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Blackwater CLEARED In Iraq Killings

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Bloviating Zeppelin: Blackwater CLEARED In Iraq Killings

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Blackwater CLEARED In Iraq Killings

From The Washington Times:
A federal judge dropped Thursday all charges against five contractors with the former Blackwater security firm, who had been accused of massacring 17 Iraqi civilians in a notorious 2007 gunfight.

In a stunning New Year's Eve decision, U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina likely ended the politically charged case in a sharply worded ruling, accusing the Justice Department of making its case to the grand jury by using wrongly compelled testimony from the defendants, thus violating the defendants' Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

A number of persons in the Blogosphere, including myself, were suspicious of the charges brought so swiftly and harshly against the five Blackwater defendants, who were charged with voluntary manslaughter and "firearms violations," with the federal government accusing all the men in every death, rather than charging specific individuals with killing specific Iraqis. All five were facing mandatory 30-year federal prison terms.

Those working with or knowing of Blackwater contractors realize that they take their jobs very seriously and, if they were ineffective, they would not have been tasked (at the time) with diplomatic protection of US State Department officials.

It was four Blackwater contractors who were killed and their bodies burned and then strung from a Fallujah bridge in March of 2004.

The charges reminded me of Capt Willard's quote from 1979's "Apocalypse Now" -- "Charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500."

The situations in combat are, at best, "fluctuous." Anyone involved in an actual firefight, limited (as in myself) or all-out with multiple threats, know that there is little time to pause in sublime reflection. Not if you value your life.

Further, when the ROEs change, are obscure or subject to revamping by time, day, threat or suspect, one cannot logically expect that some confusion will not result.

This was clearly the proper decision.



Blogger Law and Order Teacher said...

Great quote. Firefights are hectic and everyman for himself. Nothing good there. The worst though are stand-off weapons that you know nothing about. That's frightening.

These animals who perpetrated this crime deserve nothing but the comtempt of human beings. The fact that our servicemen and women are on trial is horrible. I have a feeling we've only seen the beginning with Holder in charge.

Happy New Year, BZ.

Fri Jan 01, 02:05:00 PM PST  
Blogger Tim said...

The person they should put on trial is getting a pension and round the clock Secret Service protection is Texas.

Fri Jan 01, 02:13:00 PM PST  
Blogger WoFat said...

Good move.

Fri Jan 01, 02:54:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

LOT: I suspect it will be a continuing trend, indeed. I believe this administration has made that perfectly clear.

Tim: Trial? For what purpose or charge? If you're talking about dim ROEs, and his responsibility for them, I would tend to concur.

WoFat: chalk 1 for the US. Today.


Fri Jan 01, 05:39:00 PM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Its not like Congress and the President could figure out what they needed to do in the first place. Trying to give ersatz coverage under civil law for contractors overseas is ridiculous. Getting these two branches to actually understand what it is they want and what their powers are to execute it is beyond the capabilities of the members involved: they can't bother to read the Constitution.

No part of the government should be hiring 'armed contractors'. Period.

If you need a group of civilians to work on the military side then get Congress to do its job and put the necessary guidelines out via the Letters Language so that everyone knows what the requirements are and how you meet up with them. The Executive can then call upon such civilians under that Language using the Executive's power to call on those groups that are sanctioned, and they then fall under MILITARY LAW. Yes that does give those organizations the opportunity to also independently go after those that they are sanctioned to go after with those Letters as is intended as punitive damages to private organizations making war on us. That is what the Letters Language is for in the first place: not to get 'mercenaries' but to get volunteers to hazard their lives hoping to track down and strike back against those private organizations that no one else can get to.

We apparently have a few hundred dipsticks Upon The Hill who can't read and figure out the Laws of War. Strange how this was done by Congresses up through the 19th century and now, here in the lovely 21st century, no one can actually bother to read our own history and our own Constitution and do the right thing. Just like the Oath they take says: uphold and defend the Constitution.

Fri Jan 01, 06:11:00 PM PST  
Blogger Maggie M. Thornton said...

Yes, this was the right decision. We cannot put people in these perilous positions and expect them not to care when their peers are brutalized - and that includes soldiers.

We have shown such incredible restraint, yet still our troops are hauled into courthouses. It's obscene.

Fri Jan 01, 06:53:00 PM PST  
Blogger cj said...

Finally, an intelligent judge.


Fri Jan 01, 09:16:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't hold "contracted" warriors to a different standard from those you employ directly.

Sat Jan 02, 04:29:00 AM PST  
Blogger Old NFO said...

While this incident. Brings to light two issues, one the fog of war, and two the whole contractor in a war zone issue, the judge did the right thing! This also illustrates how short handed our military and DPS folks really are.

Sat Jan 02, 10:15:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ & Old NFO: you bring up two VERY salient points: 1) Why contractors who are tasked with fighting? What is it they can do that our military cannot?

-- Which brings me to a bump in the comment: were these contractors hired to protect certain diplomatic principals precisely BECAUSE they were NOT the military and therefore did not have to operate under such strict ROEs, therefore allowing the principals to acquire "different" or "better" protection? Or, on the other hand, because Blackwater provided equally good coverage AND, if engaged by enemy forces, the US could politically "cast them aside" more EASILY than they could military protection?

And 2) we went with Blackwater with specialized tasks because we truly did NOT have sufficiently-trained personnel in protectorate duties? That we WERE or ARE that short in personnel in certain duty areas?


Sat Jan 02, 10:35:00 AM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

Next shoe to drop?
The case against the Seals.

Sat Jan 02, 11:24:00 AM PST  
Blogger Ron Russell said...

From the very beginning this was a move by the Obama White House and Eric Holder in the justice department to placate voices coming from outside the United States and some far left voices in this country. It was never a matter of justice. It was easy for those in the administration to take this position given their lack of love for the military and those associated with it. I bet this pissed Eric Holder and Barack off---made my day!!

Sat Jan 02, 11:31:00 AM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

I don't have trouble with Blackwater for commercial work and even some protection of personnel assets for the government, but that is for individuals. The State Dept. was employing Blackwater as a security force, and yet that is the duty of the USMC. What was suspected was State using Blackwater for its own purposes that were not cleared in-theater. While that is tangential to the actual case, the pattern is not one that is sanctioned for war zones where the military should be protecting our State Dept. personnel. That is the problem with 'private contractors' in Public War areas: they blur the line of military accountability. It is even worse when fighting those waging Private War against us, as there is no easy way to differentiate between those enemies and contractors.

That is the very reason we have the Letters Language: to empower civilians willing to hazard their lives to go after our Private Enemies and be ready to serve at the President's behest for military situations. It is the only sanction we have to combat those waging Private War upon us: private citizens sanctioned with military writ can go where our military cannot go... and risk their lives in the process for the hope they did everything right to garner a gain from it. When having such sanction such individuals must be in identified uniform (even if different from standard military it must identify the individual and their sanction source) to achieve their ends.

If we do not have proper military personnel to cover State Dept. personnel in a war zone, then those personnel should not GO to a war zone without sanctioned coverage. I would greatly prefer the USMC, but a unit operating under the Letters Language is perfectly acceptable as they fall under military law when in a war zone. Again that is not operating as a mercenary force or ersatz para-military force, but as a sanctioned force by Congress for use by the President just as is outlined in the Constitution and federal regulations developed for this sort of thing.

I have no animosity towards Blackwater, but they should have known this is not how you operate in a war zone for protecting government personnel. State Dept. should have known better and so should DoD, DoJ, and all of Congress.

As a Nation we can either do this properly or reap the rewards of blurring Public and Private War and returning to the Law of Nature. I don't recommend it, but that is the path we are on.

Sat Jan 02, 02:11:00 PM PST  
Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

No matter how you feel about Blackwater, the prosecutors here completely mismanaged this case. The judge was right in his ruling.

Sat Jan 02, 02:55:00 PM PST  
Blogger Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

It's about damn time these charges were dropped. This has been a ridiculous travesty.

Sat Jan 02, 05:20:00 PM PST  
Blogger shoprat said...

A judge who has never been under enemy fire has no business ruling on a combat situation.

Sat Jan 02, 07:48:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Greybeard: I completely concur; but it is my understanding that the SEALs themselves called for the courts martial in order to force the government's hand, which is poor at best.

Ron: and yes, agreed. How is it that people can never make the connection between the freedoms they enjoy, the freedom to do what they're doing now, to achieved the things they've achieved in their lives, and the historical sacrifices made by our military forces, our finest warriors? Where do they think such courage comes from? Where do we find such people? What if EVERYONE in this country was a TAKER instead of selfless?

Concepts beyond their meagre understanding.

AJ: you make a good point about blurring the lines.

Wyatt: correct. There was an agenda here and it showed.

PCC: also correct. Obama and Holder are gnashing their teeth even now.

Shoprat: but oh, they'll all tell you that's the ONLY way they can operate.


Sat Jan 02, 08:16:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blackwater got what they deserved.

Sun Jan 03, 08:12:00 AM PST  
Blogger Tim said...

The charge would be "waging aggressive war" on a country that had not attacked us, I.E. Iraq. There were no WMD's and Bin Laden link. This is now Al-Qeuda in Iraq, thanks to W's stupid adventure into the wrong country when we should have finished what we started in Afghanistan.

Sun Jan 03, 09:24:00 AM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

Tim, do you ever do any original thinking?

Sun Jan 03, 12:08:00 PM PST  
Blogger Tim said...

Why yes, Greybeard, I did. I have been against the war in Iraq since long before it started. Do you do any original thinking since you support it?
Look, I agree with BZ that the Blackwater guys being prosecuted is ridiculous, but my point is that Bush "could" be brought up on charges of waging agggresive war, just like the Nazis at Nuremburg in the hypothetical.
Why is it, when you have a disagreement with a neo-con, they don't argue the point on the merits, but start right in on queastioning your intellegence? GB, your political orientation is far of the right of the mainstream.
Mine is to the left of center. We are both veterans who served our country honorably. Let's try to have a friendly discussion, and not a insult fest, ok?
So break it down for me, oh thou that is "smarter" than I. No UN approval, "pre-emptively" attacking another country on "possible" posession of WMD's (which, by the by, WE POSESS). Hundreds of thousands of dead later, no WMD's, and no Bin Laden link (and please, don't try to recite the old neo-con line that Cheney is) can we justify goin' in there?
BZ- I'd say awful slim ROI (return on investment). Couple trillion dollars, and for what? Bases? Oil? What, exactly, did we get for all the blood and treasure?
Sorry if you think that's "unoriginal" GB. Maybe thousands are asking the same question.

Sun Jan 03, 03:27:00 PM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

I claim to be smarter than no one. Please do not put words in my mouth.
Also, I'm offended by the term Neocon. I'm not Jewish, therefore I'm not a Neocon. (Sensitive people avoid the term.)

U.N. approval?
Ha. Trying to get the U.N. to do anything efficiently, other than rape children and shake down rich countries is an impossibility.
You're smart enough to know that.
But they were sure issuing resolutions to try to get Iraq to knuckle under, weren't they?
(I suppose the resolutions just weren't worded strongly enough?)

No weapons of mass destruction?
You do know they DID find some, don't you? (The yellow cake the liberals raised such holy He## about in Bush's State of the Union address.)

Are you insinuating we must have U.N. permission to protect ourselves, Tim?
If so, God help us.

Sun Jan 03, 08:34:00 PM PST  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

No greybeard "they" didn't find some wmd in Iraq. despite the lies of Rick Santorum and Pete Hoekstra. And the yellowcake from before 1991 sold in 2008 to Canada is not Bush's Yellowcake from Africa bullshit.

Mon Jan 04, 01:45:00 AM PST  
Blogger Tim said...

GB- NeoCon does not mean Jewish Conservative. While true that the founder of the Neo Con movement was Jewish, it is not a slieght against Jews. Please.Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, and Rice are all Neo-cons. As G-A-Gene said, that yellow cake was another load of BS. "Protecting ourself"? From what? A non-existent threat. Declaring war because you think, thru some silly mental gymnastics that Iraq might attack us "someday" is waging aggresive war. The same thing that we found Nazi war criminals guilty of and executed them for. Your silly comment about the UN being child rapers only proves you have nothing constructive to bring to your arguement.

Mon Jan 04, 04:00:00 AM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

You are mistaken.
By definition:
Neo-con means "New Conservative", or someone who WAS something else but is now conservative.
I'm ready for your next, sir!

Mon Jan 04, 12:09:00 PM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

And further, Tim-
Check here and elsewhere on Google.
Are you honorable enough to apologize?

Mon Jan 04, 12:17:00 PM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

More horseplop, Grung e...
Check it out.
I'm waiting, Dude.

Mon Jan 04, 02:42:00 PM PST  
Blogger Tim said...

GB-"ne·o·con·ser·va·tism also ne·o-con·ser·va·tism (n-kn-sûrv-tzm)
An intellectual and political movement in favor of political, economic, and social conservatism that arose in opposition to the perceived liberalism of the 1960s: "The neo-conservatism of the 1980s is a replay of the New Conservatism of the 1950s, which was itself a replay of the New Era philosophy of the 1920s" (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.)"
No racism against Jews. I'm sorry but you are standing on thin ice.

How do you feel about THIS website?

Photos released by CBS news of US Army troops raping and sodomizing Iraqi women at Abu Garib?

As an Army vet, I'd like to generalize and say you must be no better than they are, but that is ridiculous. Just because a few UN peacekeepers paid 13 year olds a dollar to have sex does not mean the entire UN is nothing but child rapers, so please, grow up and stop with the wild accusations.

And finally, yes, Iraq had some old artillary shells that contained mustard gas. Big deal. They were probably left over from the Iran/Iraq war since 1980. I guess they give crackpots a fig leaf to justify the hundreds of thousands of dead, and trillions of dollars of treasure expended because "see! we found some WMD's!"

You'll be waiting along time for that apology, bud. Like when Hell freezes over

Tue Jan 05, 06:23:00 AM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

Not surprised Tim...
Not surprised.

Tue Jan 05, 06:50:00 AM PST  
Blogger Tim said...

I'm not surprized, either. I've picked apart all of your "arguements" because they were all fallacious Neo-Con babble. Do you ever have an original thought?

Tue Jan 05, 07:18:00 AM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

You've "picked apart" nothing.
All you've done is admitted there WERE in fact WMD in Iraq, and you've shown your total ignorance about what a "neocon" is:
"Q: Is it automatically anti-Semitic to single out neocons as being the planners and instigators of the war in Iraq?

Rich Lowry: No. No. It would be false. It wouldn't necessarily be anti-Semitic. It would be accurate to say that some of the most articulate and powerful expressions of the case for war have come from people who are neoconservatives. So that's not anti-Semitic. But if you take a couple of steps beyond that, you begin to get into territory that is a little shady, I would think."

For those without closed minds, the rest of that article is here.

And Tim, you are a sad waste of time.

Tue Jan 05, 07:23:00 AM PST  
Blogger Tim said...

GB- Your Neo-Con article link proves nothing more than that even a bunch of right wing pundits can't even agree who is a Neo-Con. I gave you a definition. Disagree if you want, but it is not Anti-Semitic. "Sensitive people avoid using the term" what a load you are shovelin' son! Like most of your ilk you resort to exageration and when called on it next comes that insults.

And I hardly consider 500 old, expired mustard gas shells WMD's. Yes, you can crow that finally, they "found something".
You, sir are a sad waste of time.
Keep buying guns and ammo and stacking those cans of tuna fish in the fallout shelter while the rest of us enjoy life. :o)

Tue Jan 05, 08:40:00 AM PST  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

greybeard no those 1980's era shells with degraded non-effective toxins are not wmds. You are completely incorrect.

Wed Jan 06, 01:06:00 AM PST  

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