater PSDs at a Halloween party here last fall, replete with bodybuilder.com T-shirts, Blackwater hats and fake muscle bulges under their shirts, swaggering around and hilariously acting the part. They had us all in stitches.

50 posted on 01/07/2009 8:34:23 AM PST by Allegra
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