The for-profit mercenary outfit known as Blackwater USA has been thrown out of the country by the Iraqi government after an incident where 8 civilians were killed and dozens injured as reported by the BBC:
Iraq has cancelled the licence of the private security firm, Blackwater USA, after it was involved in a gunfight in which at least eight civilians died.
The Iraqi interior ministry said the contractor, based in North Carolina, was now banned from operating in Iraq.
Blackwater's hired thugs have a long history of using excessive force against Iraqi civilians. It appears the Iraqis have finally had enough and plan to put the Blackwater mercenaries involved in this incident on trial for murder. The Iraqis say that the mercenaries began firing wildly into crowds killing innocent bystanders and a policeman after their convoy came under mortar fire.
The administration has made heavy use of mercenary gangs like Blackwater in order to reduce the number of US troops required in Iraq and maintain popular support for the war at home. While Blackwater employs a large number of US citizens they have also recruited from countries like Chile and South Africa. They have an estimated 1,000 mercenaries operating in Iraq and have collected billions of dollars in taxpayer money since the beginning of the war. The lynching of four Blackwater mercenaries in Fallujah during 2004 was a key turning point that inflamed the insurgency in Iraq which was then in its early stages.
It will be interesting to follow this story and see if the administration overturns the decision of the sovereign Iraqi government in this case. Blackwater has extensive ties with the religious fanatics and neoconservative extremists who hold positions of power in the administration. I'm sure they are doing everything they can right now to protect their lucrative contracts in Iraq.
It will also be interesting to see what effect this has on Bush's "drawdown". Who is going to take on the security functions that Blackwater has been doing now that it's been expelled from the country?
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