New Evidence That Blackwater Guards Took No Fire
BAGHDAD, Oct. 12 — Fresh accounts of the Blackwater shooting last month, given by three rooftop witnesses and by American soldiers who arrived shortly after the gunfire ended, cast new doubt Friday on statements by Blackwater guards that they were responding to armed insurgents when Iraqi investigators say 17 Iraqis were killed at a Baghdad intersection.Meanwhile the Iraqis seem to be standing firm on their demand that Blackwater must go.
The three witnesses, Kurds on a rooftop overlooking the scene, said they had observed no gunfire that could have provoked the shooting by Blackwater guards. American soldiers who arrived minutes later found shell casings from guns used normally by American contractors, as well as by the American military.
The Kurdish witnesses are important because they had the advantage of an unobstructed view and because, collectively, they observed the shooting at Nisour Square from start to finish, free from the terror and confusion that might have clouded accounts of witnesses at street level. Moreover, because they are pro-American, their accounts have a credibility not always extended to Iraqi Arabs, who have been more hostile to the American presence.
U.S., Iraqis discuss Blackwater's status
BAGHDAD - U.S. and Iraqi officials are negotiating Baghdad's demand that security company Blackwater USA be expelled from the country within six months, and American diplomats appear to be working on how to fill the security gap if the company is phased out.It would appear that the State Department and the administration have no choice but to end the relationship with Blackwater but more often than not we have seen hubris prevail so it remains to be seen. The problem goes beyond Blackwater:
The talks about Blackwater's future in Iraq flow from recommendations in an Iraqi government report on the incident Sept. 16 when, Iraqi officials determined, Blackwater guards opened fire without provocation in Baghdad's Nisoor Square and killed 17 Iraqi citizens.
The Iraqi investigators issued five recommendations to the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which has since sent them to the U.S. Embassy as demands for action.
Point No. 2 in the report says:
"The Iraqi government should demand that the United States stops using the services of Blackwater in Iraq within six months and replace it with a new, more disciplined organization that would be answerable to Iraqi laws."
While the Blackwater name may be removed from security operations surrounding U.S. diplomats in Iraq, American officials and members of the security community in Baghdad said the company's men and other assets in Iraq would likely be taken over by one of the many security companies currently working in Iraq.That's right, even if Blackwater goes away the same psychopaths will simply go to work for another company. The only real solution is to do away with private security and have US personnel guarded by uniformed military personnel.
They said DynCorp, which already has security contracts with the State Department to guard officials working outside Baghdad, appeared poised to take over the Blackwater role.