BLACKWATER: GUNS FOR HIRE
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Thanks for Jeremy Scahill’s April 2 cover story, “Shadow Army: How Blackwater Became Part of Bush’s War Machine.” That may well be the big sticking point with the troop pullout. Blackwater has all those contracts locked in. With our troops out of Iraq what happens to Blackwater USA?
What disturbs me most about contractors fighting the war is how it dilutes the fatality totals. I get my death totals from icasualties.org, which has a contractor death total of 155. Jeremy Scahill’s article says 700, which, with the totals from Iraq and Afghanistan, would put the total “war on terror” US death tally well above 4,000. Why doesn’t the damned “liberal” media report that?
San Jose, Calif.
Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights sums up my thoughts: “Mercenaries make wars easier to begin and to fight–it just takes money and not the citizenry.” Most Americans will feel little urgency to oppose a war being fought by people who were hired, not enlisted or drafted.
I worked for Blackwater in Butte, Louisiana, and have worked for several other private organizations. I not only served my country during Vietnam but have twenty-eight years in law enforcement. I worked the meanest streets in Los Angeles: Compton. I was a member of the SWAT team and a special felony unit. I have worked every assignment in the profession. My last assignment was as commander of a special unit called the Judicial Protective Unit. I found Jeremy Scahill’s article to be disgusting and very unprofessional. The team members I worked with were of the highest caliber. We did not stand around and brag or tell outrageous inflated stories. Blackwater was run as a very professional paramilitary close-knit group. We worked long hours on protection and also helped the citizens in the community. I deeply resent the suggestion that Blackwater is nothing but a bunch of “mercenaries.”
Capt. Richard Daniel, ret.
Jeremy Scahill’s article on the private security contractor industry contains serious misrepresentations about my legislation to bring accountability to the industry (HR 369). Although I commend Scahill for shining a light on this important issue, he fails to characterize my bill accurately. Let me set the record straight.