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Web Letter

Blackwater is a Michigan name. I am a citizen of Michigan. Eric Prince, who owns Blackwater, is the brother of Betsy DeVos, who is married to Dick DeVos, who ran as Governor of Michigan and lost. Dick DeVos is son of Rich DeVos, who founded Amway and buys and owns most of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area. Betsy DeVos and Eric Prince are son and daughter of the Princes of Holland, Michigan. They all are big financial contributors to the Republican Party. Eric's mother gave big bucks to Prop 8 recently. All are big contributors to vouchers that will give money to their Cristian Reformed Church schools. All believe that churches should control the government. Can you know see why Eric got the contract in Iraq?

Patricia Cogswell

Byron Center, MI

Dec 19 2008 - 11:18pm

Web Letter

When you join the military, you take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the United States and obey the legal orders of those appointed over you. Torture is not legal under the Constitution, the Uniform Code of Military Justice or federal law. You are not required to torture people, and you can refuse to obey an illegal order. They would not dare to court martial you for not committing an illegal offense. I would have raised hell if given such an order. There is no "good German" defense for such actions.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Dec 13 2008 - 11:24pm

Web Letter

Knowing how passionate Mr. Scahill is about the issues surrounding Blackwater Worldwide, I think it bears commendation that he reports the facts and just the facts, ma'am (or sir) in his most recent article about the recent indictments of the Blackwater operatives allegedly responsible for the Nissour Square massacre.

I would personally love to go to wherever those guys stand trial and protest. I strongly believe people need to be held accountable. But it's important that the right people be held accountable.

I'm reminded of those soldiers seen in the photos from Abu Ghraib torturing people. (That's something we Americans aren't supposed to condone, much less engage in). What they did was horrible, but they were following orders. It was the system at fault then, and it's the system at fault now. (Echoes of A Few Good Men come to mind. It's more about who ordered the "code red" than who performed it in a military environment, right?) It's no coincidence they're (hopefully) closing Guantanamo Bay. It's because of these very similar/same issues.

So I would love to go to these guys' hearings and hold up a sign calling for justice for the real perpetrators. These guys weren't off order; they were doing exactly what they'd been trained to do, ordered to do, by their "superiors" at Blackwater. It's the institution and the way it operates with impunity that's most troubling. And for these former soldiers to take the fall, when they probably did what they thought would get them a commendation from the company they work for, is not justice.

And it doesn't solve the problem of accountability for a government that outsources its military functions--hiring mercenaries, the problems with which are made most obvious by this case.

My sign at the trial might read, "This wouldn't have happened if we didn't engage in wars for profit." But that's a little long. Maybe, "Hold the system accountable." How we do that, and who makes up "the system" is a challenge. But I commend Mr. Scahill for reporting on it, and I'm grateful for The Nation as a source for real news like this.

Laura Vaughn

Austin, TX

Dec 10 2008 - 8:51pm

Web Letter

I am currently reading Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army by the author of this article. It was published in 2007. The book is a masterpiece of investigative journalism. The revelations contained therein are awesome and terrifying. It is troublesome that no effort has been made by the mainstream media to fully disclose the threat that Blackwater poses to our democracy and We, the People.

Blackwater is no less than a terrororistic mob subsidized by our tax money and the neocons and theocons, primarily evangelical and Catholic fundamentalists who are waging a shadow war against those who do not share their religious beliefs. Accordingly, it can be argued that Blackwater poses a greater threat than foreign-based terror groups because like cancer it is attacking us from within and constantly. Hopefully the coming administration will take curative measures to protect us from our enemies, foreign and domestic.

Robert Castle

McMinnville, OR

Dec 9 2008 - 8:58pm

Web Letter

Please investigate the open abuse of public laws that should be providing our disabled veterans with preference on government contracts. Disabled, formerly incarcerated warriors are training to be business owners upon release; together with needed mental healthcare for combat-related psychological injuries responsible for felonies drug/alcohol, no one has ever investigated this tragic axis of evil. See www.veteranschamberofcommerce.org.

Chaplain Mary Murphy

Wheat RIdge , CO

Dec 9 2008 - 7:36pm

Web Letter

It has been some time, but , I looked through various federal laws that implemented the Geneva Conventions. It seems to me any American citizen who commits war crimes can be prosecuted by American courts or, for that matter, in foreign courts of countries that signed the Geneva Conventions. Some members of the Bush administration would be subject to arrest if they traveled abroad. Civil suits could break these private companies. I want to see people go to jail for their crimes. Keep up the good work!

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Dec 9 2008 - 1:24pm