Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"In their contracts, it says they are supposed to report, but whether they do or not is up to them"

Guards in Iraq Cite Frequent Shootings Companies Seldom Report Incidents, U.S. Officials Say

By Steve Fainaru Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, October 3, 2007; A01

Most of the more than 100 private security companies in Iraq open fire far more frequently than has been publicly acknowledged and rarely report such incidents to U.S. or Iraqi authorities, according to U.S. officials and current and former private security company employees.

. . . However, two former Blackwater security guards said they believed employees fired more often than the company has disclosed. One, a former Blackwater guard who spent nearly three years in Iraq, said his 20-man team averaged "four or five" shootings a week, or several times the rate of 1.4 incidents a week reported by the company. The underreporting of shooting incidents was routine in Iraq, according to this former guard. . . . Lightner said responsibility for investigating shooting incidents involving companies under Defense Department contracts falls first to the company itself, then to the contracting officer. . . . "I know that I personally never saw anyone shoot at us, but we blazed through that town all the time," said Horner, 55, a truck driver from Visalia, Calif. "Personally I did not take aim at one person. But I don't know what everybody else did. We'd come back at the end of the day, and a lot of times we were out of ammo."
--full article--
__________________________________________________________________ If this sounds like a military and State Department that's lost its sense of mission, that's because it is. Report if you feel like it guys--otherwise just Rambo around the country between beers. Petraeus is purportedly trying to effect a 'hearts and minds' program on multiple levels, our uniformed military is exposing themselves by trying to lower the confrontations and yet these uncontrolled cowboys are terrifying the population. Not only that, they're making a sport of it.

"From the State Department perspective, they're looking at it as a liability thing: What happens to that round when it goes downrange," said one of the former Blackwater security guards. "I was like: 'Look, give them a chance. Not every Iraqi in a car that's near you is a bad guy.' The guy whose car you shoot up today is also the guy who could be planting an IED [improvised explosive device] tomorrow. And the only reason he changed sides now is the car that took him 10 years of life savings to buy, now you've destroyed it."

America, before Rumsfeld, was never in its history a 'mercenary' country. We pride ourselves (or at least used to) on being a law and order nation and yet in the desperation of having sent too few troops to too complicated a war because of too arrogant a position, the whole house is coming down around our necks. And non-binding resolutions are the best our Congress can come up with. The country is in danger of moral, economic, philosophical and military collapse, yet we find ourselves in the hands of children.


* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Washington at Work, check out Opinion-Columns.com