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Web Letter

Now the company formerly known as Blackwater (XE) is making its way into Pakistan. They are harassing local populations in the name of safety for American diplomatic officials and monitors for USAID-related projects with their guns and weapons. I sincerely think this will cause more problems and that we need civilians to monitor developmental projects. The current approach will cause new upheavals, creating a new monster in an already volatile and corrupt society. We need civil ways to calm Pakistani society and win friends.

Mohammad Islam Hussain, MD.

Knoxville, TN

Sep 24 2009 - 1:41pm

Web Letter

Nicolo Machiavelli warned the princes of the principalities in Italy against the use of mercenaries at or about the time when Columbus discovered America. He said that mercenaries were "useless and dangerous...for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither fear of God nor fidelity to man." He futher avowed that mercenaries did more harm to those whom they were hired to protect than to the enemy whom they were engaged to fight.

Robert Castle

McMinnville, OR

Sep 20 2009 - 5:08pm

Web Letter

The more I learn about Blackwater, including their training bases here in the US, the more concerned I become that the neocons are planning a coup.

If Obama brings them home, they are here, with all their high-powered weapons and conscience-devoid (or radical) behaviors.

My experience of these men in my town (this is scary in itself) is that many are very intelligent, even charismatic, in general, yet without morals with respect to values such as individual human "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Others are behaving unconsciously, as in "not thinking, blindly judgmental, only loosely following orders, or acting out of whim or emotion (e.g., fear) or a (sometimes gleeful) primal urge to kill or dominate." I am sure there are other psychologies present, but those are the ones I have observed so far.

Serious questions: How do we undo the damage these men have suffered in their psyches, this urge to kill and dominate (that civil society has worked for millennia to bring under control through culture, laws, schools, etc. ), this urge being given full encouragement, full rein, full permission (so unlike true military) by those who have run this program? How do we reintegrate them into society safely, without risk that they will turn on us like battle-scarred put bulls or bio-"logical" weapons?

Carl Mason

Escondido, CA

Sep 17 2009 - 4:32pm

Web Letter

I've been reading about Blackwater and its associated names for awhile now, and it's troubling that Americans have seen little exposure or condemnation in the daily news outlets. I have to wonder why. The highest skilled mercenaries in the world seem to have free reign around the world, including when they are called upon here in our own country to act primarily as thugs rather than provide any amount of protection, as in New Orleans. It's only been since we recently saw in the news another equally perverted group operating in Kabul, the ArmorGroup North America, whose parent company is called Wackenhut, that we're once again reminded of Blackwater, now being called Triple Canopy. In looking at various sites on military security organizations I counted sixty four of them, most out of the US. Apparently, it pays, and pays well to be a member, ethics not required.

I've also noted that there are several names for these legalized thugs, but whatever name they are referred to, whether they are called private military security firms, shadow armies or private armies, they are still thugs, and in the case of those in Iraq, murderers. I too wish to know why the president I've admired and voted for has not addressed this travesty, especially as the agenda is, or was, to strengthen their power to a worldwide power of enforcement.

Linda Fares

Pueblo,, CO

Sep 17 2009 - 4:05pm

Web Letter

As a former US Army soldier who served in Iraq under 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry of the Third Infantry Divisi0n, I believe that what Blackwater did was as wrong. For Obama to extend the contract of a group like that seriously compromises his presidency. As Americans we need to take a good look at what our leadership is doing. Is this really the impression we want to show to other countries? Do we really want everyone to see us as bullies? I sure don't. I served as a soldier in the very first group through the Iraqi lands. When we left the country to our relief, most of the public trusted us. They wanted to step outside of their homes, unafraid. The Iraqi people knew we were there to help. It was the majority, not the minority, that wanted us there. Now, I would not be surprised if they wanted us gone. How can we condone the actions of Blackwater and still call ourselves Americans? Didn't we start this country on tolerance. What about certain inalienable rights? I fought to free and protect the people in Iraq from fear and dictatorship. Please, as Americans, speak up loudly and tell our leaders we've had enough.

Kenneth P. Krofta

West Allis, WI

Sep 16 2009 - 7:43pm

Web Letter

Scahill's own reporting has told us that Erik Prince, the ultimate head of Blackwater, has sought to recruit former military members who match his apparent Christian religious mania and anti-Arab hatred. It is unsurprising that such an organization, filled with people who are programmed both for racial hatred and great violence, would commit acts like the Nissour massacre and God only knows what others.

The Obama administration in continuing a relationship with Blackwater, is continuing a relationship with a murderous, racist, religious extremist organization that has an overt agenda of making money for brutalizing Arabs.

This continued relationship is a disgraceful feather in the cap of what really seems to be a failed administration in the making. It's a shame that in issues like Blackwater the administration's failure will be measured in dead bodies counted.

Seymour Friendly

Seattle, WA

Sep 16 2009 - 7:30pm