Posted by: Staff | 10.10.2007

American mercenary group’s killings spark outrage in Iraq

TOPH TUCKER ’08

On September 16, at least 11 Iraqis were killed, not by terrorists, not by Iraqi security, not by the American military, but by Blackwater USA?a private security company used to protect State Department officials and other diplomats abroad.

The story, according to reports, goes something like this: a Blackwater Private Security Detail was escorting a State Department convoy to a meeting. Somewhere around Nasoor Square in Baghdad, Blackwater may or may not have opened fire on a slow-moving car that failed to get out of the way. An explosive device or mortar may or may not have exploded near the convoy. The vehicles may or may not have been attacked with small-arms fire. As the situation escalated, a Blackwater helicopter may or may not have opened fire from the air.

While Blackwater claims they weren?t attacking civilians, evidence states otherwise. Outrage followed the incident, and Iraqi officials attempted to ban Blackwater from the country, but relented in the face of US pressure. (Since Paul Bremer passed ?Order 17? on June 27, 2004, Blackwater and other American-associated forces have been immune from Iraqi law, but the policy is now under scrutiny.) The Blackwater probe has since expanded to five incidents in which the firm allegedly killed Iraqi civilians.

Many officials are accusing Blackwater guards of tending to overreact. Iraqis, certainly, have long resented their presence. Just this weekend, the State Department announced new restrictions that will try to curtail this sort of incident. The State Department, though, may not have the resources to fully protect itself without hiring contractors like Blackwater. Nevertheless, the latest word is that use of private security contractors may soon be phased out.

The news from Iraq isn?t all bad, however. The AP reports that American and civilian deaths last month hit their lowest point in over a year, the latest indication that June?s surge may actually be working. This most recent Blackwater incident, though, just makes it clearer than ever that the situation in Iraq is far from reaching any sort of resolution.

Image from:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/42487

Further Reading:

Blackwater probe expands to 5 deadly incidents
Blackwater USA
Death From All Sides
Deaths among U.S. forces, Iraqi civilians drop

Other News from Iraq:

United Kingdom to commence partial Iraq withdrawal
Al-Qaida confirms senior leader was killed in U.S. airstrike
New type of bomb is unexpectedly lethal in Iraq
Key Figures About Iraq

What do you think?
Does Blackwater belong in Iraq?

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