Not Smart

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The U.S. State Department’s renewal of Blackwater’s contract to provide security in Iraq “is bad news,” an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said.

Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 people, including women and children, last September, prompting an outcry and protest from Iraqi officials.

Original DVD cover.

“This is bad news,” al-Maliki adviser Sami al-Askari said. “I personally am not happy with this, especially because they have committed acts of aggression, killed Iraqis, and this has not been resolved yet positively for families of victims.”

About 25,000 private contractors from three companies protect diplomats, reconstruction workers and government officials in Iraq. Under a provision put into place in the early days of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, security contractors have immunity from Iraqi prosecution.


Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said a joint Iraqi-U.S. commission was set up after the shootings, and Iraqis told U.S. officials that the rules of engagement and use of force must be changed.


Al-Dabbagh said the Iraqi government still wants Blackwater to come under the jurisdiction of Iraqi law and its courts.

“Most importantly, the Iraqi investigation concluded that Blackwater committed a crime at Nusour Square,” he said. “The U.S. informed us that the FBI investigation is still not done, and if Blackwater [personnel are] … convicted, then the contract will be reviewed.”


Blackwater is one of three contractors working under a “task order” to provide security services in Iraq. The other two are Triple Canopy and DynCorp.

The State Department contract must be renewed every year and is up for renewal next month. In effect, Blackwater’s contract will roll over for another year, said Greg Starr, who heads the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.


Blackwater must work under the rules of the Iraqi government, he said.

The FBI is in charge of the U.S. investigation of the September incident, in which survivors and victims’ family members contend Blackwater guards started shooting without provocation.


Starr said the U.S. government, in particular U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, will take a close look at the FBI’s investigation report, “and then we decide whether it is consistent with U.S. goals and policies to continue the contract.”

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqis expressed anger on Saturday at news the United States had renewed the contract of Blackwater, a private security firm blamed for killing up to 17 people in a shooting incident last year.

“Renewing this contract means we will see this sort of thing again in the streets,” Abbas Hasoun, a grocer, said. “I wish we could turn the page on this, but keeping this company here means bloodshed will continue.”


Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the government believed its requests for tighter controls over Blackwater’s activities had been met.


Ordinary Iraqis were less tolerant.

“These companies should be removed from the country. They don’t deserve to stay here a moment. They committed massacres and killed innocent people,” said Naseer Kahdim, a soldier checking cars a few hundred metres from the site of the shooting.

The government’s political opponents accused it of failing to enact measures that would control foreign security firms.


[Saleem al-Jubouri, spokesman for the mainly Sunni Arab Accordance Front bloc said] “But the Americans want to show that Iraq is under their control. It’s a violation of the Iraqi judicial system.”

WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) CNN reported Saturday that Greg Starr, acting assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, said while no provisions have been added to the government’s contract with Blackwater, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ordered several procedural changes after the September incident.


Private security contractors, such as Blackwater, have immunity from Iraqi law under a provision instituted shortly after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.


The Washington Post reported that Blackwater has received more than $1 billion in federal business since 2000, said Eagle Eye, a research company that monitors contract spending.


Filed under Blackwater, Chimpy, Condoleezza Rice, Erik Prince, FBI, George W. Bush, humor, Iraq War, movies, Nouri al-Maliki, parody, politics, Ryan Crocker, snark, State Department, television, Wordpress Political Blogs

4 responses to “Not Smart

  1. jeb

    OK, this would be like putting Lt. Calley in charge of community programs in My Lai. Of course it has nothing to do with the billions of dollars in contracting involved.

  2. nonnie9999

    the biggest irony is that this starr shmuck (wonder if he is related to kenneth starr) is the head of a department that has the word diplomatic in it. yep, win the hearts and minds of the people by bringing back the guys who massacred their countrymen. 🙄

  3. and since when would we expect Bush or anyone in the administration to make a smart decision — all decisions are based on keeping power and keeping all the $$$

  4. nonnie9999

    i know. i kick myself for even expecting common sense every once in a while from chimpy & co. 😦