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Why Blackwater Mercenaries


Over some years the name Blackwater shows  up in the news. It is, by their own estimation, the largest mercenary group in the world. I think I first noticed it when reports from Iraq mentioned they were employed (by whom?) to escort and protect members of the Iraqi government from place to place. Then I became aware that they had joined several of the firefights between our marines and Iraqi enemies. I wondered just how these mercenaries (that supposedly came from the United States) were  hired by someone (who?) to fight?

That led to the question of just who would be responsible if a situation involved the accidental killing of an innocent bystander? It  might be a little sticky for an unauthorised mercenary contracted by the United States but not a member of our military forces.  Or suppose a Blackwater type killed a military Iraqi combatant and was then captured by the enemy. Would he be treated as a spy, or as a American combatant, or whatelse?  And would the Geneva Conventions apply?

And what do we actually know about Blackwater? It's effectiveness? As mercenaries are thay paid so much per head? Or how else? Do they report to a military person or to a political person or to perhaps the CIA? DO THEY HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ENHANCED TERROGATION OF ENEMY COMBATANTS? Under whose jurisdiction?

I have an idea that we should find out.

Dixon

Comments

Kay Dennison said…
I've been wondering the same thing about these people. I don't think they are my cuppa and if they are being paid with my (or anyone else's) tax dollars, I definitely consider myself on a need to know basis.
Rain said…
There is a good book on it and Erik Prince who began it. 'Blackwater' by Jeremey Scahill, who has come on a lot of talk shows goes into it. Prince is a religious fundamentalist and supposedly no longer heads it (as I understand it) but must remain in control somehow. I think it's now called Xe. It should be a big issue to Americans since it's so large and has an army to match most any army elsewhere. A lot of the war is hidden in costs to contractors who end up being these kind of organizations. It has obviously grown much under the Iraq war with its 'hidden' costs that nobody often even knew what they paid for. Buildings that ended up being shoddy construction are probably only part of how that was done.
Greybeard said…
I have a friend flying a helicopter for "Xe" as we speak, being paid VERY well.
There is no reason I can think of why we cannot use Special Ops troops for this job other than the fact the present R.O.E. gives the President "plausible deniability".
War is tough, and it ought to be so nasty no one wants to participate in it. Still, I too am uncomfortable with paying hired guns to do the job our military should be tackling.
Change the rules...
Unleash our troops, and this problem goes away.
Ingineer66 said…
I wrote a long response, but it got deleted when I sent it. Let me try this again and hit the highlights.

Part of the problem is logistics. Most of these contracted jobs used to be handled by military members. But with all the cutbacks of the 1990's, the US decided that we have a professional military filled with soldiers and all the support roles would be filled with contractors. Congress and the President was busy spending the "peace dividend" after the Cold War so we didn't need a large military. This idea continued to expand in the 2000's. For one with the low pay of the military and the booming economy it was difficult to retain highly trained specialists. Now with the bad economy people are lined up to sign up for the military.

The other contributing factor that I see is military members do not make big campaign contributions and military contractors do. Congress is full of bribe taking scumbags.

And we are still expanding contracting out jobs. My daughters classified, avionics job in the Marines has gone civilian. If she wanted to re-enlist it would have to be for a different job. Now some jobs maybe more efficient to contract out, but the military does not always need to be super efficient.

The main problem I see with this system is a lack of military manpower if a true national emergency arose. Back in the day we could give all the cooks and airplane mechanics and truck drivers a rifle and send them to front if need be. Now if we need more guys with rifles then we have to call a security company. There are many companies, Blackwater just seemed to make the news more than others.
Rain said…
This all grew under Bush and who knows where it'll end but the contracting jobs are also military and who knows who controls them or what their goals are.

The military has a bigger budget than under Clinton and has not shrunk in numbers. It's all about fighting wars ... and you people who are against taxes should like cutting the budget. Talk about irony to complain about cuts in the military (which there weren't statistically) and still want the government downsized. It's crazy to talk about wanting things you are not willing to pay for.
Greybeard said…
I hate to break this to you Rain 'cause I know it will come as a terrible shock...
George W. Bush IS NOT President anymore.
We now have an incompetent in the position.
Ingineer66 said…
Rain, the gutting of the military and the start of growth of contracting was in the 1990's. George W. Bush was not President in the 1990's. Clinton made a big deal about spending the peace dividend on domestic issues and cutting the military because we would not need them anymore. It was not a secret that him and Hillary were pretty anti-military when he came into office. I am sure that all that extra domestic spending ended poverty or cured cancer or found a home for all the homeless. No it did none of those things. What it did was weaken our intelligence community and allowed us to get caught with our pants down on 9/11.
Rain said…
Have you looked at the size of our military today, ingineer. Our problem is trying to fight two wars. When Bush wanted to do that, he should have increased taxes to pay for it. I guess you would have favored it right? You don't keep a military there all the time to fight wars and don't bother telling me we should as you don't want to pay for it. Our problem today is Bush and you on the right who wanted to fight a war on the cheap. Want a war and raise taxes to pay for it! When he decided to invade Iraq, he could have increased the budget. Bush did not. I am so sick if listening to right wingers justify doing it all on the cheap and then blaming us on the left. I am about deciding I won't read political blogs, nor write about it anymore as it's useless. We don't live in the same world. Your truth is not mine and it's not possible to communicate. Blogs about life, spirit and relationships, that's about where I am at this point as this is beating my head against a wall. Pointless
Rain said…
i will read what you say when it's about other things, Dixon, but not going to go on with this. I think you and ingineer are nice people but we aren't communicating at all. I won't be writing about politics again myself as it's not working. I have not seen one person read it who could see what I was saying and maybe think about it. It's all about agendas. I am sick of them.
Greybeard said…
Hey Rain...
Everyone in this platoon is out of step but me!
How do I correct that?
(And George Bush is STILL NOT PRESIDENT.)
Rain said…
You know, I like you, graybeard, but I think politics is a losing topic... and GW Bush influenced today and his policies still are. So president or not, he's a factor... but I just have to stick to other topics for awhile.This isn't worth it. And we are NOT convincing each other lol
Rain said…
My daughter mentioned one thing that goes to this conversation on the weakness of our military due to Clinton (which is not true because what we are seeing today is the dilemma of trying to fight something with conventional warfare that cannot be fought that way.) But if our military was so decimated how do you explain how they went so fast to take over Iraq? Everyone praised their ability. What we are seeing now is the result of asking them to do what they are not supposed to do. They do war very well when it's reasonable
Greybeard said…
I agree with you Rain, we are not gonna convince one another to change course on politics, but not for the reason you think...
I gave up trying to have a discussion with you at your site because when I'd (or Bumps, or Ingineer) ask you a question that would expose a weakness in your argument, you'd simply ignore it. When I returned to ask the question again, you ALWAYS resort to your old standby...
But... but... BUSH!
When I say you are incredible Rain, I truly mean you are NOT CREDIBLE in that arena.

We'll agree our military is spread too thin, being asked to do too much. When individuals are involuntarily going overseas for the third or fourth time in seven years, there is tremendous strain put on them and their families. Their physical and mental health will traumatically suffer. Until Afghanis begin to understand the advantage of single-government leadership, I think Obama's "Good war" should be handled mostly by special forces operations, insuring the bad guys don't get comfortable. I think Obama is DEAD WRONG handling that conflict the way he is, and it may in fact end up being his Viet Nam.
(And I think you are a nice person. But you and others like you with your tra-la-la attitude in the face of pure evil are the reason this country is circling the drain.)
Ingineer66 said…
Rain, I agree with you that we tried to fight in Iraq on the cheap. Rumsfeld's War-lite was a miserable failure. I am not sure if he really thought it would work or if they were trying to appease Democrats in Congress by keeping it small or maybe a little of both. Remember Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) approved the invasion of Iraq. That fact is often forgotten by the left now days.
Ingineer66 said…
Rain, I think debate is good. Yes we may not convince each other to change our political party, but sometimes we do open the eyes of the other person to something that they were not aware of. Or at least make the other person think about the other side of the debate.

Yes our military is very good at what they do. We were in control of most of Afghanistan in a few weeks with only a few hundred soldiers helping the Afghans take their country back. But taking ground and holding it are two completely separate issues. We took Iraq in a few days, but actually occupying it like we did with Germany or Japan at the end of WWII would take at least 300,000 soldiers.
Rain said…
Well I have decided this kind of debate is not good for me and therefore won't be doing it at least for the near future. I will read either of your blogs but only when they are NOT about politics. Dixon said I don't answer his questions and I think I do and he doesn't answer mine. Clearly neither of us can communicate on this. I am more interested in ideas that improve our lives, where we can make a difference and getting upset about something I cannot change right now simply isn't improving my real life. I will be posting my reasoning on this in my blog in a couple of days. I had written several on what I am more interested in (like how fractals might apply to life) and then am going to write about illusions in our culture starting with the rugged indivdualist. I will try in all cases to stay away from it being a right wing or left wing philosphy because it's so harmful. When you said that I am why this country is going down the tube, Dixon, understand it's your beliefs that I think are causing it to happen. I would not personally say you and your ilk are doing it but I think the ideas you buy into are and the the things you support. We just see it so diametrically opposed that even when we do answer each other's questions, the other cannot recognize it. I have had enough and will leave such debates up to those who enjoy them while I write about what I enjoy which is how we all make our own piece of earth and relationship circles better.
Greybeard said…
Dixon is too diplomatic to say those things to you Rain.
Rain said…
Well let's stay friends and stick to things that involve more of our lives and about which we can make a difference. Years about I read a book called Seven Effective Habits of Successful People or something like that. One of the points was to spend your most energy on the circle where you can make a difference. I see that as where I want to head right now. Life is too short to do otherwise. And who knows, this might be all we get.

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