Private Military Company?

There’s been a lot in the news about this Blackwater Worldwide. They are described as a Private Military Company. I have to ask. Isn’t that the same thing as Mercenary? WHAT does the United States need with a Private Military Company?

A friend sent me the link to this New York Times piece about Blackwater. Here’s a few snips from the article:

2005 Use of Gas by Blackwater Leaves Questions

By JAMES RISEN
Published: January 10, 2008
WASHINGTON — The helicopter was hovering over a Baghdad checkpoint into the Green Zone, one typically crowded with cars, Iraqi civilians and United States military personnel.

Suddenly, on that May day in 2005, the copter dropped CS gas, a riot-control substance the American military in Iraq can use only under the strictest conditions and with the approval of top military commanders. An armored vehicle on the ground also released the gas, temporarily blinding drivers, passers-by and at least 10 American soldiers operating the checkpoint.
~snip~
Officers and soldiers who were hit by the CS gas, some of whom asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident, have described it with frustration. They said no weapons were being fired or any other violence that might have justified Blackwater’s response.
~snip~
“It just seemed incredibly stupid,” he wrote. “The only thing we could figure out was for some reason, one of them figured that CS would somehow clear traffic. Why someone would think a substance that makes your eyes water, nose burn and face hurt would make a driver do anything other than stop is beyond me.”

Army Staff Sgt. Kenny Mattingly also was puzzled. “We saw the Little Bird (Blackwater helicopter) come and hover right in front of the gate, and I saw one of the guys dropping a canister,” Sergeant Mattingly said in an interview. “There was no reason for dropping the CS gas. We didn’t hear any gunfire or anything. There was no incident under way.”

In October, 2007 there was a memorandum to the Members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding Additional Information about Blackwater USA. Here’s a few interesting snippets from that PDF file, that you can find here:

Blackwater Shootíng Incídents. Incident reports compiled by Blackwater reveal that
Blackwater has been involved in at least 195 “escalation of force” incidents in Iraq since 2005 that involved the firing of shots by Blackwater forces. This is an average of 1.4 shooting incidents per week. Blackwater’s contract to provide protective services to the State Department provides that Blackwater can engage in only defensive use of force. In over 80% of the shooting incidents, however, Blackwater reports that its forces fired the first shots.

In the vast majority of instances in which Blackwater fires shots, Blackwater is firing
from a moving vehicle and does not remain at the scene to determine if the shots resulted in casualties. Even so, Blackwater’s own incident reports document 16 Iraqi casualties and 162 incidents with property damage, primarily to vehicles owned by lraqis. In over 80% of the escalation of force incidents since 2005, Blackwater’s own reports document either casualties or property damage.

The reports describe multiple Blackwater incidents involving Iraqi casualties that have
not previously been reported. In one of these incidents, Blackwater forces shot a civilian
bystander in the head. In another, State Department officials report that Blackwater sought to cover up a shooting that killed an apparently innocent bystander. In a third, Blackwater provided no assistance after a traffic accident caused by its “counter-flow” driving left an Iraqi vehicle in “a ball of flames.” Blackwater also reports engaging in tactical military operations with U.S. forces.

In addition to Blackwater, two other private military contractors, DynCorp International
and
Triple Canopy, provide protective services to the State Department. Blackwater reports more shooting incidents than the other two contractors combined. Blackwater also has the highest incidence of shooting first, although all three companies shoot first in more than half of all escalation of forces incidents.

Costs to Taxpayers.
Using Blackwater instead of U.S. troops to protect embassy officials is expensive. Blackwater charges the government $1,222 per day for the services of a private
military contractor. This is equivalent to $445,000 per year, over six times more than the cost of an equivalent U.S. soldier. In total, Blackwater has received over $1 billion in federal contracts from 2001 through 2006, including more than $832 million under two contracts with the State Department to provide protective services in Iraq.

From Blackwater’s USA sight:

Blackwater lives its core values of excellence, efficiency, execution, and teamwork. In doing this, we have become the most responsive, cost-effective means of affecting the strategic balance in support of security and peace, and freedom and democracy everywhere.

Cost-effective? Not according to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This is our tax dollars at work here. I don’t recall anyone asking if we minded throwing out so much money to a ‘Private Military’ rather than our own U.S. Soldiers. Do you?

Is our Military so short-staffed that we need to resort to hiring a “Private Military”? Just let your imagination run a little wild, and you might see where things could go should the wrong people be given a little too much control.

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~ by swfreedomlover on January 11, 2008.

One Response to “Private Military Company?”

  1. Once again we have the Bush Administration committing war crimes. When will those we elect to Congress DO THEIR JOBS?!!! President Bush and Vice President Dick Chaney should be impeached and the whole Congress under scrutiny for these abominations! These paramilitary groups are an offense against all American’s hold to be true!

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