Every death should be on the front page (2.70)
Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly.
That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.
by kos on Thu Apr 01, 2004 at 12:08:56 PM PST
That was our very own Markos in response to the deaths of 4 BlackwaterUSA mercenaries in Fallujah. They were killed and their bodies desecrated by being dragged around behind cars, chopped up, and hung from a bridge.
They probably cut off their gonads too.
Now first of all, I don’t imagine unless you’re an ancient Egyptian or a Native American (some tribes) who believe in a physical afterlife where wounds inflicted on the dead are carried over into the spiritual realm you much care about what happens to your body after you die.
You’re dead Jim, dead Jim, DEAD!
Ready for more?
Mercenaries flock into Iraq
Fri Apr 02, 2004 at 03:17 AM PST
Given the manpower shortage, it’s no surprise that private for-hire armies are filling the vacuum.
The US has so far spent $20bn on reconstruction in Iraq. The companies which have won these contracts currently expect to spend about 10% of their budgets on providing personal security planning and protection for their workers.
Industry insiders say the war has proven a godsend for British security firms – which have picked up much of the work. Their revenues are estimated to have risen fivefold, from around $350m before the invasion to nearly $2bn.
And why is this a problem?
The field of private security is unregulated, and alongside the more reputable companies, gun-slinging, cowboy contractors – whether foreign or Iraqi – are reported to be setting up shop Iraq.
Established companies dislike competition from smaller entrepreneurs, but also worry that their reputations may be damaged by the gung-ho approach of some of the newer firms.
The lack of regulation means mercenaries can often act with impunity.
Stories abound of heavy handed and trigger-happy behaviour. There are reports that some private security companies claim powers to detain people, erect checkpoints without authorisation and confiscate identity cards.
The four merceneries killed yesterday worked for Blackwater Security Consulting. They claim they were in the area “protecting food conviys”, but “declined to provide further deails.
Even Tacitus, my good friend on the Right, doesn’t buy the cover story:
The question is: what were they doing in Fallujah? The Blackwater press release states that they were part of an operation to guard food deliveries in the area. This strikes me as likely false: Iraqis aren’t starving, guerrillas have not targeted food supplies in any case, and thievery is much more likely to strike transports of manufactured goods. Furthermore, even if food shipments did need armed guards, what’s the chance that the CPA has hired highly-trained (and quite expensive) ex-SEAL-types to do it? About zero. Cheaper, and probably as effective, to have Iraqis on the job […]
This, though, does not explain what four of these personnel were doing sans convoy, traveling through the town proper. Lost? Reckless? On their way to a meetup with a client? En route to a hit? One may justly wonder.
As Tacitus notes, there should be no room for merceneries in war, especially since the rules of war forbid it. If we don’t have the forces to take care of our own convoys and maintain local security, that just one more indictment of this administration’s pathetic post-war planning.
Update: More on Blackwater:
Blackwater has about 400 employees in Iraq, said one government official briefed by the company. Its armed commandos earn an average of just under $1,000 a day.
Although most of their work is to act as bodyguards for corporate, humanitarian or government employees, they sometimes perform more precarious jobs that are inherently riskier — escorting VIPs, doing reconnaissance for visits by government officials to particular locations.
The mercenaries weren’t delivering humanitarian supplies. They were supposedly delivering supplies to a private company, Regency Hotel and Hospitality.
No one pays $1,000 a day per mercenary to deliver humanitarian supplies.
Secondly, I agree with kos. Screw them.
Erik Prince’s habits and morals have not improved-
After Blackwater faced mounting legal problems in the United States, Prince was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and moved to Abu Dhabi in 2010. His task was to assemble an 800-member troupe of foreign troops for the U.A.E., which was planned months before the Arab Spring revolts. He helped the UAE found a new company Reflex Responses, or R2, with 51 percent local ownership, carefully avoiding his name on corporate documents. He worked to oversee the effort and recruit troops, among others from Executive Outcomes, a former South African mercenary firm hired by several African governments during the 1990s to put down rebellions and protect oil and diamond reserves. The battalion was to engage in intelligence gathering, urban combat, special operations “to destroy enemy personnel and equipment, crowd-control operations, response to terrorist attacks, to put down uprisings inside labor camps, and to secure nuclear and radioactive materials in planned nuclear power plants. The force, made up largely of former Colombian soldiers, failed.
In January 2011, the Associated Press reported that Prince was training a force of 2000 Somalis for antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. The program was reportedly funded by several Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates and backed by the United States. Prince’s spokesman, Mark Corallo, said that Prince has “no financial role” in the project and declined to answer any questions about Prince’s involvement. The Somali force will also reportedly pursue an Islamist supporting warlord.
The Associated Press quotes John Burnett of Maritime Underwater Security Consultants as saying, “There are 34 nations with naval assets trying to stop piracy and it can only be stopped on land. With Prince’s background and rather illustrious reputation, I think it’s quite possible that it might work.” The company was accused (of conspiring) to violate a U.N. arms embargo.
So he’s not just a bloodthirsty mass murderer and a traitorous sell out, but a dumb, bumbling, incompetent one too.