Wednesday, September 19, 2007

US Security Contractors: who has jurisdiction?

Ok folks...I read this little article today at The question posed is who has legal jurisdiction over US Security contractors operating in other countries?

Well, the subject is kind of a grey area, but really, they've been doing a fantastic job up to this point and are necessary since our military does not have the personnel to do the job they're doing over there. I read that the number of contractors from Blackwater security is around 1,000 personnel. There are two other firms operating in Iraq besides Blackwater as clue myself as to how many security contractors are actually over there.

The stink has started over a convoy ambush by insurgents that resulted in the death of a few Iraqi civilians. Okay, the Iraqi gov't is pissed off at Blackwater because of this and wants a thorough investigation done and possible criminal penalties for the contractors involved in the defense of the convoy during said ambush.

My opinion is that it was not the contractors that killed those Iraqi citizens, but the assholes that set up the ambush...blowing up a couple of vehicles with IEDs and opening fire with crew serve weapons.

As I was perusing the comments on this particular story, I came across a very poigniant and elucidating comment by an active duty SSG who has been there and understands these sort of ambushes and what they entail firsthand.

I am going to repost his comment below and as you read it, think about it. Before you start crowing with the rest of the "knee-jerk" lawyers and legislators on this one.

"Now then, let me get this straight.

Blackwater security detail (PSD) doing their usual, gets hit by a complex ambush.

In broad daylight. In an area packed full of people. On either a narrow street or at a restrictive turn, or when civilians tread close enough to slow the PSD down. Classic, by-the-OIF-book, event.

Furthermore, the ambushers (who fit a Sunni or foreign group's profile, since Shias love simple events, using EFPs and few if any small-arms), have watched the kill-zone after a day or more of recce, got a tip somewhere that a target was on it's way (from who?,)and decide to set up.

Now, it's a crowded area. Of course, none of the locals saw the handful of guys carry small arms and a crew-served or two into the area. And none of them saw the pair who emplaced the IEDs. No, not one of them. And I'm sure that none of the locals we're told "no, don't worry, we'll wait till the street is clear before we fire." So, of course, the locals had absolutely no idea that an ambush was on the way. Hence, they stuck around...

...because no Iraqi likes to see violence.

And then the Blackwater vehicle(s) are all where they need to be, the IED(s) get detonated, fire comes in from two or three angles, all over the truck (s), and the Blackwater contractors react in the only way any human-being with a gun, adrenaline burst, incoming bullets, and a wish to live, can: they drive straight through, over whatever is in the way (locals, carts, and the mountains of garbage that decorate any given Iraqi street,)shooting everyone who appears, even vaguely, to be a threat.

Threat being either someone within sight; the Iraqis do not carry signs around their neck, announcing their role as 'Trigger (Wo)Man,' or partial sight, like all of the heads that keep peering up over rooftops, and from around corners. And at muzzle and dust flashes from the ambusher's weapons. And at that confused and terrified old woman who rushes back and forth, not knowing how in hell to get down or away.

And so, the locals, who all knew nothing about the presence of the ambush, die. My question:

Who killed those locals?

Was it Mr. Smith, with Blackwater Inc. who was trying like hell to stay alive, and protect his current customer? Or was it the half dozen or more Iraqis, who disregarded the lives of all the locals in the kill-zone, when they cacked of their ambush?

I know the answer, folks, because I've been there. Take your sanctimonious judgements, and your armchair analysis back to the United States of Abractia, where you live, and do a moral compass check.

These men did as anyone of us would, and regardless of whether they wear a set of digitals, or a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt, they're part of our team, and deserve NOTHING short of your total support."

I am in full agreement with SSG Winn. What do you think?

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