As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, October 08, 2007


An Iraqi official tells it like it is.

The Iraqi prime minister’s office said Sunday that the government’s investigation had determined that Blackwater USA private security guards who shot Iraqi civilians three weeks ago in a Baghdad square sprayed gunfire in nearly every direction, committed “deliberate murder” and should be punished accordingly.

Iraqi investigators, supported by Iraqi witness accounts, have said unofficially that they could not find evidence of any attack on the Blackwater guards that might have provoked the shooting on Nisour Square, which the Iraqis say killed 17 and wounded 27. But the statement by Ali al-Dabbagh, a spokesman for the prime minister, is the first indication that the government considers its investigation completed and the shootings unprovoked.

“This is a deliberate crime against civilians,” Mr. Dabbagh said. “It should be tried in court and the victims should be compensated.”

Murder is what we're talking about here, nothing different. And unprovoked murder, at that. And if the system is the same today as it was last Christmas, those murderers will end up with a new job within weeks:

The Blackwater guard who drunkenly shot a bodyguard for Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi in December 2006 was back working for a Department of Defense contractor by February, CNN reported this morning.

And in a letter House oversight committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today, he asks why. He suggests that the reason it was so easy for the guard, Andrew J. Moonen, to get back to work, was because the State Department didn't inform the Defense Department about what the ex-Blackwater employee did to get initially expelled from Iraq. Moonen returned to Kuwait in February, CNN reported, working for Defense Department contractor Combat Support Associates (CSA).

This is about more than Blackwater. It's about the entire contracting process, and about the entire legal murky waters surrounding it. But Blackwater is a powerful symbol. And keeping them out of California is paramount right now. The Courage Campaign is trying to stop Blackwater from building a mammoth training facility in San Diego County. They organized over 300 supporters in San Diego just yesterday to protest it. Blackwater is pulling out all the stops to circumnavigate any real oversight and get their training facility. We need to tell them no.

UPDATE: The Iraqi government is again calling for the removal of Blackwater USA, as well as $8 million in compensation for each of the families of men and women killed in the incident at Nisour Square. When the United States refuses to do so, expect Iraq at some point to erupt.

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