“All my injuries, the bullets are in my back.”

Wounded Iraqis: ‘No one did anything’ to provoke Blackwater – CNN.com:

Salman says he is a lawyer who was headed from a courthouse to the Ministry of Justice when he found his route blocked by four armored Blackwater SUVs.

The roadblock soon caused a traffic snarl, so armed Blackwater guards began waving at the drivers, telling them to turn around and leave the area.

“So we turned back, and as we turned back they opened fire at all cars from behind,” Salman said. “All my injuries, the bullets are in my back.

“Within two minutes the security force arrived in planes — part of the security company Blackwater. They started firing randomly at all citizens.”

Blackwater, in a statement issued after the incident, denied that gunfire came from aircraft. “The helicopters providing aerial support never fired weapons,” it said.

The firm also said its employees “acted lawfully and appropriately in response to a hostile attack.”

So… think the fact that the Iraqi president kicked them out is actually going to make Blackwater leave? Anybody taking bets?

1 thought on ““All my injuries, the bullets are in my back.””

  1. I don’t think they’re leaving. They’re too connected and too integral to key security operations.

    My guess/bet: Token curtailment of their operations, maybe a pointless “no new contracts and no renewal of existing contracts except where the area CinC grants a waiver” or somesuch.

    The tough part for the U.S. is figuring out how to tell Iraq it can’t have U.S. nationals bound over to the local courts without looking like, well, the real bosses of the country. And without undoing whatever good will there is. And while including a U.S. trial that offers at least a token impression of fairness and justice when Blackwater has lawyers that appear to be far more vicious and scary than the goons it has bouncing along in the back of its escort Hummers.

    What should happen is a recognition that private military contractors (PMCs) have no business operating in the same area as conventional military without falling under the UCMJ, same as the soldiers.

    This all resonates with me now because I edited a book on PMCs a few years ago. I sat down with the author’s proposed illustrations, which included quite a few pictures of Blackwater and Sandstone security people, and they really said a lot about the attitude of some of the people who’ve gone from serving in a Ranger battalion or special ops unit to the looser world of mercenary work: The gear is all military issue, but the demeanor, the way the gear’s worn and the individual variations in pointed opposition to what would be tolerated in a military unit told me the wearers considered themselves liberated from what they’d probably call “regular army bullshit.”

    I served with people who became these guys. In a 150-solider unit, there were always a few — maybe a dozen — who signed up and let the recruiter song-and-dance them into whatever dull job they ended up with, but they spent their time imagining that they were really cut out to be Rangers or whatever. They’d put “U.S. Army Sniper: Don’t Run, You’ll Only Die Tired” stickers on their trucks, read all the “Rogue Warrior” books by the loathsome Richard Marcinko and complain bitterly about how “low-speed” everyone around them was. A bunch of little Roland Wearys, only without the excuse of having actually, you know, seen combat.

    I’m sure the rise of Blackwater has given that sort of person a whole new lease on life. A lot of them were too belligerently stupid to actually pass even the preliminary tests to get into something like Special Forces training, or too lazy to make it as Rangers. I bet they’d make fine little security goons, though. I’d assume that even if Blackwater and its kind are staffed at higher levels by actual Special Forces/Special Operations veterans — people who are bright, capable and generally disciplined — the low-level triggermen are more of a mixed bag of ex-Rangers and conventional types

    So wannabes with heads full of idiocy about what they’d do if they ended up in “the shit” get to cowboy up and experience the freedom of getting to have a goatee and no regulation dress. Even better to them, they aren’t answerable to the conventional military forces they despised back when they were the goons everybody else in the unit smirked at.

    They’re the people most likely to complain about all the rules restraining their conventional cousins, and probably the ones who most needed those rules when they served. And now they’re the ones operating with the most latitude in a counterinsurgency campaign.

    I’m only surprised at how long it has taken for a situation like this to get media traction.

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