Monday, October 01, 2007

Blackwater and the Phenomenon of Private Military Companies

Recent hearings by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Blackwater have focused attention on private military companies or PMCs in Iraq. The House Committee's stated goal is to: "determine whether a State Department contract with Blackwater is undermining the overall U.S. mission in Iraq and whether the department has 'responded appropriately to shooting incidents' involving the security firm. The committee is also trying to gauge what U.S. taxpayers pay for Blackwater services."

But even the Washington Post stopped short of calling for the elimination of PMCs in Iraq altogether, suggesting that the "downsizing of the U.S. military has left the Army without enough people to perform many specialized tasks".

The use of private military companies long predates the US involvement in Iraq. Wikipedia notes that the "Center for Public Integrity reported that since 1994, the Defense Department entered into 3,601 contracts worth $300 billion with 12 U.S. based PMCs." Nor are US government agencies the only customers. According to the Atlantic, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sierra Sierra Leone and private corporations seeking hostage-negotiation or rescue services have been among the biggest customers. Peter Singer, author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry puts the return to private providers of military services in historical perspective. "The Monopoly of the state over violence is the exception in world history, rather than the rule. The state itself is a rather new unit of governance, appearing only in the last four hundred years. Moreover, it drew from the private violence market to build it's public power."


 

Reflecting history, one state which still relies almost entirely on PMCs to provide security is the Vatican, which employs the mercenary Swiss Guards as its army. "Swiss Guards are Swiss mercenary soldiers who have served as bodyguards, ceremonial guards, and palace guards at foreign European courts from the late 15th century until the present day ... The Swiss Guard has served the popes since the 1500s as part of the papal army. Ceremonially, they shared duties in the Papal household with the Palatine Guard and Noble Guard, both of which were disbanded in 1970 under Paul VI. Today the Papal Swiss Guard have taken over the ceremonial roles of the former Vatican units, serving now as the army of the sovereign state of the Vatican."

But why do organizations like the State Department or the Vatican use "mercenaries" instead of regular soldiers to perform military or quasi-military duties? Part of the problem, at least for organizations like the Vatican, the State Department and many Third World countries, is that it is often much cheaper and more reliable to hire a mercenary force than to raise an army themselves. Creating a well-trained, disciplined force requires an infrastructure and tradition which is not always present in places like, for example, Afghanistan. Mercenary forces are used for the same reason that individuals rent cars instead of building their own automotive assembly plants. The economies of scale preclude building them from scratch. There has even been consideration to using PMCs instead of Third World Armies in peacekeeping missions. The advantages are not limited to lower cost. Well-trained mercenaries are often much more professional and respectful of civilians than a poorly trained rabble. Kent's Imperative correctly identifies the one factor that is often ignored in the recent coverage of abuses attributed to Blackwater and other PMCs: how many abuses there might be if they were not used. "In comparison the corrupt and ineffective third country national forces which typically make up the bulk of peacekeeping deployments, PMCs are provable more effective and – despite all of the IO activity aimed at discrediting their activities – far more respectable in most cases." The BBC for example, notes that using UN peacekeepers and similar forces is not without its downside. It reports that the UN itself has photographic and video evidence of "paedophilia, rape and prostitution" engaged in by UN peacekeepers in the Congo, among the several countries in which they have misbehaved. Abuses and violations are doubtless committed by private military contractors. The Earth Times reports that Blackwater "has sacked 122 employees during its years of guarding convoys and buildings in Iraq." But the question might be how many UN personnel or tribal militiamen might be sacked for offenses while performing a similar task.

Then there are also tasks for which the use of national military forces would be inappropriate. Guarding the private property of firms engaged in reconstruction or providing security details for foreign VIPs are examples which readily spring to mind. The White Rabbit at the Blackwater blog points out that PMCs actually have small-war capabilities which large military organizations don't have. Faced with the problem of cheaply delivering supplies to small outposts in Afghanistan, the US military turned to Blackwater Aviation, which had "small, light CASA C-212 cargo planes" capable of dropping supplies from 35 feet altitude with the aid of plastic parachutes -- costing $49 each -- developed for performing emergency relief operations. Blackwater Aviation was used to resupply paratroopers in some of the 22 bases scattered throughout the rugged country. The plastic chutes were so much cheaper than the standard ones that the procedure was to give them away to the locals. Small is sometimes beautiful.

The growing importance of PMCs and the problem of regulating their behavior were touched upon by Donald Rumsfeld during a speech at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Karen Bateman: "There are currently thousands of private military contractors in Iraq and you were just speaking of rules of engagement in regards to Iraqi personnel and US personnel. Could you speak to, since the private contractors are operating outside the Uniform Code of Military Justice, could you speak to what law or rules of engagement do govern their behaviour and whether there has been any study showing that it is cost-effective to have them in Iraq rather than US military personnel. Thank you."

Donald Rumsfeld: "Thank you. It is clearly cost-effective to have contractors for a variety of things that military people need not do and that for whatever reason other civilian government people cannot be deployed to do. There are a lot of contractors. A growing number. They come from our country - but they come from all countries; and indeed sometimes the contracts are from our country, or another country, and they employ people from totally different countries; including Iraqis and people from neighbouring nations. And there are a lot of them and it's a growing number. And of course we've got to begin with the fact that, as you point out, they're not subject to the uniform code of military justice; we understand that. There are laws that govern the behaviour of Americans in that country - the Department of Justice oversees that. The [long hesitation] there is an issue that is current as to the extent to which they can or cannot carry weapons and that's an issue. It's also an issue of course with the Iraqis but, if you think about it, Iraq is a sovereign country, they have their laws and they're going to govern. The UN resolution and the Iraqi laws, as well as US procedures and laws, govern behaviour in that country depending on who the individual is and what he's doing, but I'm personally of the view that there are a lot of things that can be done on a short time basis by contractors that advantage the United States, and advantage other countries who also hire contractors. Any idea that we shouldn't have them I think would be unwise."

The importance of PMCs in a world where small wars against subnational organizations, often waged inside failed states is probably too well established to be challenged. Whatever happens to Blackwater, PMCs are not going away. But the recent activity and coverage of Blackwater in Iraq has aroused the regulatory instincts of Congress; and probably with justice. As the PMCs have grown in power, so has the need to get a handle on them. As the Washington Post editoralized:

More than 130,000 contractors serve the U.S. mission in Iraq, including some 30,000 security guards, and without them it would be impossible for U.S. forces to function. For some time to come, Blackwater or other security companies will be needed to protect senior U.S. diplomats and other personnel. The focus of the current reviews should be ensuring that they conform to the standards governing U.S. troops and can be held accountable when they commit excesses.

We can expect renewed efforts to regulate the PMCs. That effort -- like all other attempts at regulation -- is likely to be a two-edged sword. On the one hand laws are necessary to regulate the affairs of men. On the other hand, it is a truism that in Washington, everything is tainted by politics.

 

35 Comments:

Blogger Wadeusaf said...

It is a real concern, and especially so with the effort to disarm private militias that some distinction be drawn and be enforced between private militias and how these security companies ought to be employed. That is for the Iraqi's to determine, and negotiate with the NGO's, even more than it is our Congress' place to debate.

However it appears to me, the terms of that debate are being shaped by the folks who utilize militias. That is worrisome to me.

I am bothered by the thought that while we are told of tapes showing the misdeeds, I have yet to see, or find reported, that any US or Coalition representative has confirmed the contents of those videos. I may be wrong, but I smell another "pale-wood" in the making.

10/02/2007 01:14:00 AM  
Blogger Stephen Renico said...

Strange how, whenever I read a story on this subject, there is no mention of the Italian condottieri.

They are a much better example of PCMs than the Swiss Guards of the Vatican.

10/02/2007 01:34:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Wretchard,

Thanks for doing a great job of explaining something I've often tried to explain to people who've come to me all outraged about PMCs in general and Blackwater in particular. As I've explained it, an organization like State Department growing their own in-house security capability is challenging; it requires a long time to train them as well as offering incentives to keep them around. Many former SOF personnel are out there, but some are hesistant to lock into the long-term again. A private firm which can gather and re-allocate talent does have an arguable place in things.

But while I see much of the concern over Blackwater to be surrounded by a bunch of opportunistic hysterics by various activist journalists and publications, I'm increasingly finding myself to be concerned about the potential for abuse that goes beyond mere vagaries of applying concepts such as military justice to private firms working in a war zone.

Much has been said about war-profiteering; most people in this forum are familiar with Smedley Butler and realize that gripes about it hardly a new phenomenon. War can become big business and we all know that big businesses do have the capacity to influence political change on their own. There are many people making an awful lot of money off of this war, and I'm not merely referring to perennial bad guys such as Halliburton. Our defense industry spends vast amounts on lobbying and I believe that much of that lobbying contributes to policy decisions that are not precisely in the best interests of the nation, as any number of acquisition boondoggles can attest. When politicians and think-tanks are deeply connected to defense contractors, the problem only worsens.

The sheer expense of Operation Iraqi Freedom thus far is enough to raise some serious questions not just about how we are doing business but on the ultimate affordability of military action versus the value of the post-conflict status change in the security situation.

In their book "Unrestricted Warfare", two Chinese officers analyzed the US's way of war and stressed its "extravagant" cost, which they argued was ultimately something that was unsustainable. They just might have a point. I'm not sure how many more $500 billion regime change bills the US taxpayer will go along with.

Part of the expense of the American way of war can be explained by the cost of our systems and the care we take of our personnel. But in this latest war, I suspect we will find plenty of examples of contractors simply being paid far too much for the delivery of far too little.

An interesting take on the use of PMCs can be found in Ralph Peter's recent column on the topic:

http://www.exilestreet.com/Columns/Peters/20070921PetersLose.html

10/02/2007 03:26:00 AM  
Blogger Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

We should expect ever more of this in future. It was common in South America even 15 years ago.

What's even more worthy of note is that FEDEX, if its numerous former military were armed, has a much greater ability to project force than the vast majority of nations on earth.

Great cover. Seize the airhead. Pile in the mercenaries and supplies. Take the objective.

10/02/2007 05:14:00 AM  
Blogger falcon_01 said...

Bart, great point! We need to contact FEDEX later to set up a covert militant arm (unlike the militant arm of the Salvation Army, which is a pathetic joke...no, really... lol).

They'd be great at "package" delivery and target elimination.

"Sir, I need your signature right here..."

10/02/2007 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger herb said...

I believe that teh congress made these contractors subject to the UCMJ and also that DOD policy is that they follow our ROE in Iraq.

I think that hiring these people to clean up darfur would be money well spent.

The hearings will be a typical Senate show trial with the usual preening mob throwing aspersions on the idea of people dealing in security as a business. Just another day in Washington.

10/02/2007 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

John Burns, noting that Blackwater is almost exclusively ex-military, largely special forces, has yet to lose a client.
---
The problem, he says, began with our old Friend Bremmer: (again!)

Rules were not laid out, and they were given Carte Blanche, which has morphed into force protection to the exclusion of everything else.

10/02/2007 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

With it's ubiquitous brown trucks and uniforms isn't UPS in a much better position than FEDEX to provide PMC services around the world?

Also, don't discount the Salvation Army's usefulness. After centuries of tambourine playing aren't they much more 'in tune' with the ME mindset?

Just wondering.

10/02/2007 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Exactly!
I just took a bunch of Old Claymore mines I had lieing around to the local Army of Salvation.

Multiply that by the population of charitable donors, and it becomes obvious that the
Army of Salvation
is well-Armed,
and ready to Rumble!

10/02/2007 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger demosophist said...

Blackwater, and similar organizations, are subject to the code of military justice but do not come under "rules of engagement," which are designed for units that seek and destroy the enemy. Since their mission is entirely defensive they come under a different set of defensive rules (the nomenclature of which escapes me at the moment).

"There are many people making an awful lot of money off of this war, and I'm not merely referring to perennial bad guys such as Halliburton. Our defense industry spends vast amounts on lobbying and I believe that much of that lobbying contributes to policy decisions that are not precisely in the best interests of the nation, as any number of acquisition boondoggles can attest. When politicians and think-tanks are deeply connected to defense contractors, the problem only worsens."

This isn't intelligible to be. What "worsens," and how? And if private firms are contracted because it's cost effective to do so how does their use drive up, rather than limit, costs? Again, we aren't talking about organizations that can just make up the rules for themselves as they go along. Research Triangle Institute does a lot of reconstruction work, for instance, including rewriting Iraqi history books. But they probably don't have carte blanche to do whatever they like. And employing elements of either the US forces (State or the Military) on the Iraqi equivalent, would probably be more rather than less costly.

10/02/2007 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...

Let's call them what they are: mercenaries, rather than such euphemisms as "private military companies."

10/02/2007 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/02/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

10/02/2007 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger demosophist said...

"Let's call them what they are: mercenaries, rather than such euphemisms as "private military companies."

Again, some of these companies provide defensive military security, but not all and probably not even the majority. Furthermore, the term "mercenary" implies offensive operations, and I don't think even the private military companies are authorized for that, in Iraq or anywhere else. Hence, your correction is just the typical Kos spin. Nice try, but I prefer accuracy and precision over spin.

10/02/2007 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

WHy is it OK to employ private firms for everything else, but not for security?

10/02/2007 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I don't think this discussion has anything to do with soldiers or bullets or civilians being shot at. I think people in Maliki's government and the American left have done everything they can to dislodge American soldiers from Iraq. Democrats and Mookie and his ilk have been calling for American withdrawal for several years now, and have failed abjectly in every attempt to persuade the American public either to back troop withdrawals or to cut funding.

So they fell back, looked around and decided to do an end run on the issue. Trying to ban Blackwater from functioning in Iraq is just a pry-bar in the on-going attempt to force total troop withdrawal, leaving a corrupt and inefficient Maliki government in total control of the resulting chaos.

The first call for Blackwater's withdrawal came from within Maliki's government, but if you review the accusations, it very much reads like a set-up from the get-go with the only intention being to get Blackwater banned and out of the country.

I don't know if the effort was coordinated with or suggested by America's moonbat Left, but they certainly did recognize an opportunity presenting itself and jumped on the bandwagon.

From Mrs.Bill Clinton's point of view, if Blackwater can be driven out of Iraq, can the American military as a whole be far behind? It's the exact same list of wasted money, soldiers running amok and killing innocent wedding parties, and brutish white men massacreing unaware brown people that the Left has been feeding us for years now -- except now they're hired hands instead of soldiers.

And it deserves the same amount of attention and belief as the stories about torture in Abu Ghraib and massacres at Haditha (*and* at Jenin, BTW) have received.

10/02/2007 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

demosophist: You are incorrect. From Rumsfeld's comments above, "as you point out, they're not subject to the uniform code of military justice." Blackwater and other contractors are not part of the UCMJ. They are subject to DOJ rules that have never been reviewed.

10/02/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Nahncee wrote:
"And it deserves the same amount of attention and belief as the stories about torture in Abu Ghraib."

That's rather interesting, Nahncee. Are you suggesting that torture didn't occur at Abu Ghraib?

10/02/2007 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

James Kielland

If you consider the ill mannered behavior at Abu Grahib "torture" then the word has no meaning at all.

Relativism kills language along with common sense.

10/02/2007 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Demosophist, you're looking for "The Regulations on the Use of Deadly Force" I had to sign a copy every time that I stood Staff Duty with an armed guard.

10/02/2007 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

"Ill mannered behavior", Peter?

Really? Relativistic use of language, indeed. I wasn't aware that the military would charge people with aggravated assault and battery, and then sentence them to hard labor, for "ill-mannered behavior." Sounds like something a child might pick up from watching potty-mouthed Canadians on South Park.

10/02/2007 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

That's rather interesting, Nahncee. Are you suggesting that torture didn't occur at Abu Ghraib?


As far as I know, no Arab blood was ever spilled at Abu Ghraib by American soldiers. I do not consider panties on the head nor naked pictures of pretty Arab butts to be torture. So yes, I am suggesting that there was no torture at Abu Ghraib.

10/02/2007 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Nahncee,

Please inform yourself about Abu Ghraib.

10/02/2007 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

J Kieland -- only if you define torture to be: dogs barking at you, naked pyramids, and being led on leashes (in other words normal everyday activity in say, San Francisco) was there "torture" in Abu Graib.

There certainly WAS torture of US soldiers kidnapped by AQ and disemboweled, genitals cut off, beheaded, and the like. THAT is torture. Abu Graib was ... panties on the head. You're not stupid and know this as well as anyone. I can only therefore conclude you are objectively on the other side: AQ's.

As far as PMC goes, there is a reason they will be used in the third world. Any effective military force STAYING in the Third World is a coup waiting to happen. This is why third world nations have bad militaries -- so they cannot overthrow their own governments. Even minimal combat effectiveness has given folks like Master Sgt. Samuel K. Doe unhealthy ideas.

Meanwhile, folks like Blackwater are regulated back home in the US, and cannot engage in takeover of nations because of US governmental oversight. A place like say, Ivory Coast can engage Blackwater to say, combat tribal militias with the knowledge that Blackwater will not stage a coup to run the country.

More oversight up to a point INCREASES the trust that other nations have that firms like Blackwater will not engage in coup-making. Meaning that insurgencies like the MILF, GSPC, Maoists in Nepal, or the slaughter in Darfur could be stopped effectively without engaging large US military forces.

If Liberals were smart they'd offer THIS as a means of action, but they are not particularly interested in winning broad support but rather milking government policies to the exclusive benefit of the elite class.

10/02/2007 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Chas.S. Clifton

Any true mercenaries would switch sides if the Bad Guys paid better.

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol 1)

Article 47.-Mercenaries

1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.

2. A mercenary is any person who:

( a ) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;

( b ) Does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;

( c ) Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;

( d ) Is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;

( e ) Is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and

( f ) Has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

Coalition and Iraqi citizen armed security contractors are not mercenaries. Executive Protection/Personal Security Detail operators are just the top of a discipline which starts at the bottom with Mall Ninjas.

10/02/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

whiskey_199:

"Abu Graib was ... panties on the head. You're not stupid and know this as well as anyone. I can only therefore conclude you are objectively on the other side: AQ's."

This is simply a ridiculous statement on so many levels.

Panties on the head, huh? Then please explain to me why "[t]he U.S. Department of Defense removed seventeen soldiers and officers from duty, and seven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault, and battery."

Why such charges for "panties on the head?"

Since I doubt that the DoD is stupid, I can only guess, by your reasoning, that they are objectively on the side of AQ.

10/02/2007 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

JK,unless you can show us a demonstrable instance of blood being spilled as a result of "torture" then you're hiding behind nit-picking semantics, and should both know better and be ashamed of yourself.

If you define "torture" as humiliating or scaring someone, then your heart is with the terrorists and you don't have any right to be posting on a civilized web-site because you're not.

When you say "educate yourself" obviously what you mean is "allow yourself to become as brainwashed and as dumbed down as I myself am" ... and I refuse.

Back to the thread and away from this red herring of Abu Ghraib, the thought crosses my mind to wonder exactly what all the Democratic Congress-people have found to talk to Maliki's ministers about when they're visiting to see if the war is lost yet, and whether this bushwhack of Blackwater was planned outside of Baghdad, and then implemented there.

10/02/2007 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger demosophist said...

Tom:

"demosophist: You are incorrect. From Rumsfeld's comments above, "as you point out, they're not subject to the uniform code of military justice." Blackwater and other contractors are not part of the UCMJ. They are subject to DOJ rules that have never been reviewed."

My mistake. Since the uniform code of military justice is designed for offensive operations then, as Mike says, they operate under "Regulations on the use of deadly force." But I'm not sure what you mean by "never reviewed." Do you mean they've never come under the scrutiny of SCOTUS, or do you mean Dennis Kucinich doesn't have the power of veto? If they're promulgated by the DOJ or defined by State they've obviously been reviewed. So that handful of spag may not stick to the wall.

10/02/2007 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger List said...

Clifton wrote: "Let's call them what they are: mercenaries, rather than such euphemisms as 'private military companies.'"

Brinks employees are payed to drive armoured cars and carry guns by private companies. Are they mercenaries?

Are private security guards mercenaries? What would local police do without private security guards? How many would we have to take off the beat to stand around guarding high risk private property?

Are private body guards mercenaries? If so, every liberal celebrity is guilty of hiring mercenaries.

Are private detective mercenaries?

The dictionary defines a mercenary: "a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army." Blackwater employees don;t serve in the Iraqi Army. They are are an American security company hired by the American military to protect people. They are body guards not mercenaries.

Get a clue!

10/02/2007 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

List,

I agree with you and was particularly glad you brought in the definition that specified "hired to serve in a foreign army."

Beyond that, I often am amazed by people who think that throwing a particular name on someone or some thing, a process frequently described as "calling it as it is", tantamount to refuting the validity or utility of whatever it is they are describing.

What difference would it make if Blackwater were mercenaries? Even if the definition applied I can't really see what the necessary policy implications could be. For all I know, all sorts of other epithets could apply to them. Goodness, they might even be ill-mannered. None of this would change whether or not they were the optimal solution for the task to which they've been charged.

On the flip side of this is people such as Peter, Whisky, and Nahncee who are adamant about not using a word to describe something in which virtually every definition of that word would apply. Torture, apparently, is bad. Thus, the assaults, the blunt trauma, the lacertions, scarring people with phosphoric acid, the injuries, the raping, and other foul behavior which happened to innocent people simply can't be torture. It's just ill-behavior. And if we can insist against all reasonable and legal definitions that it's not torture, well, it just must be okay. After all, hey, there weren't tortured.

Of course, if American police rounded up people who were just possibly involved in a crime and began humiliating them, well, that would be different. After all, we're bringing democracy, human rights, and dignity to the Iraqis. Oh wait.

It's much like closing the barn door after the horse has ran away. It's only been condemned by numerous governments as torture. It's been condemend by the vatican as torture. Images of Abu Ghraib have been held high in protests around the world, American diplomacy and even investments have been hurt by it. The Pentagon has sent people to jail for it, Rumsfeld's condemned, even Bush himself has condemned it. The damage is done and continues to be done.

And yet, here in this forum we have those who insist that if just talk ourselves into believing the definition doesn't quite fit, there was really no problem at all, no damage done, and no escaped horse. Just close that gate, please.

10/02/2007 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

It was a gross violation of the rules, and pandering to PC-leftists. See: Fallujah (Brass wanted to charge a Marine with a war crime for killing a jihadi), or Haditha (ditto) or Afghanistan where two Special Forces Rangers who shot a wanted Taliban on orders were charged with ... MURDER. [Finally, charges were dropped]

The word is LAWFARE. One that PC-brass pandering to the Democratic Congress who is in charge of promotions (Presidents come and go, Congress remains) panders to in order to increase their promotion chances.

Reality check: who's care would you rather be under: Corporal Grainer's and Pvt. England's, or al-Baghdadi's?

Abu Graib was not torture. Indiscipline leading to degrading treatment, but hardly torture. No drills, beheadings, disembowelments, or cutting off of genitals there. Let's be honest.

"the blunt trauma, the lacertions, scarring people with phosphoric acid, the injuries, the raping,"

None of that happened as shown by testimony in court at Abu Graib. That was the experience of the torture houses AQ runs (which no member of the media, Democrats, Human Rights groups, or any other "liberal" has condemned) where that and FAR FAR WORSE happened and happens on a regular basis. AS POLICY.

This is pure Propaganda JUNK. Like the fake "massacre" at Jenin, the Mohammed al-Dura (faked killing of a kid by "evil" Israeli Army soldiers), the "fauxtography" in Lebanon with faked plumes of smoke, the faked/staged propaganda of dead bodies with the same Hezbollah propagandist in the Hezbollah War and more. Like fake "Koran in a toilet" that leads to wincing, apologetic treatment at Gitmo -- handling Korans with gloves by the infidel.

There *ARE* a few notorious incidents of abuse that occurred elsewhere in Iraq and were swiftly punished.

But let's be honest -- Abu Graib is the story of Affirmative Action (female General too incompetent and afraid to lead/discipline her troops, aka Gen. Karpinski) leading to lack of leadership that allowed the night shift only under the "leadership" of a corporal to engage in degrading behavior for his own twisted amusement. But not "torture" -- as stated people in San Francisco pay good money for that treatment.

The real story of Abu Graib is that women make in the main lousy military leaders because they can't exercise authority and command zilch respect from men.

[That the usual hard-left anti-American/anti-Semitic Lefties trolling for Muslim votes in Europe seize on Abu Graib as "torture" while engaging in the same behavior in private is a measure of stupid it is to call things by the wrong names. And let's be honest -- the same stupid Lefties condemning the rape/murder of the 14 year old girl in Iraq (not at Abu Graib btw) would hug in a microsecond OJ or Robert Blake or Roman Polanski.]

10/02/2007 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Interesting the left in America goes hard after Blackwater as unlawful combatants ,but wants to treat the nihilistic barbarians in Al Qaida as fully covered by the Miranda decision and every liberal shibboleth.It is total moral insanity.
James Kielland, no one was tortured by the Nation Guard dopes at Abu Graib. Torture would be filling a syringe with pig's blood and sticking it an inch from Khalid Shaik Mohammed's eyeball and saying "You've got three seconds to speak you fascist piece of garbage and if you don't you'll head for Hell a few years early. Unfortunately that only occurs in my wildest fantasies. Keep living in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood James, you'll be right...right dead.

10/02/2007 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

From Errand to Fatal Shot to Hail of Fire to 17 Deaths
New details have emerged on an episode involving a Blackwater USA convoy that killed 17 people and left 24 wounded.
Blackwater Chief Testifies
Times Topics: Blackwater USA

10/02/2007 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger davod said...

Doug:

I see no new details in those NYT articles. I hope you are not a shill trying to boost the hit rate for the NYT's.

10/03/2007 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

These statistios found on the BLACKVIVE site:

"If you simply caught the tone of the breathless headlines you would assume they have been leaving a trail of bodies everywhere they go. And yet the very report that has gobsmacked so many says they have been in an average of 1.4 escalations of force per week that involved gunfire, and 80% were initiated by Blackwater.

Since this number would include warning shots fired, this means that of more than 16,000 missions run by Blackwater they have had only 195 incidents of shooting and they have had a grand total of ZERO of their protectees killed.

Let's say that again, ZERO of the most important targets in Iraq were killed while under Blackwater protection." (http://www.blackfive.net/main/)

Maybe a litle perspective is required.

10/03/2007 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

doug rarely has anything pertinent to add to the topic, and almost always posts to strew links and headlines, like a maddened shephardess gamboling through a meadow tossing daisies every which way. I guess it's easier than getting his own blog.

10/03/2007 06:34:00 AM  

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