There’s good news and bad news about Blackwater. Which would you like first?
Well, let’s start with the good news. Reliable witnesses have been found who saw the debacle of September 17th when Blackwater guards opened fire on unarmed civilians without provocation – Kurdish spectators to the event were on a rooftop looking down at the scene. Their testimony is valuable for its likely credibility, as The New York Times notes:
The Kurdish witnesses are important because they had the advantage of an unobstructed view and because, collectively, they observed the shooting at Nisour Square from start to finish, free from the terror and confusion that might have clouded accounts of witnesses at street level. Moreover, because they are pro-American, their accounts have a credibility not always extended to Iraqi Arabs, who have been more hostile to the American presence.
There is now other evidence provided by perhaps an even more damning source – the US military. Soldiers who arrived at the scene only moments after the shooting had occurred and who helped aid the wounded and restore order to the scene were “appalled” as reported originally in The Washington Post:
While Blackwater has said its guards were attacked by automatic gunfire, the soldiers did not find any casings from the sort of guns typically used by insurgents or by Iraqi security forces, according to an American military official briefed on the findings of the unit that arrived at the scene about 20 minutes after the Blackwater convoy left.
The NYT goes on to report the following:
…soldiers… found clear evidence that the Blackwater guards were not been threatened and also opened fire on civilians who had tried to flee. â€œThe cartridges and casings we found were all associated with coalition forces and contractors,â€ [an] official said, reporting on condition of anonymity. â€œThe only brass we found where somebody fired weapons were ones from contractors.â€
Maybe, then, this will motivate Congress to take action to regulate, not only Blackwater but all contractors working in Iraq. (Stop your derisive laughter, you doubters of the democratic republic….)
But then there’s the bad news. Erik Prince, billionaire former Navy Seal, evangelical dominionist, and founder and CEO of Blackwater, USA, is doing the rounds of talk shows and interview programs on MSM to portray his
highly paid soldiers of fortune security personnel as patriotic, God fearing, hard working Americans dedicated to providing a vital and heroic service for the State Department and the military.
Prince is saying all the right things. About the FBI investigation into the behavior of Blackwater and other contractors in Iraq, he offers this:
I’m glad they can be a neutral party. And if there’s further investigation or prosecution even needed, if someone really did wrong and meant badly, I’m all supportive. – Erik Prince on 60 Minutes (italics mine, and I don’t mean the program title)
Whether the MSM will be charmed by Prince or kowtow to him at the bidding of their corporate masters remains to be seen. His family has already shown that it’s willing to use its enormous financial muscle to try to silence the blogosphere. Meanwhile, Blackwater, USA continues with its plans to build bases all over this country. And the Pentagon has shown no signs that it will discontinue its relationship with Blackwater unless forced to. Then again, maybe Blackwater will just move its operations into the domestic sphere through Homeland Security.
As the old saying goes, somebody ought to do something….. (I know, I know, I’ve made you laugh again….)