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Throw the Baby Out with the Blackwater, Please.

Damon's picture

There are few headlines sweeter than this. Bye, Bye, Blackwater:

U.S. will not renew Blackwater contract in Iraq

Fri Jan 30, 7:00 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department has told Blackwater Worldwide, the private security firm whose guards are accused of killing Iraqi civilians while protecting U.S. diplomats, that it will not renew its contract in Iraq.

The move was not a surprise following Iraq's decision to deny a license to Blackwater, which drew intense criticism after its guards opened fire in Baghdad traffic in 2007, killing at least 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians.

One Blackwater guard has pleaded guilty in U.S. court to voluntary manslaughter and attempt to commit manslaughter over that incident, while five others are awaiting trial next year on manslaughter and other charges. The firm denies wrongdoing.

"The department notified Blackwater in writing on January 29 that we do not plan to renew the company's existing contract for protective security details in Iraq," said State Department spokesman Richard Aker.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell was unable to confirm the State Department decision. "We understand that the State Department is exploring its options, and we are awaiting direction from our customer," she said.

It's a small win, as they will just be replaced by other contractors, but its a moral victory, if you ask me. Now, our Hillary of State has some serious work to do: helping in getting us out of Iraq, entirely.

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Submitted by hipparchia on

but i'll keep them to myself, other than to say, yes, this was worth noting. thanks for pointing it out.

Submitted by jawbone on

duties in general. Incredibly expensive, allows government (or parts of it) to do off-book things which the public may never learn about. But this is just one merc entity. What about all the rest?

When the news came out that the Iraqi government declared Blackwater would no longer be permitted to work in Iraq, I wondered if the Obama admin had any role in either giving a go ahead to this or asking the Iraqis to do this. Or did the Iraqis figure that with a new US admin they could do what they wanted to do...on this.

Plus, the ban applies only to the corporate entity, Blackwater; the Blackwater employees (unless under indictment and liable to Iraqi justice, in which case they're probably out of Iraq by now) can be hired by any of the remaining mercenary businesses and continue to work in Iraq. Those other merc companies also have some ugly incidents in their time in Iraq.

So, yes, it is interesting, important. What I want to see is what does Obama do about the proliferating contracting out of military functions. Will he order investigations of the KBR and other Haliburton-connected no-bid contracts. Will he bring jobs back to armed services. Lots of questions.

Oh, and will Obama ensure that workers for the contracted services companies no longer treat their imported workers like slaves. That's a biggie, for me.

And can't forget the reports of contractors doing some of the really ugly "interrogation" work.

So, where are the Congressional investigations??