Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Dept. of Illuminating Juxtapositions: On his daily visit to Truthout, Zemblan patriot B.K. was amused to discover the following items side-by-side:
Iraq Shootout Firm Loses LicenceIt was only last week that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney named Cofer Black, the vice chairman of Blackwater, as his top counterterrorism advisor. Should Mitt's team be embarrassed by the news from Baghdad? Not in our book. Who but the Blackwater honcho has come up with an exit strategy that's proven to work?
Iraq has cancelled the licence of the private security firm, Blackwater USA, after it was involved in a gunfight in which at least eight civilians died.
The Iraqi interior ministry said the contractor, based in North Carolina, was now banned from operating in Iraq . . . .
Thousands of private security guards are employed in lawless Iraq. They are often heavily armed, but critics say some are not properly trained and are not accountable except to their employers . . . .
A spokesman for the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said she wanted to ensure that everything was being done to avoid the loss of innocent life and to make sure this kind of incident never happened again . . . .
Blackwater is reputed to have a contract worth $300m (£150m) with the state department to protect its diplomatic staff and equipment in Iraq.
The company, whose personnel have no combat immunity under international law if they engage in hostilities, has so far refused to comment on the shootings.
Sunday's violence followed the publication of a survey of Iraqis which suggested that up to 1.2m people might have died because of the conflict in Iraq.
'Help Wanted' Ad Belies Report on Iraq Security
A week ago today, Gen. David H. Petraeus started his rounds on Capitol Hill, reporting that security in Iraq was improving to the point that a small number of troops could begin coming home by year's end.
But 10 days ago, his commanders in Baghdad began advertising for private contractors to work in combat-supply warehouses on U.S. bases throughout Iraq because half the soldiers who had been working in the warehouses were needed for patrols, combat and protection of U.S. forces.