Monday, April 7, 2008

Petraeus Presence with Blackwater Lays Criticisms to Rest

The presence of General David Petraeus at the Polish Embassy event to bestow combat medals on Blackwater security contractors in Iraq puts an end to the validity of criticisms that the military is at odds with the diplomatic security provider.

Petraeus is one of the busiest men in Iraq, and his time is at a premium. US Ambassador Ryan Crocker, as the supervisor of the Blackwater guards, was already at the event, ensuring a proper level of official recognition from a protocol standpoint. The Blackwater men were not under Petraeus' command. There was no need for Petraeus to attend, but he did it anyway. That's an important indication of his support for Blackwater and its mission.

Though under contract with the State Department, Blackwater has assisted the US military on many occasions in Iraq, and performed a number of unheralded evacuations and rescues of American troops.

(Photo: Petraeus, left, with Blackwater security contractors at Polish Embassy ceremony. Cropped from larger State Department photo from
State Magazine, April 2008, p. 3.)

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