While the sort of conduct that Mr. Scahill describes certainly is contemptible, whether engaged in by professional soldiers or by our own military (although the line between mercenary and US soldier is significantly blurred if it is true that Blackwater is paid out of US tax dollars.), this is what happens when these kinds of people are given these kinds of opportunities.
This is part of the mess that our government has created by meddling in Iraq in particular and in the Middle East in general. It is sickening when one contemplates the mess that our government has made of Iraq. In order to save face and our "honor," we now feel obligated to restore order before we leave (with a puppet US government), but that will require another Saddam Hussein, or at least his tactics, which is what mercenaries like Blackwater also apparently believe. How many more lives is our "honor" worth? Attacking a country that had never attacked us was dishonorable to begin with. The first step in restoring order in Iraq is for us to leave. This will force the Iraqis to work out their problems. Then they at least will also no longer be able to make these sorts of awful accusations, although they will always be able to blame us for the mess there.
Saddam Hussein was a bad man, but it has not been worth the price in lives that is being paid to have deposed him. We simply cannot afford to go around the world deposing leaders we do not like on trumped-up national security charges. Our government has become like some nuclear-armed Don Quixote whose enemies are of its own making in its own delusioned head; but that would require making the perhaps incorrect assumption that our government's intentions are honorable, chivalrous and above reproach.
Sep 24 2007 - 9:40am