Thursday, October 4, 2007

Dirty Gary Offers Blackwater a License To Kill

The House passed a bill today that would hold private military contractors in war zones accountable for any crimes they might have committed. This removes the legal loophole that allowed companies like Blackwater to ship their personnel suspected of indiscriminate murder back to the US without charges.

The bill passed 389-30. Reps. Doolitte, Miller, Hunter, and Rohrabacher don't think Blackwater personnel should be held to any standard. They would rather offer them a license to kill at will. Not only do private military contractors operate with impunity, they hurt the actual efforts by the military to carry out the mission.

Here's one example of what Rep. Miller sanctioned through his vote today:

A Blackwater USA employee under investigation in the killing last December of an Iraqi bodyguard in an off-duty confrontation was so drunk after fleeing the shooting that another group of guards took away the loaded pistol he was fumbling with, a report to a House committee said Monday.

The guards, employees of Triple Canopy, another private military contractor, returned the weapon to the Blackwater employee, who smelled of alcohol, and escorted him away from their guard post in the fortified Green Zone, the report said. Shortly afterward, the police detained the man, a 26-year-old firearms technician whom the report did not name, at the Blackwater camp inside the Green Zone, but determined he was too intoxicated to be interviewed.

Within 36 hours, the report said, Blackwater fired the man for possessing a firearm while drunk and arranged with the State Department to fly him back to the United States, angering Iraqi officials who said the Christmas Eve shooting was murder.