As expected, Erik Prince, leader of the mercenary army known as “Blackwater USA”, spoke out to defend the actions of his employees in the incident that led to the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians. The New York Times reports:
“We have 1,000 guys out in the field,” he said. “People make mistakes; they do stupid things sometimes.” But he added that the company dismissed or disciplined those who broke its rules and that many of the episodes that led to Iraqi deaths came to light only because Blackwater personnel reported them to the State Department.
Those who “broke its rules?” What about those who broke the law? What about real accountability? Why is Blackwater still not subject to the rule of Iraqi law, American law, or the UCMJ?
It gets better. He went on to insist that Blackwater is not a mercenary army:
He forcefully rejected the characterization of Blackwater from some members of the committee as a mercenary army. He said that contractors had served with the United States military since Revolutionary times and that mercenaries were soldiers who fought with foreign armies for money.
“They call us mercenaries,” he said. “But we’re Americans working for America protecting Americans.”
Really? Let’s look at the facts:
- They’re civilians.
- They carry weapons in a war zone.
- They’re doing jobs traditionally reserved for military organizations, including combat operations.
- They’re getting paid to do it.
How are they not a mercenary army?
And then there’s the substance of his argument, which boils down to 1) we’re not mercenaries we’re “contractors”, and 2) even if we were, it’s okay because America has used mercenaries in the past.
It’s all bullshit.
These thugs have been riding the gravy train of Bush’s Blunder for far too long. It’s time to fire them and disband the entire operation.
Mr. Prince and his band of miscreants are mercenaries and he’s a war profiteer. He should be brought up on charges, tried by one of Bush’s secret “Military Tribunals” and sent to Guantanamo Bay for an “indefinite period of time.”
Mercenaries have no place in modern American military operations.