First it happened in Iraq. Now, it's happening in Afghanistan. Technically "sovereign" countries are trying to reassert control of their city streets and take them back from the mercenary armies that Bush has dispatched to them in order to fight wars without turning to the draft. The Associated Press is reporting:
Afghan authorities this week shut down two private security companies and said more than 10 others -- some suspected of murder and robbery -- would soon be closed, Afghan and Western officials said Thursday.
Authorities on Tuesday shut down the Afghan-run security companies Wathan and Caps and 82 illegal weapons were found during the two raids in Kabul, police Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal said.
A Western security official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said some major Western companies were on the list of at least 10 others tapped for closure, but would not give names.
How much would you wager that Blackwater is on that list? It seems that the mercenaries in Afghanistan are just as out of control as the ones in Iraq:
The Afghan government's main complaints against the companies are lack of accountability, intimidation of Afghan citizens, disrespect of local security forces and companies that do not cooperate with authorities, according to a set of draft rules being debated by the Afghan government and obtained by The Associated Press.
Some of the 59 companies are suspected of involvement in criminal activity like killing and robbery, and the police were investigating these cases as well, Paktiawal said. He could not provide the breakdown of how many of these companies are Afghan and how many foreign.
Meanwhile, back in Iraq, the furor over the recent murder of two Christian women in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood continues:
Scores of relatives and friends gathered at the main Armenian Church in Baghdad to grieve the death of Mrs Awanis, aged 48. The body of the second woman, identified as Geneva Jalal, was also there but no one from her family showed up.
Everyone was shocked that Mrs Awanis, a widow and former agricultural engineer who was forced to drive a taxi to make ends meet, had been killed. "I don't know what to say. This is the worst crime I have ever seen," said Abu Mareeam, the dead woman's nephew.
The three daughters, Aless, 12, Karown, 20, and Noraa, 21, were doubled up in tears as they crowded around their mother's simple wooden coffin, which was decorated with a small golden cross.
"These criminals killed a mother and left three orphaned girls. Who will take care of them now?" asked one relative, who gave her name as Umm Masees.
As the Iraqi government attempts to force Blackwater USA out of the country the Associated Press reports that the State Department is considering phasing out their use. That's certainly considerate of them given that the "sovereign" government of Iraq has demanded that Blackwater get out of the country within 6 months. Among other issues, the State Department is investigating:
Whether Blackwater's secretive corporate culture, reputed to have encouraged a "cowboy-like mentality," has led to its employees being more likely to violate or stretch the existing rules than those of the two other private security firms, Dyncorp and Triple Canopy, the State Department uses in Iraq.
But it's not just the Iraqi and Afghan people that are rising up against the hired thugs that Bush is using to fight wars. The people of San Diego County in California are waging a fight to keep Blackwater from building a massive terrorist training camp near the small town of Portrero which is about 50 miles east of downtown San Diego near the Mexican town of Tecate. I reported on this in a post yesterday.
Blackwater and mercenary outfits like it are a cancer on America's democracy. They are an extension of the corporatist neoconservative cabal that has taken control of our government and seeks to wage ever-expanding wars overseas for profit. Key to fighting those wars is pacifying discontent among the American people by employing hired mercenaries, many of them foreigners, to fight our wars for us. They are a symptom of the collapse of our rule of law and the shredding of the constitution that began when the neoconservatives seized control of our government in 2001. As Americans it's our duty to take back our government and stop the Blackwater goons before it's too late.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!