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

Saturday, December 20, 2008

End Of The Line For Blackwater

Shooting and killing 17 innocent people in the middle of a busy square typically does little for corporate PR. In the case of Blackwater, it hasn't totally knocked them out of the security business. But the State Department's advisory panel is belatedly expressing that their contract not be renewed.

A State Department advisory panel is recommending that Blackwater Worldwide be dropped as the main private security contractor for American diplomats in Iraq, The Associated Press has learned.

A senior official familiar with a report commissioned by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the AP on Wednesday that the panel has called for Blackwater's contract not to be renewed when it expires next year. A decision on the recommendation will be left to the Obama administration, which will be in place when the contract comes up for renewal in the spring.

Rice ordered a review of the department's use of private security firms last September after an incident in which Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqis in Baghdad. Five guards have been indicted on manslaughter and other charges stemming from that incident. The company was not implicated.

More specifically, it will likely be left to Hillary Clinton. Now, during the campaign she called for the ban of ALL private contractors, including Blackwater, to provide security for diplomats and State Department employees in Iraq. This is one campaign promise that she can fulfill. The Blackwater PR spin in the piece claims that State relies on private contractors for security because they have more manpower and equipment, and that nobody has more resources than Blackwater. But Clinton didn't call for a selective ban, but the end of ALL private mercenary support for the State Department.

In a growing recession, dropping the $4 billion dollar contract provided to Blackwater and staffing security with State Department personnel seems like a win-win as well.

It's her move.

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