Sunday, April 15, 2007

Murder is My Business

If you've ever had the opportunity to read a magazine along the lines of "Soldier of Fortune" then you are well acquainted with the mercenary wanna be mentality. One of the rarely-examined stories of the Iraqi/Afghan war are the actions of the private security contractors. Today's WaPo has a good story of four such men and questions of their activities in Iraq.

On the afternoon of July 8, 2006, four private security guards rolled out of Baghdad's Green Zone in an armored SUV. The team leader, Jacob C. Washbourne, rode in the front passenger seat. He seemed in a good mood. His vacation started the next day.

"I want to kill somebody today," Washbourne said, according to the three other men in the vehicle, who later recalled it as an offhand remark. Before the day was over, however, the guards had been involved in three shooting incidents. In one, Washbourne allegedly fired into the windshield of a taxi for amusement, according to interviews and statements from the three other guards.

The story goes on to note that while the US military has charged US soldiers and Marines with wrong doing (including murder) in Iraq, "not a single case has been brought against a security contractor, and confusion is widespread among contractors and the military over what laws, if any, apply to their conduct."

Why, you might wonder, is there confusion? After all, murder is murder, whether the finger on the trigger is a US soldier or a private contractor. Right? Well, wrong. In 2004, Paul Bremer (holder of one of Bush's awards of merit for screwing up the war), granted private contractors IMMUNITY from the Iraqi legal process. And although both the military & Congress are trying to create guidelines to prosecute contractors under either US or military law, nothing has been done to this point. So Washbourne, who has denied the allegations, probably need not worry. Apparently he could shout from the treetops that he killed Iraqi citizens whenever he felt like it and remain untouched by justice of any kind.


Blogger TomCat said...

Isn't it wonderful to see our tax dollars at work? :-(

2:07 PM  
Blogger moville said...

i forget the name of the author, but there's a brand new expose just published of one of these private security firms--Blackwater--that seems to be an appendage of the Republican National Committee. quelle surprise.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Stunningly stark and evocative site! I'll get back as soon as I clear some detritus!

3:30 PM  
Blogger Carol Gee said...

Jarring post, L. I can't help but remember how I felt when the U.S. struck the first blow in Iraq, in a war of aggression. I was sick because I had premonitions about what it would do to us, not to mention to Iraqi civilians. It is an awful price, huh? Thanks for the post.

6:02 PM  
Blogger buckarooskidoo said...

To follow up on the book about Blackwater Security... it is titled Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahil.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Karlo said...

As the pigs in Animal Farm said, we animals are all equal but some are more equal than others.

12:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Counter
hit Counter