Blackwater and Malpractice

Blackwater has filed a $30 million malpractice suit against the high-powered team of lawyers the firm hired to defend against a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of the Fallujah Four, according to a story Friday by the Legal Times.

The complaint accused the lawyers at Wiley Rein -- including current White House counsel Fred Fielding and Margaret Ryan, now a U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the Armed Forces, both then in private practice -- of "sloppy pleading" that prevented Blackwater from properly defending itself.

"The wrongful death suit was filed in Wake County Superior Court by families of Stephen Helvenston, Mike Teague, Jerko Zovko and Wesley Batalona -- the four Blackwater guards whose brutal killings in Fallujah in 2004 were captured on video and broadcast around the world," the Legal Times story said. "The men were beaten, burned and decapitated. Images of their bodies hanging from a bridge over the Euphrates River provoked outrage in the United States."

The lawsuit is the latest of many twists and turns in the story of Blackwater's sudden rise as a federal contractor -- and, dare I say, as the embodiment of a zeitgeist?

Though news about Blackwater has abated somewhat, the company continues to play a prominent and lucrative role providing security to government officials and facilities in Iraq and other countries around the world. Some of its forces are under investigation by the Justice Department for a shooting episode in September that killed at least 17 Iraqi citizens.

By Robert O'Harrow |  January 27, 2008; 7:00 AM ET iraq
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Comments

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Yes, in spite of all of the illegalities and crimes committed by Blackwater personnel and their many no-bid contracts awarded to them because of their long and deep great government connections, our government tax dollars continue to flow into their coffers in the millions each and every day. We have major theft and the raping of the U.S. Treasury by this and many other government contractors. It has been a free-for-all defense contractors payday under this administration and other republican operatives during all of these wars.

Posted by: hotezzy | January 27, 2008 1:39 PM

screw & nail blackwater to the walls of a sewer. mercenary thugs. friggem & fraggem

Posted by: middletownhal | January 27, 2008 2:13 PM

sloppy pleading is not enough to disguise vicious greed. it's ok george will pardon them all on the way out the door.

i'm waiting for them to be deployed in the states. when you can't send in the army hire blackwater.

do you have the proper papers to enter arkansas? do you have the proper papers to leave new jersey?

Posted by: felix random | January 27, 2008 3:07 PM

The malpractice claims are pretty weak. This smacks of desperation and finger-pointing.

Posted by: DC Attorney | January 27, 2008 4:31 PM

good luck, thugo, with that sympathy thing.

if they didn't lead their employees to think they were ramboesqe action figures, and equipped them properly in the first place, they wouldn't be getting sued----and getting yet another black eye in the publicmind.

i hope blackwater gets sued out of business by those they've wronged;the families of the killed, the US public having been defrauded out of billions in
various scams and profiteering/treason.

Posted by: bloggod | January 27, 2008 9:54 PM

Lets see Blackwater goes from nothing to a billion dollar company in five years. One doesn't have to look far for examples that management isn't up to the challenge. They seem to have created a dangerous mix. Poorly supervised heavily armed and unaccountable private security "contractors", aka employees, shooting up Iraqi civilians. Breathtaking hubris destroying evidence, engaging in cover ups, filing self serving investigative reports on itself using State Department letter head. Unaccountable funds, missing government equipment, allegations of gun smuggling, disrespect for the military. It all seems like a bad novel. Yet, the tax dollars just keep pouring in. They are so cocky and and make so little effort to justify themselves that I figured they must be politically untouchable. This lawsuit is the first sign I have seen that all might not be well in Moyock. I wonder how and why they came up with the 30 million figure. One can only hope they are about to implode. Couldn't happen to a nicer company.

Posted by: mark | January 28, 2008 1:41 AM

You don't have to wait for Blackwater to deploy in the USA. They got to New Orleans back in 2005 and where photographed on Bourbon Street before your Federal agencies where aware that a hurricane had ever hit. See New York Times for more info. Here in England everything is going to cronies of the goverment in industry "to save money" as well.

Posted by: Bone idle Brit | January 28, 2008 5:15 AM

Blackwater needs to be investigated immidiately, and that investigation needs to include the political figures that they are linked to. If only Nightline or 60 minutes had the time...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 28, 2008 11:00 AM

every last member of blackwater should be
jailed along with the people who hired them
aka the president and vice president!

Posted by: chef777ok | January 28, 2008 12:30 PM

Just another example of why this upcoming election is so important. Let's make sure that Cheney and his gang of neo cons never ever get within a thousand miles of Washington. I don't care who wins the election, as along as it isn't anyone connected with the madmen who have been in power for the past eight years.

Posted by: Joe Turner | January 28, 2008 12:31 PM

I love the level of criticism to this article. One commenter blames Blackwater's contracts on "long and deep great connections (sic)." Just a few posts down there is another one that points out that Blackwater has risen from relative obscurity to nationwide prominence in just five years, and thus blaming its problems on overgrowth. The second is more correct, but it just highlights the complete lack of intelligence that is applied to the questions surrounding Blackwater and other such government security contractors. People see a private contractor and just automatically assume it was a no-bid contract granted by the old cronies in the smoking room. Nothing could be further from the truth -- well maybe a few things could, but not many. Blackwater provides a service to military personnel that the military cannot currently handle. Blackwater employs, and equips well I should point out, only former members of the Special Forces. They are the most disciplined soldiers our military can produce, but apparently the moment they work for a civilian contractor they are assumed to be blood-thirsty, undisciplined, ill-equipped, over-paid thugs and goons. Our military created them. Whatever is true about them isn't the fault or credit of Blackwater. Blackwater just employs them. They were created and trained by our military.

I'm not saying that Blackwater is totally justified or in the clear in all their dealings, but it would be nice to see a little balanced thought and analysis put in to judgments of them. The Right's not all bad and the Left's not all wrong. Both lie somewhere in the middle.

Posted by: Aaron | January 28, 2008 1:03 PM

Eric Prince's buddies in The Administration will keep pouring cash into Blackwater till the end, they're soul mates in their belief in the use of righteous Christian violence. Blackwater may even be doing a few nasty little jobs that OVP wants done on the QT, What I don't understand is why other civilian law enforcement agencies would risk their reputations to use Blackwater services knowing they can be tared with a horrible reputation for unprofessional and out of control use of force. Also what branch of the military thinks it's good idea to support a company with DOD dollars that has caused them so many problems in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I noticed that no one wants Blackwater's parachute team anywhere near their events anymore

Posted by: mark | January 28, 2008 1:03 PM

The federal government should destroy the contracts for Blackwater and not hire mercanaries to fight at etremely high costs to the tax payers. When Rome hired mercaniaries they lost . When the British hired them they also lost. If a war is necessary the American people should back it and not some hired guns.

Posted by: newcomer | January 28, 2008 1:18 PM

Aaron Aaron Aaron , you need to get your facts straight. Blackwater hires a FEW ex-special forces, mostly Navy SEALS. That's the sizzle they peddle in place of the steak. Every time some Blackwater cowboy winds up in the news we find out he's a former small town cop or a Army or Marine grunt who had a tour of Bosnia or Iraq. I suspect they spent most of their time at the rear with the gear having day dreams of wild'n out Rambo style.
The Rambo wanna be's pay something like $20k to attend Blackwater PSC training sessions. Blackwater signs up a few of these yahoos to contracts and ships them out. The rest probable end up at even more fly by night security contractors who need the warm bodies to fill out their contracts.
Blackwater is all image and no substance, that's what keeps getting them into trouble. They concern themselves with the personal appearance of their operatives more than Hugh Hefner does with his bunnies. White boys with Beach muscles, shaved heads, goatees, ball caps and wrap around shades. Kit them out with the coolest looking bad ass high powered full automatic rifles and Glocks used as much as fashion accessories as weapons. It's an image that makes the procurement agents in DOS's security divisions hearts flutter but probable encourages steroid use or worse. Most Blackwater guards in Iraq might not even reach that level. They are poorly paid third world nationals from countries with poor human rights records.

Posted by: mark | January 28, 2008 1:32 PM


its a ruse no one really cares about.
American Ideals have been supplanted by
fast food , fast living , and a narcism unparelled in modern times .
We offer nothing in the form of a guiding light in the world , Our greatness died a long time ago . were sliding down the hill real fast ,buckle up boys and girls!!! enjoy it in the soup lines when your money and job and hope are all gone ,Viva the neo-cons!!!!!


Posted by: topsy cretts | January 28, 2008 6:00 PM

FOUR AMERICANS their employees were brutally murdered..
And we have US TROOPS tortured and BEHEADED...but no one even has the courage to mention...why not?
Some nation: presidential campaigners act like it is a high school popularity contest: meanwhile US TROOPS are being systematically sacrificed.
Most homosapiens in this nation: especially those are willing to put others down--and help ILLEGALS from the AMNESTY NON PROFITs of THE RACE to the CATHOLIC CHURCH are TRAITORS...
having never earned the right to give anything away....
Do Unto Others...
One Nation Under GOD

Posted by: Anonymous | January 28, 2008 8:23 PM

Blackwater knowingly sent these four men to their probably death without the required complement of men, including a gunner. . "Blackwater sent my son and the other three into Falluja knowing that there was a very good possibility this could happen," says Katy Helvenston, the mother of 38-year-old Scott Helvenston, whose charred body was hung from the Falluja bridge.

Posted by: J. Howard Crews | January 28, 2008 9:58 PM

People love criticizing the symptoms because it's so easy; examining the cause takes a little initiative and involves uncomfortable facts.

The reason Blackwater exists is because of the deep military cuts made by Clinton in the 90's, a period where I had a front-row seat as a DoD procurement official. Remember the 'peace dividend'?. Al Gore's 're-inventing government' (remember the 'golden hammer'?) and push to downsize and outsource (A-76) also figure in.

Yes, Virginia, there are consequences to liberal feel-good politics. Imagine that.

Posted by: MacRandall | January 29, 2008 8:13 AM

MacRandall: Do you mean that 12-year "liberal" Republican Congress and the seven years of this "liberal" administration couldn't fix it?

Posted by: pacman | January 29, 2008 12:12 PM

Blackwater is more dangerous than Al Quaida

Posted by: Bob | January 29, 2008 12:25 PM

Al Quaida IS the original Blackwater

Posted by: mark | January 29, 2008 3:42 PM

I don't give a rats a$$ about Blackwater employees. And I've stopped giving a rats a$$ about American soldiers; these guys don't fight anymore, they engage the "enemy" or whoever looks like the enemy, call in air support and the whoever are vaporized. It is sufficient to be seen with IR technology running across a field with a dog. Two hellfire missiles and the problem, or the solution is gone. I call American's military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan "murder". I call their interrogation techniques torture. I support the Iraqis and Afghans fight against the American occupation. Bring all our soldiers home from bases throughout the world--they've done enough damage.

Posted by: maddog56 | January 30, 2008 1:16 AM

"Executives from some of the biggest private security companies operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, including Blackwater Worldwide, Dyncorp and Triple Canopy, are scheduled to meet Jan. 30 with the deputy secretaries of defense and state, Gordon England and John Negroponte, respectively, to discuss coordination and oversight issues, officials said.

The executives will hear a presentation about how the government intends to implement of a joint Pentagon-State Department agreement negotiated by England and Negroponte that tightens controls on private contractors, and look at how operational rules, particularly in Iraq, may change in the coming months, the officials said.

In addition, the meeting is expected to cover how new and existing legal authorities, including the Uniform Code of Military Justice and potential revisions to the Military Extraterritorial Judicial Act, may apply to contractors, they said."

[Source: "Senators Want War Contracts Inquiry" AP 30 Jan 08 http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,161052,00.html?ESRC=eb.nl

---------
"Meanwhile, federal agencies have opened at least 80 separate criminal investigations into wartime contracts totaling more than $5 billion, said Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security.

Despite the waste outlined in several audits and government reports, no contracting officials appear to have lost their jobs or been denied a promotion, according to Solis and Bowen."

"New Direction Charted for Govt Contracting" GovExec
http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0108/012508rb1.htm
-----------------
"Bush signed into law on Jan. 28 a wide-ranging defense bill that includes instructions to create a commission to investigate defense contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is modeled after a similar commission that was headed by Harry Truman in the 1940s to uncover abuse in military contracts during World War II.

But, Mr. Bush has again issued his infamous signing statements on this commission:

"The signing statement provides notice that the commission's requests for information, if they are too broad, may run afoul of the Constitution."

Such "signing statements" are controversial tools in which the president signs a bill into law but notes portions he may ignore."
[Source: IBID/AP article]

+++++++++++++++++++
If you want to protect the PUBLIC PURSE comprised of YOUR tax dollars---best strengthen the support for the bi-partisan commission to investigate these frauds by contacting your elected officials...

Posted by: zz ziled | January 30, 2008 12:00 PM

Sorry MacRandall,
The reason Clinton/Gore cut the military was because they were dedicated to peace. They would have handled terrorists on a surgical basis, not destroying neighboring countries. The need for Blackwater came from a completely unnecessary war. The other reason for Blackwater is that there is too much oversight for the military now, private contractors are more convenient for the war profiteers-- look how well things are going for Cheney's Halliburton. If republicans remain in power, there is little hope for change. Mitt Romney's security advisor is none other than Blackwater's chairman Cofer Black. I that theoretical administration, I see a glaring conflict of interest.

Posted by: Rawkcuf | January 30, 2008 12:14 PM

Blackwater and other companies are hired because the Clinton era gutted the military and the gap is being filled by these companies. Just another question, how many of you commentators have ever worn the uniform of the US Military and been shot at? Go get a reality check.

Posted by: Loachdriver | January 30, 2008 6:08 PM

loachdriver, waring the uniform and being shot at does not give you special moral authority. I know you think it is suppose to stop all debate, but you don't seem to have any facts to back up your statements. People who have been to Iraq can be stupid too. In fact most of the civilians sent over in the first few years of the war seem to have been selected for their stupidity. Blackwater commits atrocities, what would you call gunning down 17 innocent civilians, women, small children? They're being paid by the US taxpayer and they do it in our name so every one is entitled to feel outraged. Don't like it? All I can tell you is "suck it up buddy".

Posted by: mark | January 30, 2008 9:39 PM

This post concerns not just Blackwater but the entire mind set of those in charge of the "war on terror".
Some time ago a item was in the news concerning an incident which happened in Afghanistan. A group of men were spotted by one of our drone spy planes and one individual was very tall. The controlers stated that the tall individual could be Bin Lauden. A cruise missile was launched and "boom"--all were killed. The helicopters were on site before the dust cleared and "nope, it wasn't Bin Lauden".
But each of the men killed on this "hunch" had extended families and I confident that every member is now committed anti American. If I had committed such an act, I surely would not have made it public. This is not how you "win the hearts and minds" of the people. Remember that phrase from Viet Nam???

Posted by: KING SOL | January 31, 2008 11:32 AM

BLACKWATER GETS THE JOB DONE......GLAD THERE ON OUR SIDE

Posted by: REALTY1 | January 31, 2008 11:33 AM

to chef777ok
for me it is not sure they are leaving ( if something important happens before november, they could start martial law, some concentration camps seem to be ready )
but if they go ( a lot of people would be glad, i agree )
are you sure that behind the candidates, you could not find the same people ( here the daughter of dick, there kissinger, or bill or pearle or... )?
and if not, enough lobbyist will have the pleasure to change the change!
nb: even worse than Bush/cheney,in my opinion could be mccain.
to be continued

Posted by: bernhard | January 31, 2008 11:50 AM

To Aaron,
You make some important points about the weak basis for many of the feelings towards this company, but I want to touch on something.

"Blackwater employs, and equips well I should point out, only former members of the Special Forces. They are the most disciplined soldiers our military can produce, but apparently the moment they work for a civilian contractor they are assumed to be blood-thirsty, undisciplined, ill-equipped, over-paid thugs and goons. Our military created them. Whatever is true about them isn't the fault or credit of Blackwater. Blackwater just employs them. They were created and trained by our military."

Unless you're a privy to Blackwater's human resources policy, be careful alleging that they only hire former special forces...it may be true, but have something to back up the claim or you're just as subjective as others here. The public opinion that these mercenaries are "blood-thirsty, undisciplined, ill-equipped, over-paid thugs and goons" didn't start at "the moment they work for a civilian contractor." Rather, it began when reports surfaced that they were unruly, violating ROE, and covering up evidence/information.

You seem to make this distinction that the allegations against the Blackwater employees are only because the military trained them to behave the way they allegedly were. This is greatly disingenious to Special Forces and regular armed forces personnel. Notwithstanding the reports of misconduct on the part of those men and women, the Special Forces guys that follow doctrine and serve because of the honor of serving, are still wearing the black, green, red, and tan berets. Those who saw the opportunity to fatten their wallets and behave like vigilante soldier-mercenaries, left service for alternatives like Blackwater. Again, the one's who perform services our regular military cannot are still doing it with a uniform on...not behind the Blackwater logo.

Posted by: Golas Pravdi | January 31, 2008 12:55 PM

pres. chaney , oh i am sorry vp chaney and bushey - boy ought to be tried for treason ..../

Posted by: pat | January 31, 2008 1:39 PM

To: Maddog56,
As Mister T would say, "Pity the fool" I can't believe that you ever served, at least in our military. If you did, I take personal exception to your comments and mental deficiency. Without our military, we would all be speaking a different language, I suggest you get on a slow boat to Anywhere...one way.

Posted by: SFCRVN | January 31, 2008 1:47 PM

The use of deadly force is so serious that I feel there is no justification for putting it out to bid in the private sector. Others may feel otherwise and view it as a great business opportunity.
It is helpful to get as many facts about the use of PSC's as possible in order to have an informed opinion. The WP like most news papers is mostly interested in sensationalism, "if it bleeds it leads", so it is difficult to learn a lot about how this over-reliance on mercenaries with lax accountability came about.
If you really want get some good insight into Blackwater the best source I know of is "The Virgina Pilot" they have been digging into Blackwater for many years and have become the most complete source for FACTS about the company's operations, hiring practices, training and deployments.
http://find.hamptonroads.com/
key word "Blackwater"

Posted by: mark | January 31, 2008 4:04 PM

sorry, too many results, this link goes directly to the "Virgina Pilots" Pulitzer Prize winning series on Blackwater.
http://hamptonroads.com/node/66331

Posted by: mark | January 31, 2008 4:21 PM

I want them gone. They are dangerous. Isn't this why the ATF & FBI took out the Branch Davidians? For storing large caches of munitions & have a radical religious affiliations.

Erik Prince (owner of Blackwater) is an Evangelical Catholic (Kind of weird) that thinks all Islamics are out to kill him.

Posted by: jaymehall | January 31, 2008 7:28 PM

They should have hired David Addington as their lawyer. I would bet he'd have found some obscure law somewhere & had the OLC OK it! Eventually, George will use an Executive signing statement to nullify the case anyway. Of course it will be stamped with his signature stamp by Dick & David :)

David is probably pretty busy keeping the H Resolution to Impeach Cheney in the Judicial Committee & off the floor. I wonder how much it will cost Erik?

Posted by: jaymehall | January 31, 2008 7:34 PM

Isn't it all too familiar? Our own p.Resident uses the same techniques on us; without guns!! Anyone remember the "bully" pulpit?

God help us all to survive just 334 days = New President!! And, November NEW election!

Posted by: RudeRo | January 31, 2008 10:27 PM

The heinous and barbaric use of mercenaries in Iraq and other countries around the world, paid for by the U.S. Federal government is 'indeed' reminiscent of the practices during ancient times and during ancient wars; beating, burning, and decapitating -then putting the victims on display as a 'warning' to the people.
When I saw the broadcasts in 2004 of the brutal killings in Fallujah, I was reminded of Josephus's statement about the beheading of John the Baptist, "Herod had John killed to preempt a possible uprising".
The Iraq war, and Bush's repeated proclamations of the "axis of evil" resound the definition of a crusade, right down to the use of mercenaries (Alexius I's appeal to Pope Urban II for mercenaries to help resist Muslim advances into the Byzantine Empire). Since the 17th century, the term "crusade" has carried a connotation in the West of being a righteous campaign, usually to "root out evil", or to fight for a just cause.
U.S. citizen working as an armed guard could not be defined a mercenary, because he was a national of a Party to the conflict (APGC77 Art 47.d). With the hand-over of power to the Iraqi government, some would say that unless they declare themselves residents in Iraq, i.e. a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict (APGC77 Art 47.d), they are mercenary soldiers, if one does not consider the United States to be a party to the U.S. Occupation of Iraq. Are we conveniently condoning our use of mercenaries to suit our own needs, considering the United States is not a signatory to the Protocol, and due to our inability to handle a war because of our barbarism? (A non-prejorative functional concept of 'barbarian', as sociologists have redefined the term, depends upon a carefully-defined use of the word 'civilization'; based on principles broader than the extended family or tribe, in which surpluses and necessities can be stored and redistributed, and division of labor produces some luxury goods. The 'barbarian' is technically a social parasite on civilization, who depends on settlements as a source of slaves, surpluses and portable luxuries.
We criticized Lebanon's use of the Hezbollah during the fighting in 2006; the hostilities between Israel and Lebanon, saying 'they shouldn't use forces other than Lebanese military', labeling them terrorists. Tell me, what is the difference in their use of the Hezbollah and our use of contrators?! Isn't this kind of like, "The frying pan calling the kettle black", and "Do as I say, but NOT as I do".
Are we in a societal collapse? The most common factors contributing to the collapse of society are environmental, social and cultural. Societal collapse is linked to a shift away from sedentarism. Sedentary societies often come to over use and dominate the land on which they exist. Important non-renewable or slowly renewing resources, enables a gross expansion of population of the society and its social institutions, such as long distance trade, increase in task specialization, as well as the stratification of society are the most salient features of a sedentary society.
One should seriously reconsider whether this war was started to protect this nation against terrorists, or to take control of Iraq's oil resources. Look up the numerous uses of petroleum, and petroleum products in our country to attain a better understanding of our 'desire' to control the oil, then take a look at the articles below:
Yesterday's Opinion Blog in the Washington Post, by Dan Fromkin: Bush Thumbs Nose at Congress (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2008/01/30/BL2008013001912.html
And the article in the McKinsey Quarterly: The New Role of Oil Wealth in the World Economy (http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/The_new_role_of_oil_wealth_in_the_world_economy_2093_abstract)
As well as the New York Times article: Official Calls Kurd Oil Deal at Odds With Baghdad
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/28/world/middleeast/28iraq.html?scp=9&sq=Iraq+Oil+Deal&st=nyt

Have we become the terrorists? As a form of unconventional warfare (e.g., curtailment of civilian standards of living, economic hardship linked to the costs of war; hopelessness to defend against assaults, fear, depression, and disintegration of morale), terrorism is sometimes used when attempting to force political change by convincing a government or population to agree to demands to avoid future harm or fear of harm, destabilizing an existing government, motivating a disgruntled population to join an uprising, escalating a conflict in the hopes of disrupting the status quo, expressing a grievance, or drawing attention to a cause.

The oppression by these Federal contractors in Fallujah, and their blatant Human Rights crimes, should not go unpunished. As described under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights treaty of 1948, ratified by the United State. Listed below are excerpts from the Preamble:

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Article 5 of this treaty states: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

I ask you to look into your moral conscience and decide for yourselves whether these Federal contractors are upholding the precepts of this treaty? Can you morally say you believe them to be innocent? I also ask you to 'think' about what I said a barbarian is, to consider whether we, as a society are collapsing and becoming the terrorist?

I ask you to take a 'long and hard look at what we've become' resultant of the actions of these contractors who broke this treaty, as well as note that their crimes are punishable under International Human Rights Laws.

Posted by: marycarman_b | February 1, 2008 5:45 AM

I have heard many times that Clinton cut the military budget and that is why we have to use mercenaries to take up the slack. I would like to see some references to the military cuts clinton mace. Some proof from a realiable source,not just hearsay.

Posted by: sAMMIE LUCAS | February 1, 2008 8:10 AM

If the Bush administration's disasterous foreign policy wasn't at the root of this, it might be funny. Imagine, the pot calling the kettle black.

By the way, "W's" administration is the reason there are "merc's" running around in Iraq, not Bill's. The whole schmidt sandwich called Iraq is totally on "W's" pea-brain handling of "GWOT"...(what a joke)

Posted by: skiloypet | February 1, 2008 1:02 PM

If we had just outsourced the Iraq "conversion to freedom and democracy" We would not have suffered the killing and injury to our troops and seen a much cheaper and faster completion of the process.

When in need of getting the job done outsource the job to mersenaries such as Blackwater.

Posted by: live free or outsource it | February 1, 2008 2:07 PM

If Blackwater is all former Special Forces, then why aren't these guys still Special Forces-and where are our regular Special Forces who don't cost $160,000 a year?
And then, there's the Air Force-get your pilot's license at gov't expense and then fo fly for the airlnes-


Posted by: clyde2 | February 1, 2008 3:48 PM

clyde2, Blackwater's "shooters are not all special forces or even mostly special forces. If there are any special forces in the personnel security details they would only be for the very very top most government officials, probable only the Ambassador. Who blackwater hires and why is explain in this excellent multipart series from the Virgina Pilot

http://hamptonroads.com/node/66331

Most of the serious wild'n out and arrogant behavior that makes Iraqis hate Americans is probable done by the third or even fourth tier of Blackwater "shooters" guarding very low level American bureaucrats.

Many, perhaps most airline pilots remain in the National Guard throughout their commercial careers

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2008 9:38 PM

All I would suggest is that everyone read the book Blackwater and it will give you an idea of just what the Hell has been going on for some time. Look to Rumsfeld and Cheney and the old boys club with-in the FAR RIGHT!! Dateing back to the 70's.

Posted by: TOMMY GUN | February 5, 2008 3:15 PM

Well, as usual all the arm chair quarterbacks and hot air artists are all over this article. You are as ignorant of the facts in your verbal attacks, as you are of the nerve and abilities to do such a job yourself. I am one of those contractors you accuse of robbing the treasury of your tax dollars. I have worked in Afghanistan and Iraq training Police Officers under contract to the Department of Justice. The contracts were not "no bid" and a number of companies competed for them. I have never worked for Blackwater primarily because they hire only highly qualified military specialists not retired Cops. I am aware of the work they do and no company does it better. They have lost around a hundred of their people in operations in Iraq, but have never lost a client. If you were a Congressman, government official or other dignitary visiting Iraq, you could only hope that your security was being done by Blackwater. For you anti-contractors out there I hate to pop your bubble but this is something that has been going on for at least twenty years, through Republican and Democratic Administrations. Security Contractors are used when the military either does not have the skills to do a job (train police, bodyguard work) or do not have the personnel (convey security). The bottom line is, before you shoot your mouth off, at least get get the facts straight.

Posted by: Ltpar | February 5, 2008 3:33 PM

"I have never worked for Blackwater primarily because they hire only highly qualified military specialists not retired Cops." Sorry Ltpar you need to get your facts straight before you shoot off your mouth.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/19/us/19slough.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin

Paul Slough, Blackwater's main shooter in the Monsour Square massacre was not a "highly qualified military specialist". Just some Joe with a little military experience, mostly in the Texas National Guard.

BTW no one needs you permission to have an opinion and to even to make disparaging comments about Blackwater or any other private military contractor. They are acting in the name of America and should can be held accountable whether you like it or not. If you don't want to get killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, don't go there dude! Very simple

Posted by: mark | February 6, 2008 10:13 PM

The Iraqi Police training done by Dyncorp was by all accounts an abysmal failure and waste of money. If the training in Afghanistan was as bad I would definitely consider leaving that off my resume if I were you.

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