I didn't think Blackwater even had a license from the Iraqi government that can be revoked. They operate under some weird, quasi-independent authority from the U.S. government.
The idea is that Iraq is a sovereign nation, so the US Government can't do that. We'll see how it plays out.
I believe Blackwater operates under laws that were created by the Coalition Provisional Authority and continue to exist but can only be enforced during a few months of 2003 when that entity existed. This is also the legal regime under which war profiteers are entitled to guaranteed profits of however much they demand, do not have to actually bid for contracts, and have no obligation to fulfill the terms of their contract.
This can't be correct. Blackwater, as a private corporation, is merely responding to market forces in an effort to reap the rewards of efficiently deployed capital. Thus, the reason they are driving high-speed conveys around Iraq shooting to death random Iraqis is because there is a demand for such services, and they are filling it. And, because so much of this activity is occurring in Iraq, it must be Iraqis that are the source of this demand.
Thus, through the power of free markets, we can conclude that Blackwater contractors are shooting random Iraqis to death because the Iraqis want them to. If we want to discourage this behavior I suggest we raise Blackwater's marginal tax rate, but please be aware of the inefficiencies and dead weight loss this will bring to in the Iraqi economy.
Comment 3 may not actually make sense. It does seem though that the CPA was basically a shell company created by the US government executive branch to make contracts with war-profiteering companies so that there would not be any potential plaintiffs in any potential cases that could be brought against said companies for wasting taxpayer money. The Bush administration consistently takes the side of war-profiteers against whatever vestiges of the Justice Department still care about the rules that are supposed to govern contractors. This article may potentially make some people slightly infuriated.
Howard Kurtz - the WaPo's media reporter - is a reliable spokesman for the corrupt conventional wisdom, and he's got a column out today that explores the difficulties involved in reporting the truth. (Skip down to the part headlined "Capturing Reality Is Harder Than It Seems.")
Shorter Kurtz: "What is truth, he said, and he washed his hands."
"companies" s/b "corporations", if there's a difference.
This article may potentially make some people slightly infuriated.
I'm now envisioning little public-awareness videos a la the film Starship Troopers, each segment ending with the tag-line, "Would you like to be infuriated?" and a link.
Shorter Kurtz: "What is truth, he said, and he washed his hands."
I can even imagine someone pointing to this Times article as evidence of good reporting: it says right there that they've been indiscriminately shooting people. But that's exactly my point, that even accurate stories can be misleading, depending on just how they're presented.
My recollection is that in Empires of the Dust, the author presents initial Iranian anger at the US as, in part. a function of the Americans' ability to speed recklessly, kill, and not be charged. So maybe Muslims just really don't like speeding.
Blackwater is ugly and their being rejected is a nice symbol; it would be great if this became an issue people here became aware of. But Blackwater security were the ones who enforced the restriction on videotaping in NO after Katrina. If americans are indifferent to mercenaries policing the US to keep order, how much less likely that foreign activities will cause alarm.
Looking at alarming ends rather rather than alarming means, there's cholera in the water north of Baghdad; cholera outbreaks are generally caused by fecal contamination of drinking water. I wonder about the ratio (US engineers paying attention to water pumping network)/(US engineers paying attention to oil pumping network). Does anyone know of good sources (blogs or journalists) for life in Kirkuk?
Right now the blurb on the nytimes.com front page is:
Security Firm's License Is Pulled in Iraq
By SABRINA TAVERNISE 24 minutes ago
Iraq's government has revoked the license of Blackwater USA after shots fired from a convoy killed eight Iraqis.
it doesn't mention "after repeated killings of Iraqis", but still an improvement, perhaps?
ok, it's a new article the NYT just put up, which does more to highlight the killing problem. you can click here for the new article.
Kurtz is a reliable shill; it's a continuing source of irritation to me that he is perhaps America's highest-profile media "critic". Perhaps I'll get a pearl out of it.
10 - They don't like liberals; they do like God and guns! You can see why the Heritage Foundation thought they'd greet us with flowers and candy. Who knew the relationship would founder on their insistence that we drive 55?
He said the government would prosecute the deaths, though according to the rules that govern private contractors, it was not clear whether the Iraqis had the legal authority to do so.
This is a funny sentence from the last linked article. What 'rules' are there that govern private contractors and trump Iraqi government interpretation of its own law?
CPA order 17 (see p. 5) which I believe somehow remains in effect though the CPA no longer exists.
A post making note of the "true but misleading" type of news story feels at least 5 years late. Although this stuff always bears repeating.
Didn't Palestine Mandate Law remain in effect for the West Bank, at least until recently, maybe still? Jordanians seized in '48, were displaced by Israelis in '67, neither annexing the territories outright. Even though the British have been gone for sixty years.
Al Jazeera headline and opening paragraph on this event--pretty similar to the NYT:
NEWS MIDDLE EAST
Iraq ends US security firm licence
The Iraqi interior ministry has cancelled the operating licence of a US security firm after it was involved in a shootout that killed eight people, a senior official said.
somehow remains in effect though the CPA no longer exists.
Yeah, that seems insane to me. If the Iraqi gov't wants to prosecute these guys, are we really, with a straight face, going to prohibit that under the CPA order?
Yes, though it probably won't come to that. This isn't the first time this has happened, it's just the first time Maliki's felt politically strong enough to make a big deal out of it.
20: Why not? We still have the best weapons.
"it's just the first time Maliki's felt politically strong enough to make a big deal out of it"
I wouldn't be surprised that this was done with US prior consent. The big criticism of the situation lately is that there is that there's no Iraqi government. Bush's security package plan, or whatever it is, depends on the appearance of an autonomous Iraqi government. The US no longer wants to appear in charge. So I think you'll see a lot of stories in the same vein.
23 implies that the Bushies would abandon a military contractor like Blackwater simply because supporting them makes the administration look hypocritical. But the administration has never shown such scruples before.
I mean, imagine Maliki contacting the Bushies (if they still return his phone calls) and saying "Please let me kick out your Blackwater pals. It will help you, too, because you need me to look like I have some backbone." How far do you think that discussion would go?
The idea is that Iraq is a sovereign nation, so the US Government can't do that.
Also 15 and 20. Sovereign government my ass.
25 Blackwater is a mess. The families of the 4 guys killed and hung up on that bridge sued Blackwater for responsibility. Earlier this year, Blackwater sued the families for $10 million to shut them up. And Congress has been investigating them.
So the US would let them go in a heartbeat. I agree that the discussion you describe wouldn't happen, but I also believe Iraq acting autonomously is preposterous.
Al-Jazeera was advertising correspondant job openings for their English-language channel recently. Unfortunately, the jobs were in D.C., but can you imagine what sort of reaction an American journalist would get with that on his or her resume? It might lead to a very interesting career, but certainly not the standard one.
Comment 27 sounds familiar. Did you mention that before in some other thread? Good point.
The Bush administration is definitely on the side of Blackwater against such whiners as the Iraqi government, the people of Iraq, the people of the US, the US Justice Department, the families of Blackwater employees, etc.
On another note, the siege of Fallujah was justified because CIVILIANS were killed on the bridge. Civilians! Not soldiers! How could those ruthless insurgents do this to CIVILIANS!
23:Au cointreau, Maliki doing this is a sign of his imminent departure from Iraq.
This story is seeming more and more like a big deal to me. I can't imagine Bush backing down, handing over Blackwater operatives to be tried or withdrawing the force from Iraq. Eventually Maliki is going to have to say,
"umm, well, ok, you contractors can do whatever you want." But damn, that will really make him look like the biggest joke in the middle east.