Tuesday, October 02, 2007


They say that data is not the plural of anecdote, and the dead-enders who still support this administration do not appear to be persuaded by either. Here are another couple of anecdotes about the Republicans' Culture of Accountability:

Parody Surge Hits Mil Contractors in Iraq

A few days ago the State Department released what it called a "first blush" report on the Blackwater incident in Baghdad, a report which largely exonerated the Blackwater personnel involved.

I noted at the time that "first blush" was something of an understatement since the report was based exclusively on statements the State Department took from Blackwater operatives on the scene. In other words, the Blackwater employees who did the shooting gave State an account that largely exonerated themselves. A truly shocking development.

But it seems that I was behind the curve on the level of caricature and self-parody that is the military contracting biz in Iraq these days.

The report was written out of the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the folks who hired Blackwater to provide security for US diplomats in Iraq. But it turns out that the State Department employee who interviewed the Blackwater folks and wrote the report, Darren Hanner ... well, he wasn't a State Department employee. He was another contractor from Blackwater.

So yes, you've got that right. We've now reached what can only be called the alpha and the omega of contracting accountability breakdown ridiculousness. We're outsourcing our investigations of Blackwater to Blackwater.

Still More Blackwater Goodness

Back in December, when a drunk Blackwater contractor blew away one of Iraqi VP Adel Abdul Mehdi's bodyguards, an official with State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security decided to low-ball the financial compensation for the man's family so as not to give an incentive for Iraqis to "try to get killed to set up their family financially."

The initial suggestion from Embassy personnel of $100,000 to $250,000 was lowered to $15,000 to the man's family.

--Josh Marshall


Blogger sexyretard said...


I have joined the bourgeoisie and have purchased a house. I will soon occupy it with all sorts of protetariat abusing devices such that servants can be moved in immediately. Unfortunately for me, it means my days in the Brigade are numbered (I'm moving down toward Starved Rock--I've had just about enough sirens, so I'm trading them for factory and train noise in the town of Marseilles)

As for Blackwater, well, of course. I don't see how feasible it is to police the police when our soldiers have IEDs blowing about. Some Democrat made the effective point that Blackwater is what happens when you don't have sufficient personnel actually in the military to do what is being asked of it.

I would argue that Blackwater is not the problem but the symptom. The problem is that you just cannot force civility or peace on a nation that largely sees you as busybodies and crusaders. For all the criticism heaped upon him, wasn't it the Powell Doctrine that called for clearly defined exit strategies? Do we even have an exit strategy?

The war was obviously in grave error, but an even graver error comes in the form of our nation building. Once Hussein was captured, who exactly was going to produce WMDs (especially as his capability had been so greatly exaggerated?). Once he was caught, why didn't we go over to Iran (just one letter off and right next door!) who we knew had "nuclear ambitions?"

So I think to blame Blackwater is incomplete. I would expect any private security firm to be pulling this kind of stuff in a warzone, and we have to admit that wars are bad things that lead people within them to do bad things. It has to be a very stressful situation over there and people are bound to snap.

6:09 AM  

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