5 Blackwater guards charged in Iraq deaths

Five security guards from Blackwater Worldwide have been indicted on charges related to a 2007 shooting in which 17 Iraqis were killed in a Baghdad square, two sources said Friday…Iraqi authorities accused Blackwater guards of killing 17 civilians and wounding nearly 30 in the September 2007 shootings in Nusoor Square in western Baghdad.
Blackwater said its guards were protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy when they came under attack from armed insurgents. The guards returned fire, Blackwater said.images3 5 Blackwater guards charged in Iraq deaths
But an Iraqi investigation called the killings “premeditated murder” and accused the guards of firing on civilians indiscriminately. The first U.S. soldiers to arrive on the scene also told investigators they found no evidence the guards were fired upon, sources told CNN.
The incident heightened tensions between U.S. and Iraqi government officials and contributed to a protracted debate over the extent of immunity that U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors have from Iraqi laws.

About time! It’s ridiculous that they claimed they couldn’t be charged under US or Iraqi law. They may call themselves Security Consultants, but they’re mercs and are acting shamefully. Eric Prince scares me.
More info on Blackwater here.
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10 thoughts on “5 Blackwater guards charged in Iraq deaths

  1. CNN Update

    Five former Blackwater security guards, indicted in a 2007 shooting incident in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqis dead, will surrender to the FBI on Monday, a source told CNN on Saturday…
    Blackwater Worldwide has been told by the government that the company will not face charges, according to several sources.

  2. If you take a group of individuals, give them guns and put then in an environment where anyone could potentially be trying to kill then you’re going to bring out the darker side of people. Despite that, everyone should understand that indiscriminate killing is never acceptable, even in wartime. I’m glad they’re facing consequences for their actions.

    I wonder what Blackwater offers their employees as far as psychological support. Anyone know?

  3. @doc: If you take a big group of individuals and select from them those who want to be mercenaries, I bet you end up with the ones who’s “darker side” is already prominent.
    I’ve got no idea what sort of psychological support they offer. A quick bit of googling told me they have a zepplin though.

  4. First of all, it looks like you think that Blackwater is just a band of rogue mercenaries roaming around like Mad Max, full of “dark sided” individuals who just want to kill for money. Wrong. I can’t say there AREN’T people like that, but for the most part, that’s just not true.

    Being in the military is a job like none other. You are practically on call 24-7, meaning you are liable to get called in to report at any time of the day for whatever reason your chain of command has. It could even be something as stupid as a roll call, just to check and make sure everybody’s in town, and this can happen pretty often at times. When you’re not deployed, you’re training to be deployed. You sweat, bleed, and sweat some more. And then, when you do get deployed, you can spend anywhere from 6 months to a year a half in some Hellhole of a country, far removed from your family in a place that’s most likely 3rd world full of people trying to get you killed in a myriad of ways.

    Then a company like Blackwater comes along and offers you over double what you were making back in the military, along with the fact that you’ll be living the life of a contractor and therefore not vulnerable to the usual BS associated with being in the military. What would you do?

    Not only that, but it’s still not a bed of roses. They might not have to deal with the B.S. of a usual, military life, but they don’t have the support, either. Blackwater has no armor support, no Apache helicopters providing overwatch, etc. Now, like doc alluded to, factor in that the enemy we face today is a cunning foe who has no reservations whatsoever about doing anything to inflict harm on their enemies. They know our rules of engagement, and they will exploit it as much as they possibly can for any advantage(arming children, using unarmed crowds of people as shields, etc). So, when Blackwater or companies like them roll out, the most they’ve got are several SUV’s with some armor plating and a handful of guys with automatic weapons.

    Fallujah, 2004: A Blackwater convoy was ambushed, and several of their contractors were pulled from the vehicle and were then brutally mutilated, being beaten, dragged through the streets, set on fire, shot, and then the remains were hung from a bridge. Do you think those Blackwater employees don’t roll out of the gate with that in the back of their mind? That, in that small band of SUV’s, the slightest mistake ends with something like that?

    I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened, and neither do you. Before you go and say they’re nothing but “dark sided individuals,” maybe you should find out more about them? As far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t trust a single thing the Iraqi government puts out. The enemy is far smarter than what you may think, and concocting a situation like this to lure Blackwater into a trap like this to get them in trouble is right up their alley.

    Again, though, I wasn’t there. If everything the news is saying really did happen, then I would have to agree that they should pay. Until I see some real evidence, though, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.

  5. @FlyingMantisShrimp: Whoah, looks like I touched a nerve. I did in fact read that whole thing just now, and I thank you for taking the time to write it. Neither I nor Doc said that “Blackwater is just a band of rogue mercenaries roaming around like Mad Max, full of “dark sided” individuals who just want to kill for money.” That is close to what I think though; which is this:
    I believe that Blackwater is composed of people who are willing to kill, or to support killing not for an ideal, but solely in order to earn a wage. While I no longer adhere to my pacifist upbringing, I don’t consider personal profit to be a justifiable reason to kill. I consider swearing fealty (i.e. promising to obey even in life-or-death matters) to a mercenary company to arguably be evidence of a “prominent darker side” when compared to most people who don’t choose to work for companies in the business of shooting people.
    To the hypothetical soldier in the military who is offered a job at twice the pay and without the military bullshit, I’d point out that there are many other occupations out there that fit one or both criteria. If I were that soldier, I would have joined the military for a specific war that I believed to be justifiable rather than for the military wage. If Blackwater were offering a contract limited to that war, I might then morally accept. I don’t know if they do that or not.

  6. What bothers me is Blackwater’s policy and attitude, not so much the mercs themselves. Eric Prince is the darkside. He’s got an agenda and he’s a very determined man. I don’t like that the men involved in the shootings will be tried but Blackwater is told it won’t be. Blackwater policy to put “guards” into violent situations w/out proper gear or backing. They testified in front of Congress that they didn’t even have proper maps of Iraq!

  7. @Twee
    Well, you didn’t really touch a nerve. Just trying to educate people on stuff that is widely misunderstood simply because of rumors and widely circulated stories by the media that are often times more myth than anything else.

    In any case, as to the “prominent darker side,” I’m still saying that’s wrong. There is nobody with a “more prominent dark side.” You’re just as capable as killing somebody as any of these Blackwater guys are. These aren’t diabolical maniacs running around, plotting the deaths of civilians just for kicks, or people who get raging boners at the thought of spilling blood.

    “Swearing fealty?” Are you kidding? This isn’t some feudal system. Nobody’s swearing allegiance to anybody or whatever. They go do their job, usually escorting somebody or something somewhere, and that’s it. They don’t swear anymore fealty to Eric Prince than you would to whoever your boss is at your 9-5. It seems you’ve had your imagination fill in the gaps where a lack of information is abundant. There aren’t any of these blood oaths you seem to have concocted. There’s only two rules: accomplish the mission, and watch your buddy’s back.

    You final statement about “If I were that soldier….” is ridiculous. You aren’t a soldier, and you’ve never been one. Don’t speculate as to what you would do in any situation like this, because you’re way out of your depth if you do so.

    Personally, I don’t know enough about Eric Prince to say that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s the “darkside,” either. As for an agenda, I’m not so sure he’s really got one for that, either, unless you count an agenda to make money. At the moment, I’d say he’s at the very most just a shrewd businessman. He saw a need and filled that need for a price.

    As for Blackwater not being tried, I don’t really see why it should be. Unless evidence comes to light that Blackwater specifically told or encouraged these guys to engage civilians at will, there’s really nothing they did wrong. Not giving them the proper equipment doesn’t sit well with me at all, but then again, I don’t know who to trust in this case: Blackwater, the parent company who’s trying to wash its hands of this situation, or the guys in question who probably have an axe to grind with a company that they feel might have left them hanging in the wind when foreign politics came after them.

    Just leads me to my original point, I suppose. I don’t know enough about anything that happened to really say what they did was right or wrong. I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt because I’ve experienced firsthand the things that the enemy over there is willing to do to accomplish their own agenda, and I know these Blackwater employees are probably not the bloodthirsty maniacs people believe they are, but at the same time, nobody’s being too forthcoming about anything related to the incident, so who knows.

  8. @FlyingMantisShrimp: Of course I’m operating on imagination from a lack of information. I wasn’t trying to write a thesis or a news article. My mention of learning they own a zepplin back in my first post was intended to illustrate just that. Otherwise, your first three points are well taken.

    I take exception, however, to you telling me not to “speculate as to what you would do in any situation like this”.
    You asked me to do just that in your first post when you said “what would you do?”.

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