Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blackwater operators facing 30-year sentences

Blackwater taking care of business

This is total crap.

"Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in the deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting of Iraqi civilians could face mandatory 30-year prison sentences under an aggressive anti-drug law being considered as the Justice Department readies indictments, people close to the case said.

...Though drugs were not involved in the Blackwater shooting, the Justice Department is pondering the use of a law, passed at the height of the nation's crack epidemic, to prosecute the guards. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 law calls for 30-year prison terms for using machine guns to commit violent crimes of any kind, whether drug-related or not."

I'm not saying the use of private military contractors is the ideal way to fight a war. You can argue it's no cheaper than having the military do everything, possibly more expensive. You can point to instances of waste and fraud. But the majority of top companies -- Blackwater in particular -- operate professionally, patriotically and with distinction given the dicey role we've asked them to play -- to fight and die off the books in service of our modern requirements for neat and tidy conflicts with ridiculously small official body counts.

More to the point, these contractors were operating under the promise of immunity from prosecution for ugliness that might occur in the fog of war.

And make no mistake, they've been fighting this war.

Blackwater contractors have battled alongside, and saved the bacon of, U.S. and allied troops on numerous occasions. And while others may have, this company avoids gunslingers and wannabes. These are largely former special operators who regularly train the military itself. They know restraint and know the rules of engagement -- as knowable as the rules are in a place where civilian and enemy combatant are one and the same.

The article suggests prosecutors have their work cut out for them, but our current president clearly isn't averse to a good railroading if it serves a "higher" cause. (Ramos and Compean, anyone?) And if you think this is ugly, just wait and see what the guy in line for his job has up his sleeve.

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