Saturday, January 26, 2008

Former private contractor in Iraq takes on media distortions

A former private security contractor (PSC) who served in Iraq challenges media distortions about Blackwater and other companies who protect American facilities, convoys, diplomats, and visiting VIPs.

PSC veteran Mark R. Taylor writes that accusers of Blackwater in Congress and the media are more interested in politicizing the war effort and pushing their own agendas than they are in finding the truth.

"Where are the stories of the majority of circumstances, the many successes of Blackwater and how many lives were saved because of them?" Taylor asks. "The stories are in the same place as the successes of KBR, buried by the media and told only by handful with a mission to tell the truth about our role in the Middle East. The attacks on the military by government officials and the media created a backlash that sent the same scurrying for a new scapegoat, the American contractor. With no regard for our families, our children and our lives, they continue to denigrate our mission in the hopes of creating a true quagmire for George W. Bush, or of engineering a Democrat victory in ‘08.

"There is a mutual respect among the military and contractors that is not recognized by the dignitaries who rely on Blackwater to keep them alive. I recall that, while in Iraq, a delegation of American dignitaries arrived at Camp Victory, visiting Black Jack DEFAC. It was only Senator Barbara Boxer, D-CA, who even bothered to take the time to visit with us, at least to show some concern and support. Why didn’t the others visit us? Were they repulsed at our arrival - dirty and sweaty from a two day mission, driving across Iraq to deliver mail to our troops - or were they made uncomfortable merely by our presence? Or were they disinterested?

"While they returned to their clean, uparmored air conditioned bus, heading for the next photo op, we returned to our dusty unarmored trucks to continue our missions and face the enemy.

"We worked, we fought, we cried, we bled. And in some cases, we died beside our military counterparts who are our friends. A majority of us eventually returned home to our jobs and our families, our contributions rarely noted, but even today, it pains us to see our brothers and sisters attacked in the media while they fight a ruthless, bloodthirsty enemy overseas."

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