Monday, April 30, 2007

Blackwater -- Black Tidings: Tales of Deception

Here they come, it’s the democrat light brigade charging down the hill like the U.S. Calvary galloping to the rescue saving us from the marauding republican mean machine. Or is it? Would you believe a group of Boy Scouts charging to the rescue? How about one or two Cub Scouts and their Den mother, okay how about one Girl Scout selling cookies? Because the recently passed, soon to be vetoed, bill from Congress concerning withdrawal from Iraq is nothing but a dog and pony show presented for your edification and enjoyment. Well actually it is mainly to pull the wool over your eyes.

For the record and to be really, really clear about this, the bill will not stop the U.S. occupation of Iraq rather it actually allows Bush to continue with his private war in a two-fold manner.

Tom Engelhardt, once again, clears the air of smoke and mirrors with another informative post as well as a piece by Jeremy Scahill delineating the roll of mercenary forces, in particular, that part played by Blackwater.

Here are three key points concerning some huge loopholes in the legislation made by Tom Engelhardt:

1. "Protecting American diplomatic facilities and American citizens, including members of the United States Armed Forces": This doesn't sound like much, but don't be fooled. As a start, of course, there would have to be forces guarding the new American embassy in Baghdad (known to Iraqis as "George W's Palace"). When completed, it will be the largest embassy in the known universe with untold thousands of employees; then there would need to be forces to protect the heavily fortified citadel of the Green Zone (aka "the International Zone") which protects the embassy and other key U.S. facilities. Add to these troops to guard the network of gigantic, multibillion dollar U.S. bases in Iraq like Balad Air Base (with air traffic volume that rivals Chicago's O'Hare) and whatever smaller outposts might be maintained. We're talking about a sizable force here.

2. "Training and equipping members of the Iraqi Security Forces": By later this year, U.S. advisors and trainers for the Iraqi military, part of a program the Pentagon is now ramping up, should reach the 10,000-20,000 range (many of whom -- see above -- would undoubtedly need "guarding").

3. "Engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach": This is a loophole of loopholes that could add up to almost anything as, in a pinch, all sorts of Sunni oppositional forces could be labeled "al-Qaeda."

And here is a small segment from Jeremy Scahill’s piece:

The Shadow War in Iraq

While all of this is troubling, there is another disturbing fact which speaks volumes about the Democrats' lack of insight into the nature of this unpopular war -- and most Americans will know next to nothing about it. Even if the President didn't veto their legislation, the Democrats' plan does almost nothing to address the second largest force in Iraq -- and it's not the British military. It's the estimated 126,000 private military "contractors" who will stay put there as long as Congress continues funding the war.

If you like to be informed or at least understand how we are all getting the shaft I highly recommend that you read the entire post.