The Iraqi government has informed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that it will not issue a new operating license to Blackwater Worldwide, the embassy’s primary security company, which has come under scrutiny for allegedly using excessive force while protecting American diplomats, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Wednesday.
I’ll say this on Blackwater’s behalf: it’s less a company than it is a symbol, and it gets treated accordingly. Alas, that symbol is one of a dystopian future where private mercenaries replace professional soldiers and rewrite the rules of war to suit their company’s bottom line. (Or, as the United Nations puts it, Blackwater and its ilk represent “new modalities of mercenarism.”)
And it’s getting more and more complex. Yochi Dreazen recently reported in the Wall Street Journal that Afghan companies are hiring private military companies to protect their businesses.
Blackwater, though, has prided itself on operating on the bleeding edge. In 2007, the International Peace Operations Association — basically, the merc’s lobby — parted ways with Blackwater after the shooting of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad exposed the company’s inability to live up to the professional code of conduct that the IPOA insists upon upholding. Now, Blackwater’s offering its naval services against the Somali pirates. All of this should make for great material in Blackwater founder Erik Prince’s forthcoming Regnery memoir, “We Are Blackwater.”
Iraq’s move, though, is one of the first concrete steps taken by a war-torn and private-military-company-infested nation to reassert authority over the contractors. The provisions of the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement on contractors assert wide Iraqi latitude to bring them into compliance with Iraqi law. I’ll have a story Monday about the surprising extent of such discretion.
#1 in Conspiracy Theories
Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one Amazon.com category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy
1 Brigade and 1 Battalion
ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the
$1.3 Million for Brown
The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul
$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds
Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal
$1 Million for Toomey
Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the
1. Brian Schweitzer
As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this
$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV
The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.
$100 Million to Aid Pakistani Displaced Persons
More on U.S. efforts to aid Pakistanis displaced by the current military efforts against the Taliban. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced this
$1 Trillion for Fannie and Freddie?
That is the worst-case scenario, according to Egan-Jones Ratings Co., quoted in a Bloomberg article making the rounds. The agency says that if home prices
Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban
Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on
Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry
China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.