Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blackwater USA ... Security Firm or Mercenaries?



Blackwater USA is a private security firm, based in North Carolina. It was started by an ex Navy Seal, who envisioned a World-Class training facility for those in the security business ... but it has evolved into so much more. Since 9/11/01, the small firm has grown by leaps and bounds and now "hires-out" small armies. There are currently about 1,000 Blackwater USA contractors (operatives) in Iraq. They also have a data-base of 6,000 more professionals for when they are needed. The contract to provide security services in Iraq earns the company $800,000,000.00 a year. Contractors are normally paid from $100,000.00 to $250,000.00 a year depending on specialty. The prime contract is to provide security for the US State department. They provide this service extremely well (though no one can convince me they do a better job than the US Marines).

Late last week a convoy protected by Blackwater contractors was fired upon. Blackwater contractors returned fire, killing several of the attackers ... at least that is the company version of things. Iraqi police say that the people killed were innocent civilians, and the Iraqi government has ordered the company out of Iraq.

My take on this is that the folks killed were probably neither "innocent" nor "civilians". But in either case, Blackwater USA and the dozens of other private security firms need to go. These contractors (mercenaries) run around in various uniforms of their own liking, armed to the teeth (trying to be Johnny Rambo), and don't really answer to the military chain of command. What laws of war do they follow? Who do they answer to ... a CEO?

A Military Force is a Government responsibility ... not a corporate one.

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15 comments:

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

Gosh.. I had no idea...?

The Lowest Rated Blog said...

Soldiers of Fortune

Blackwaters was trying to buy some land in Potrero [a small town near San Diego, in the San Diego County], to open a training camp, but the town JUST SAID NO. Not in my back yard! SOME of the Soldiers of Fortune are out of control with no accountability. They are not under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, and they are not under US civil laws because they are not in the US!. The only reason why we don't have a LARGER number of troops in Iraq is due to the very large number of Soldiers of Fortune now running around the country of Iraq. If they are kicked out of the country, then our GIs will have fill their positions [snafu, our military getting screwed again]. Have a fine Texas evening!

cfs

snowelf said...

Although a vigilante military force sounds like a "good idea" to a lot of people, I agree it is a terrible one. I bet more of these people take matters into their own hands than they should and it's really even disgraceful to think about. Powerful people with no "rules" and a license to kill are dangerous. Period.

I agree with tlrb, it's just going to get our solders screwed in the end...

--snow

lime said...

given the black eye we gave ourselves with abu ghraib, these mercenaries do absolutely nothing to help any kind of diplomatic effort. and since they are americans, like it or not, they represent us if they are present in iraq. get them out and arm our legitimate men and women to the teeth and make sure they adhere to the highest standards of conduct.

Debbie said...

I believe you are right, this should be a government/military project. However, there have always been private security firms, made up of former military, and I suppose there always will be. Whether Blackwater is guilty of wrong doing, I have no way of knowing. Pretty nice salary.

buffalodickdy said...

One of our late local revered business tycoons' son made the front page of our local newspaper. He owns a private soldier company that does business in Iraq also. 2 yrs ago in the press, he was lauded as a good thing. Not last night...

WomanHonorThyself said...

good info ..never heard of them either..thanks~!

In_spired said...

Never heard of Blackwater until recently. Does Eric Prince ring a bell? Never heard of him either until I read an article (online) about BW. He's the CEO, supposedly.

Paul Champagne said...

terri ... this has been going on for years ... it's just that recently it has gotten out of hand. I have a friend who is a helicopter pilot, he has done mercenary work in South Africa, Honduras, Guatamala and now Iraq. 200K a year plus benefits is nothing to sneeze at.

tlrb ... good for Potrero. These guys need to be kicked out of Iraq. Think about it, imagine you are an E-3 infantryman making 30K a year. You are riding in a Hummer with one of these mercs that is making 100K+ a year. What do you think that will do for your morale?

snow ... The Iraqis hate these mercs. They throw their weight around whenever they want, do whatever they want, and are accountable to no one.

lime ... Most of the Blackwater ones are American, however there are other security companies operating in Iraq that are mostly hiring South Americans (they work cheaper).

debbie ... I had briefly thought about going to Afghanistan as a trainer (I was unofficially aproached), but as lucrative and appealing as the offer was, I did not feel comfortable without the uniform.

buffalo ... what a difference a year (or two) make!

woman ... and guess what ... Blackwater USA is a sub-contractor to ... Haliburton. OMG Haliburton with it's own private army!

inspired ... Erik Prince is actually one of the founders of Blackwater USA. A former navy SEAL, coming from a Christian fundamentalist family. Erik is the son of Edgar Prince (who along with Gary Bauer founded the Family Research Council) I wonder how he balances his fundamentalist Christian upbringing with his mercenary business?

Superstar said...

I did a DOD contract...AKA Military "outsourcing"...

I could tell you about it. If I do/did I would have to kill you...

*giggles*

Seriously, I don't care who or how the war is bing staffed, or funded. It's time to move on. We will NEVER EVER EVER "WIN". This is a "war" that has been ongoing since the day of Adam and Eve.

America needs to poop or get off the pot. Bomb them, take over, create another responsibility "american province" or get our toys and GO HOME!

~shakes head~

Mike M said...

This is the extrema Paul. The federal government is made up of 70% contractors. If contractors didn't perform these duties, a Marine would.

These are needed services and I would rather have a company that I can hold accountable for mistakes than a bunch of uncontrollable misfits running around with guns.

These contracts agree to put their lives at risk to perform these duties at less of a cost to the American public that getting a troop contingent to do it.

Also mistakes happen in war. If people think their is a perfect war, they need to open their eyes. There is no prefect war. People are going to die and if they take hostile action towards the other side (which is what happened in this case) the other side is going to protect themselves.

-eve- said...

Mercenaries is a good title... on one hand, it would seem that if the gov soldiers aren't well trained enough, one needs mercenaries. On the other, mercenaries can turn into bandits... hmmm... possibly, I'd think that US should just get out of Iraq ....

Paul Champagne said...

bambi ... we won this war when we toppled Saddam ... it's the peace we are having so much trouble with. We will win the peace if we leave Iraq with a functional government that is committed to taking care of their people, and to irradicating Islamic exremism within it's borders. We are still quite a bit away from this.

mike ... that's the problem that I have. I don't want mercenaries doing the job of soldiers. I want someone that is accountable under the UCMJ (Uniformed Code Of Military Justice) for what they do. Contractors to rebuild infrastructure, hell yes ... to fight a war, no way.

eve ... what happens if we just pull up and leave?

Okay ... that was a hard question, so I will help you out. The government will fall, Shite extremists (loyal to Iran) will take over and we will have another problem in the mid-east. Ethnic cleansing will start taking place and the Saudis will come in to protect the Sunni's and without us holding Turkey back, the Turks will invade northern Iraq to put an end to Kurdish forces (from Turkey) hiding there and raiding Turkey. The next time we go over there, it will be even bloodier than this time.

-eve- said...

Ahhh.. I see, Paul. Sorry, hadn't thought of that ;-) Okay, so guess they do still have a reason to be there after all... to keep the peace... :-)

Tapline said...

Paul,
Sorry, to comment so late, but,,,I hear where you are coming from with your remarks bout the hired killers....etc....but,,,have you read "Blackfive" or other milblogs?/ It was getting so with the rules of engagement, our military were being killed without firing a shot because they were afraid if they shot and it was not as it appeared, they would be hung out to dry. The officers either wouldn't back the grunts or if they did they were also hung out to dry with them. See the Murtha fiesco. One one Milblog, He said he wouldn't shoot because every time he dischaged his weapon he had to make out a report as to why his weapon was dischaged. Not so with the Blackwater Group...They the group are also responsible to the military command structure, somewhere. They just do not arbitrarily shoot people......not done..... mistakes happen, but if the truth is known, I'll bet insurgents were involved...not as it was reported....If you remember correctly, Police were still a big problem in Baghdad. Remember the murder of our military in baghdad,allowed in by the police etc etc....Nough said...I ramble....stay well...