Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Blackwater is Another Term for Human Waste Water

So today let us reveiw what it's like to give congressional oversight to a company that goes by a word for what you flush down the toliet.

Biggest bombshell of the day is the fact that there's no budgetary justification for employing war contractors to replace our military's soldiers after all. One Blackwater mercenary costs America more than $400,000 while his counterpart in the US military costs only $50,000 to $70,000. Astounding.... but that get's a little lost in the cauterwailing on the Republican side of the aisle over the idea that Blackwater needs its "conduct" examined by Congress. What do we find in these murky waters?

In one incident last Christmas Eve, [b]a drunken Blackwater contractor shot and killed a security guard for one of Iraq's vice presidents[/b], and the State Department allowed the contractor to leave Iraq, the report said.



In response to questions about the Christmas Eve shooting, Prince said that the employee was promptly fired and fined "multiple thousands of dollars" but that Blackwater did not have authority to take other punitive action.

"I'm not going to make any apologies for what he did," Prince said. "He clearly violated our policies." He said Blackwater acquired an airline ticket for the employee to return to the United States "by direction of the State Department."


Blackwater shelled out $15,000 to the family of the Iraqi guard, which the State Department handed off. The made the mercenary in question pay for his own airplane ticket and then withheld a bonus, but that does not constitute a "fine." Neatly, the bonus comes out a bit shy of what they paid to the family of the guard. You can bet that $15,000 didn't come out of Blackwater profits.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) said [b]the Justice Department has informed the committee that it is still investigating the Christmas shooting nine months later.[/b]

[b]Prince also was asked about an initial erroneous report that the Iraqi security guard had been shot by a drunken U.S. soldier, rather than a private contractor. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) pointed to a Blackwater e-mail referring to the mistake and saying that "at least the ID of the shooter will take the heat off us."[/b]

Prince said Blackwater did not take any action to correct the account because it is prohibited by contract from engaging with the news media. "I don't believe that false story lasted in the media for more than a few hours," the Blackwater chief executive said.

He also disputed charges that Blackwater guards have killed innocent Iraqi civilians in reckless shootings while escorting convoys, but he said there have been "times when guys are using defensive force" to protect themselves or their convoys and could have killed civilians through "ricochets" or "traffic accidents."


So we have Prince testifying before Congress that never have Blackwater mercenaries ever pointed their weapons at an unarmed and innocent Iraqi and just killed them. The only civilians Blackwater mercenaries kill, are the Iraqis that they don't aim at. So I geuss they just define insurgents and terrorists as anyone they aim at? Hey- they may be better at fudging numbers than the White House.



Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) said he was "a little saddened by this hearing" because Blackwater is a member of "our team." He said the committee "should not go to the extent of undermining Blackwater's ability to perform as our team."

But Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), voicing rare GOP criticism of Blackwater at the hearing, observed that [b]Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, earns about $180,000 a year, less than half the salary of a Blackwater official in charge of a 34-member security team[/b].

The war in Iraq has produced some of the most "lavish" and "excessive" contracts in U.S. history, Duncan said. "Fiscal conservatives should feel no obligation to defend this kind of contracting. . . . In fact, fiscal conservatives should be the ones most horrified by this."


Time will tell if the Republicans send through an ammendment giving Petraeus a raise to the level of what a Blackwater official for a security team gets paid. You know, if they really valued his service. On the other hand, it's good to have clear to the world exactly what some Republican members of Congress place as the value of an innocent Iraqi life. Even lower than $15,000 it seems, if it's not worth even the slightest public embarressment for a Republican campaign contributor.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released preliminary information gleaned about Blackwater's conduct.

Blackwater security contractors in Iraq have been involved in at least 195 "escalation of force" incidents since early 2005, including several previously unreported killings of Iraqi civilians, according to a new congressional account of State Department and company documents.

In one of the killings, according to a State Department document, Blackwater personnel tried to cover up what had occurred and provided a false report. In another case, involving a Blackwater convoy's collision with 18 civilian vehicles, the firm accused its own personnel of lying about the event.

....In total, the documents indicate, Blackwater has terminated 122 employees under its State Department contract. According to Prince, the company currently has about 1,000 employees in Iraq.

...Based on more than 437 Blackwater documents and "a limited number of incident reports and documents from the State Department," the Democratic staff memo said, Blackwater personnel had participated in 195 incidents in which they discharged firearms, with Blackwater firing first in more than 80 percent of them. At least 16 Iraqi casualties resulted.


Another blogger over at Pissed On Politics worked on the numbers for Blackwater a little more. Blackwater charges Regency a baseline of $815 for a single mercenary and $1,075 a day for a senior manager. How much does Petraeus make a day? $493

Let's do a little more math. Not much, moonbat's honor. So if you have about 1,000 employees in Iraq, and you have to fire 122 of them for conduct reasons, that means 17% of your employees were a problem and got caught. Let's emphasize the "got caught" part. Is anyone going to try to say that the percentage of military personal we have had to prosecute for conduct in Iraq even approaches this horrifying number?

In a June 24, 2005, incident -- reported in a U.S. Embassy memo that was cited by the committee and obtained by The Washington Post -- a Blackwater security detail in the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, shot a civilian man standing at the side of the street as the contractors drove by. "This is the case involving the PSD [personal security detail] who failed to report the shooting, covered it up, and subsequently were removed" from the city, an embassy security officer wrote in a July 1, 2005, report.


Everyone remember what Prince said about Blackwater mercenaries not shooting civilians intentionally? Oh, did our little Prince just lie? To Congress? No you see, anyone Blackwater mercenaries aim at is de facto a terrorist, even if they are unamred and walking down the street to the bakery. Prince fired the shooter not for murdering some guy in cold blood for fun, but for not filling out the paperwork afterwards.

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