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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by edesignuk, Aug 20, 2009.
I'm no fan of Blackwater, but am I missing something? This seems like a non-issue to me.
2 things strike me immediately:
How was this money audited?
Secondly, is it OK to use private companies to kill your enemies?
That's not what the article is claiming. It only claims that they helped with planning, training and surveillance.
Not so. Another of the questions raised is:
Ok- so...? I'm still trying to figure out why this is news. We've always known Blackwater was used in Iraq.
This is a little different for a variety of reasons...
- Congress was not informed until 7 years after the fact that this had been going on, and it isn't clear that it was justifiably in the planning stages that would have made the lack of disclosure appropriate -- Panetta argues that it just went to this level at the time he chose to disclose it (it was started before his time), but this seems kind of questionable considering how much money was spent.
- The activities, which possibly included use of Blackwater in essentially covert paramilitary actions, which is different from them providing security, were undertaken without even a written contract or apparently a written protocol between the CIA and BW (and there still seems to be minimal disclosure about what BW actually did do as part of this operation).
There are more details also in the original NYT version...
I agree it's not a huge surprise, but it's another excess of questionable legality that was undertaken during the Bush era, and it involves some new kinds of erm.. pushing the envelope that were not previously explicitly known.
I don;t know- it just seems like we've heard it before. Nothing involving Blackwater is surprising.
Have you never heard of privateers? Not a whole lot of difference from there to here.
Don't you mean profiteers?
So I know, *cough*, using Wikipedia as a history source, but...
So privateering is supposed to be illegal following the Declaration of Paris, which makes it illegal for the US starting in the late 1800s (because the US didn't sign until after the Civil War), but the US appears to have violated this treaty during the 1900s...
EDIT: So some sources say that the US adopted this convention (but didn't sign the treaty) in the 1860s, and others simply say it didn't sign the treaty....
But in essence, if your argument that this type of mercenary use of Blackwater is tantamount to privateering, isn't privateering still against international law?
I don't really have an argument here as it were, just enlightening toontra as he seemed to be unaware of the [historical] practice. I get your point, though; I suppose it boils down to whether or not the US actually signed the treaty. But then we've got another hiccup in that Congress didn't do the outsourcing, it was the CIA.
I'm with you. This seems more like someone trying to get people all hot and bothered.
Not in need of your "enlightenment" thanks. I'm fully aware of the use of privateers in past eras - I was referring to their possible use by the US in Iraq. That did surprise me.
I guess, in the scheme of things, it's minor. But if it were to be announced in a vacuum where torture, illegal detention, misleading Congress to start a war, and the other existing abuses of Blackwater weren't already known, wouldn't it be separately pretty important?
Whether or not the US signed the Declaration of Paris, this business of using privateers largely ended in the 1800s for a reason....
As it turns out, they (Xe / Blackwater) are in Afghanistan and Pakistan loading up the Predator drones...
It's kind of sad that after getting kicked out of providing security in Iraq, they are now doing it in another theater...
At least they're not in charge of any target selection type activities...
Yeah, I can't really see any valid complaint about Xe/BWater guys doing manual labor. Hopefully we're not paying out the nose for it.
Blackwater--now "Xe"--is in the same sort of position I was when I worked as a consultant. When the job is done, you get thrown away. The employer doesn't have to worry about ongoing wages or retirement or any of that infrastructure stuff.
The alternative would be to build up our armed forces to the total capability, with all the in-house infrastructure that Xe has on its own.
Two presidents and a bunch of Congressfolks are happy with the idea of killing Al Qaida people. What difference does it make who pulls the trigger?
What it does do is introduce a new level of danger for Blackwater employees who were not in this program. Now they are even more closely implicated in US designs.
As for the base story being news, yes and no. It is confirmation that the CIA does do things very differently and in some cases probably wrong.
I'm not sure I follow you... what do you mean by the Blackwater / Xe employees who were not in this program?
Several $ million is nothing for any government program. In my area an environmental impact study can run $10's of millions.
You do this program never actually happened, correct? They were simply in the pre-planning stages.