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American Mercenary Outfit Banned by Iraq

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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Comments (5)

Lee Ward:

My guess is that the Iraqi's will quickly extract the degree of accountability and mea culpas they want from Blackwater, and Blackwater will get their license back.

I think I read that Blackwater has 20,000 personnel on the ground in Iraq - with that much money at stake Blackwater will throw their CEO under the bus if needed - and throw the CEO's granny under the bus as well if that's what the Iraqis want...

Lee Ward:

Yeah I was just off checking that. What I found is that Blackwater has 20,000 mercenaries "on the books" not on the ground in Iraq. Source

Lee Ward:

SO if it is only 1,000 contractors what's the big deal? Why is the DOD whining so much?

Paul Hamilton:

The most interesting thing of all is that Blackwater is beyond the law. I wonder how many of the abuses which have been laid at the feet of "Americans" in general are committed by the mercenaries instead of the troops. Sadly, it's usually the troops who, by their visibility and presence, pay for whatever crime have been committed.

I hope Blackwater is thrown out, but I have a hunch that if Bush wants them to stay, they will stay. It's nice to have some really hardcore people around to do the dirty work...

Steve Crickmore:

At the same time, Blackwater is so loathed (by everyone) it is probably, one reason, why the majority of Iraqis are sympathetic to attacks on our troops...It is sometimes difficult to remember that the United States was founded because it wanted to rid itself of a colonial or oppressive occupation army. Now in the name of 'freedom on the march, and an enduring US presence, protected by the miitary- terror complex, Blackwater represents America and Israel rightly or wrongly, for the average Iraqi in their country.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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