Blackwater; the New Fall Guy

The Senate Democrats are going after Blackwater USA the way some of these same individuals once went after the US military. The worst thing about this is that most Americans don’t know enough about the debate to see through the issue.

Incredibly, conservatives like Fred Barnes on Fox News jumped right onto the John Kerry bandwagon when they unthinkingly called the Blackwater contractors “mercenaries”. Now that is their “official” designation in virtually every branch of the media. 

Excuse me? Has anybody heard of the international treaty banning the use of mercenaries? There is one you know, and we abide by it. A mercenary is a guy hired to perform offensive military actions, not a guy hired to protect a civilian. 

With the debate now raging between those who would immediately execute all Blackwater contractors and those who would merely have them imprisoned, I thought I would put in my ten cents on the issue.

In a recent column in the New York Post, Ralph Peters contends that the contractors employed by Blackwater USA are “hired killers”, he compares the to the Hessian mercenaries, and blurs all lines between types of contractors in order to paint the worst possible picture of them.

I would like to point out to Mr Peters that a bodyguard is not a “hired killer”. Hiring a bodyguard is a common and necessary practice for many Americans. We do not consider it morally repugnant in any way for someone to dedicate their lives to protect others; even to the point of literally stepping in front of a bullet for them. 

How is this equivalent to a bloodthirsty mercenary band or a hired assassin? 

Yes, they are armed, but how would we expect a protective detail to protect someone in a war-zone if they weren’t? 

A mercenary is someone who is hired to perform a military combat action. A man who fixes a pipe, or builds a road in a war zone, or sets up telephone wires, or guards the guy who sets up telephone wires, or even the guys who protect a diplomatic envoy or senior official are NOT mercenaries. These are guys hired to perform a perfectly legitimate function. Heck, Madonna has bodyguards too; in fact they have resources like convoys, electronic equipment, arms, communications gear, etc. They plan routes carefully and work in teams, they secure the compound where their principal resides. In all respects the bodyguards employed by a Hollywood star are similar in function to those who protect our diplomats in Iraq. The one small difference (other than level of training and special forces background) is that the latter do their work in a war zone. Just like the guy who builds pipelines in Iraq; he has to lay pipe in a war-zone too, so he is unlike a typical construction worker. 

In a war-zone, a protective detail is at a disadvantage and is more likely to encounter problems of all kinds. This led to the DSS refusing to guarantee protection for diplomats in Iraq, and to the hiring of specially trained and recruited teams who were capable of fulfilling this function.

I know that Blackwater employees have made bad decisions and mistakes, and in a war-zone, mistakes cost innocent lives, but if your fundamental job description involves taking a bullet for somebody you may not even like very much, out of a simple sense of dedication, you are NOT a “hired killer”. In fact, you are just about the opposite.

People say they fight for money, but I have to ask; if a job were offered to you, how much money would you accept to take a job with a good chance of death? In other words; these guys have a job more dangerous than even a regular infantry soldier. A member of a protective detail, by definition, will be engaged in combat almost always on the enemy’s terms, when he is ambushed and/or outnumbered. They are unable to engage in the most successful tactic for getting out of such a situation; fighting through it by moving forward. They must retreat in the face of overwhelming fire, because they have to protect their principal. These guys aren’t knuckledraggers either; they come from the SEALs, the Rangers, the Marine Force Recon, the best units in the military. These are men who have to know how to think, and they know what kind of a risk they are taking when they sign on to do this work. How much money is it worth to take a bullet for a stranger anyway? These guys know that no money will help them when they are dead. Why do they sign on? Because they believe in the mission, or they want to get back into the action; maybe a few have something to prove. There will be a few bad ones in any unit, but for most protective detail members and bodyguards, the sense of mission and service outweighs such minor considerations as their own life.

If you want my opinion; a lot of people are going after these guys because the US military is not a politically correct target for them, as it was in the 1970s. Blackwater today is what the US Marines were then. John Kerry testifying (falsely) about war-crimes and US soldiers has been replaced with the claptrap we hear on the floor of the Senate now. 

Back then, a lot of good people stood by and let the military be spit upon. A lot of people who knew better really proved to be the “silent majority”. Thanks to them, a vocal minority got it’s way, and a generation of American veterans were unfairly disgraced and humiliated for political gain. I wonder if we have any more sense today. Conservatives are falling all over each other to denounce Blackwater contractors; people who protect other men’s lives at risk of their own for a living. John Kerry has to be laughing right now…

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~ by Jubal Biggs on September 30, 2007.

One Response to “Blackwater; the New Fall Guy”

  1. […] Now, we have a new President who obviously would have made a different choice. He would draw the line somewhere else. He would apply the protection of our Constitution to every human on Earth, whatever the unintended consequences of that decision might be (and he can no more know the fallout of that decision now than Bush could know the entire fallout of his decision when he made it.) Congress is inhabited by a herd of panicky, unthinking politicians crazed by the smell of populist blood in the air. A call is made for a Congressional investigation into various Bush Administration officials (which, if history is any guide, could be farcical witch hunts indeed. See; “Blackwater, the New Fall Guy“). […]

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