September 25, 2007

Flagship Contractor Sinking in Blackwater

Guest Writer: L. Vincent Sebastian

Dateline: September 19, 2007

For the third day in a row, the controversy surrounding Blackwater security guards in Iraq is headline news. Last Sunday, the Blackwater guards of a State Department motorcade allegedly killed as many as 20 Iraqi civilians in a firefight with armed insurgents in Baghdad [1]. In response, the Iraqi government suspended Blackwater's license to work in Iraq and has ordered a full investigation of the incident.

This might seem like just another violent episode in the chaos that is Baghdad, but it is much more significant. Secretary of State Condolleezza Rice has been pressuring Prime Minister Maliki to return Blackwater's license, and President Bush himself plans to weigh in on the issue when he meets with Maliki next Tuesday. The revocation of Blackwater's license is fundamentally unacceptable to the Bush administration because it represents a setback in the achievement of their goal of a huge ramp-up in the U.S. private military force, as openly stated by Dick Cheney and other neocons formerly in the administration. The removal of a private security
contractor is not a precedent Bush & company would like to see set. Blackwater, as one of the largest and the most prominent of 28 contractors working in the region, is something of a flagship. The public's perception of Blackwater will be a strong indicator of the public's support for a privatized military.

Editor's Notes:

1. By some accounts there weren't "armed insurgents" shooting at the motorcade.

2. According to DemocracyNow!, Sept. 21, 2007, there is no "license" to be revoked.

A more grave issue being exposed by this controversy is that the US has become dependent on the military contractors. Peace movement activists might consider focusing energy on removing contractors from Iraq to undermine the viability of the occupation.

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