Thursday, September 27, 2007

Toughest guard duty in Iraq

The New York Times is faulting Blackwater USA for reportedly firing weapons in Iraq at more than twice the rate of other private security providers.

Way down the article, in the 13th paragraph, reporters John M. Broder and James Risen finally tell the reader why: "Blackwater operates in the most violent parts of Iraq and guards the most prominent American diplomats, which some American government officials say explains why it is involved in more shootings than its competitors. The shootings included in the reports include all cases in which weapons are fired, including those meant as warning shots. Others add that Blackwater’s aggressive posture in guarding diplomats reflects the wishes of its client, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security."

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack tells the Times that of 1,800 Blackwater escort missions this year, there have been "only a very small fraction, very small fraction, that have been involved in any use of force."

So what's the scandal, then?

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