What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 11, 2008

Blackwater Antics

From the NYTimes:

The helicopter was hovering over a Baghdad checkpoint into the Green Zone, one typically crowded with cars, Iraqi civilians and United States military personnel.

Suddenly, on that May day in 2005, the copter dropped CS gas, a riot-control substance the American military in Iraq can use only under the strictest conditions and with the approval of top military commanders. An armored vehicle on the ground also released the gas, temporarily blinding drivers, passers-by and at least 10 American soldiers operating the checkpoint.

Both the helicopter and the vehicle involved in the incident at the Assassins’ Gate checkpoint were not from the United States military, but were part of a convoy operated by Blackwater Worldwide, the private security contractor that is under scrutiny for its role in a series of violent episodes in Iraq, including a September shooting in downtown Baghdad that left 17 Iraqis dead.
What were they doing? The Blackwater vehicle was stuck in traffic and they were trying to clear a path.

Blackwater says it was permitted to carry CS gas under its contract at the time with the State Department. According to a State Department official, the contract did not specifically authorize Blackwater personnel to carry or use CS, but it did not prohibit it.

The military, however, tightly controls use of riot control agents in war zones. They are banned by an international convention on chemical weapons endorsed by the United States, although a 1975 presidential order allows their use by the United States military in war zones under limited defensive circumstances and only with the approval of the president or a senior officer designated by the president.

“It is not allowed as a method or means of warfare,” said Michael Schmitt, professor of international law at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. “There are very, very strict restrictions on the use of CS gas in a war zone.”

Restrictions that obviously don't apply to Blackwater.

Good to know these guys are on our side.


Richmond K. Turner said...

Clinton years (1993-2001). A "scandal" (I use that term loosely) by the name of "Whitewater".

Bush years (2001-2009). A scandal (not used loosely at all) by the name of "Blackwater". Then there's "waterboarding".

Nixon... well, that's obvious, in'it?

Conclusion: Politicians should avoid anything with the word "water" in its name.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Blackwater rules!

Schmuck Shitrock said...

I think you've put your finger exactly on the problem, John.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Blackwater does the job our troops should be doing.

Sherry said...

john, you really haven't thought the realities of a private army and the ramifactions of one thru have you?

these people are highly trained soldiers but have no allegiance to our country. they will go to the entity that pays the best.

think about that for a moment or two.

just as we have lowered the standards for our military and now take gang members and people with criminal records and train THEM, what will these people do once this damn war is over?

do you think they won't come back here to live and to make a living?

they will be out on our streets with better training and better weapons knowlege than a lot of our police.

Fillippelli the Cook said...

I may be wrong, but I don't think that's really "our" John K. He NEVER has one-sentence comments. As much of a wingnut as he is, I don't think even he would say those things.

I also say that partly because the wingnuts, as a hard and steadfast rule, never comment at all on the multiple Blackwater fiascos or the billions in taxpayer dollars that have gone to corrupt contractors in Iraq or the lack of body armor and up-armored Humvees or any of the other major fuckups that have characterized this war -- fuckups that directly undermine the troops they all allege to so strongly support.

Sherry said...

you have a good point. might not be john at all.

C.H. said...

Let's set some things straight here...

It's not right to condemn blackwater as nothing more than a band of criminals and mercenaries. Obviously, come of those people have infiltrated the company and have done some terrible things, just as there are some terrible people who have gotten into the ranks of the military. That doesn't mean that well over 99% of our soldiers airmen, and marines aren't honorable heroes who want to serve there country.

As far as the blackwater incident that happened in Baghdad recently, I think there should be an investigation and a trial to see if the men inolved are guilty. You people are all about giving free and fair trials to suspected terrorists at gitmo, shouldn't the men involved in the blackwater incident have the same rights as well without left-wing pundits appointing themelves judge and jury? This reminds me of what that blow-hard Murtha did to those soldiers in the Haditha incident.

Also, let's talk about the "antics" of the enemy we face. Just recently, American soldiers discovered two torture houses used by AQI in Diyala province. Isn't that cute? Yesterday, in eastern Pakistan, a suicide bomber mowed down a crowd of policemen standing guard outside of a courthouse. In the Gaza strip, Palestinian militants launched RPG's on an American school...and let's not forget about the Revolutionary Guards who are threatening to ignite another war with their "antics" in the Persian Gulf. These are the things we should be most concerned about, renegade security forces just aren't as dangerous. Although they have apparently committed some harmful acts, blackwater USA is not a threat to the international community.

Don't you see? We can deal with the blackwater incident through the legal system that makes our country great, all the while realizing that blackwater is not the threat to the world you leftists make it out to be.

Infinonymous said...

The way to deal with Blackwater will be to put them out of business. No government contracts=no Blackwater. Enforcement of antimercenary laws=no Blackwater. January 2009 strikes me as an appropriate time to expect Blackwater's rapid demise.

If the chickenhawks think that Blackwater is doing what needs to be done, they can hitch a ride to Iraq and volunteer for the streetfighting. Never strikes me as the appropriate time to expect that to occur.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

We can deal with the blackwater incident through the legal system that makes our country great

If this does happen (not by any means a sure thing), no one will be happier than us leftists, and no one will be raising more hell than the chickenhawks.

not-shitrock said...

John K wrote: Blackwater does the job our troops should be doing.

Does he understand that they tear gassed some US troops?

How is that what "our troops" should be doing?


Anonymous said...

We can deal with Blackwater through the legal system CH?
What are you smoking? Blackwater can't be sued or charged with crimes in Iraq. The State Dept made sure they have immunity.
All of the crony Contractors in Iraq are immune from prosecution. Just ask Jamie Leigh Jones if anyone will stand trial for the KBR employee gang rape she had to endure.
These companies are not the US Military. And our men and women in uniform DO NOT want Blackwater, Halliburton, KBR, or CACI doing jobs that the military should be doing. Especially in a war zone.

djhlights said...


Since you seem to be supportive of the militarized government contractors can you please explain to me why a corporation, who is afforded the rights of people under the constitution is allowed to purchase weapons that you or I as actual citizens are not allowed to own under the law?

Blackwater has their own airforce, navy and armored cav. Should they be allowed to have nukes? If not why not?

infinonymous said...

I see little point to trying to reason with C.H. -- not only because his discredited line of thinking will be barely relevant to our national affairs soon enough, but also because I rarely devote much attention to the intellectual observations of those unable to distinguish "their" from "there." Until C.H. gets that point straight, it is hard to take seriously his offer to "set some things straight here."

It is far more important to devote our attention to efforts to repair the damage inflicted on our nation and our world during the past six or seven years by those who think like C.H. We have much work to do.

Anonymous said...

I think it is interesting how many people will talk about why contractors exist, blather about evil Bush and republicans, demand justice, appologize for our country's mistakes, and cry for justice, but none of them have ever put their life on the line for anyone else, been in the situations that any contractor or soldier has had to deal with, or will ever do anything more than complain, point fingers, and come up with solutions that have no relevence in a high threat area.

If we need more troops doing the jobs contractors are doing, blame Clinton for downsizing. If we want to complain about the huge contracting business - especially Halliburton, blame Clinton for his 8 years of downsizing and shift toward contractor needs (that is when Halliburton grew into a giant), and if we really want to blame anyone for the wars - blame Clinton for not letting the military or other assets get rid of Bin Laden when there was opportunity - multiple times. The plan to hit the Trade towers was not hatched up in short order - it was in effect for years - after the first attack on the towers. Yes, that was in Clinton's term too.

Every cabinet fails, every president makes huge mistakes, but most citizens just point fingers and hate the consequences of a weak society that would rather ignore reality and live comfortably than sacrifice anything.

Talk to the Iraqis in the streets (as I have many times) and you will find that many see hope for the first time. I'm not a contractor, and some contractors screw up miserably, but I guess none of the great Americans that hate Blackwater have ever done anything wrong in their lives or jobs either - and they were never even being shot at while they ate donuts at their desk (I'm glad there are so many internet experts out there)

I have to stay away form these articles - it makes me sad reading about our fear and hate