Up is Down, Black is White...

From today's New York Times:

"WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 — Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 episode in which Blackwater security personnel shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians have found that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq, according to civilian and military officials briefed on the case.

"The F.B.I. investigation into the shootings in Baghdad is still under way, but the findings, which indicate that the company’s employees recklessly used lethal force, are already under review by the Justice Department.

"Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek indictments, and some officials have expressed pessimism that adequate criminal laws exist to enable them to charge any Blackwater employee with criminal wrongdoing. Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the F.B.I. declined to discuss the matter."

You can read the rest here. But the part that I really want to focus on is the whole thing about "some officials have expressed pessimism that adequate criminal laws exist to enable them to charge any Blackwater employee with criminal wrongdoing." Huh? Of course there are laws designed to deal with this sort of thing-- the concern is that there aren't adequate U.S. laws designed to deal with this type of "criminal wrongdoing" (that is to say, wholesale slaughter of innocent people). In fact, I'm pretty sure murder is against the law in Iraq-- they executed Saddam Hussein for his murders, right?

You know, if I were to go to a foreign country for an academic conference and I, say, killed 17 people in a drunken rage, I tend to think I'd be held accountable for my actions-- I'm pretty sure "I'm from out of town" would not be an adequate defense. So why is it acceptable for mercenaries with government contracts to claim that the laws don't apply to them?

I realize I'm probably oversimplifying here, so please, set me straight.

And lest you think this is just a problem happening "over there," keep in mind this report from Monday's Wall Street Journal:

"A Defense Department contract involving antidrug training missions may test the durability of the political controversy over Blackwater Worldwide's security work in Iraq.

"The Moyock, N.C., company, which was involved in a September shooting in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqis dead, is one of five military contractors competing for as much as $15 billion over five years to help fight a narcotics trade that the government says finances terrorist groups."

Maybe that's what it'll take for people to finally take notice and get outraged-- a bunch of Blackwater hired sociopaths blowing away 17 American college students 'cause one of them looked like he was carrying a bong.

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