Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blackwater finding itself in hot waters

There are always re-curing stories and anecdotes to demonstrate how the US government did not fully plan or execute the war in Iraq. From the blossoming of sectarian violence, to the sluggish pace of reconstruction, over and over it has been shown that we were woefully under prepared for what was to transpire in the region after we declared “Mission Accomplished” and fell Baghdad (as if that was really going to be a challenge).

Now, a multitude of accusations have surfaced around the US security firm Blackwater. At first, it was “just” the shooting of Iraqi civilians in a roadside dispute last weekend. This was telling in itself, as the Iraqi government was at last able to form consensus … over how they wanted the firm stripped of its privileges and duties in the region and shipped home. With the public opinion swaying against these guns-for-hire, it is no surprise that the government focused its ire against them. It is easy to rid itself of a private firm, and score some badly needed points with the Iraqi people, than trying to but the US out of the country. However, the United States was unmoved by the pleas of injustice and multiple murder. Just a few days of suspension, and the firm was back in the streets, shuttling diplomats and other “important” persons across the region.

However, the dirt doesn’t stop there. Now, according to the Associated Press (AP), the firm has been accused in dealing arms on a black market to terrorist groups. There is sufficient evidence, the prosecutors’ estimate, for indictments to be handed down in connection with this.

This is atrocious. We are represented by whom we hire to do our work for us. Ask any contractor and he’ll tell you that their reputation is on the line when they hire a sub-contractor do to work; should that person/group mess up, it reflects negatively on the main contractor, and the business as a whole. These security groups are, in effect, the employees of the US government. As such, we should hold them to a very strict standard, for their actions are a direct representation of our own beliefs and opinions on the matters at hand. If we allow them to get away with such activities, which clearly undermine our own objectives in the region (whatever those might be), then we send a clear message that we don’t’ care how we treat their people, their country, nor do we really care about their goals of reform and growth into a stable democracy.

It is fairly clear to me what should happen with these firms. With the amount of shoddy work and questionable conduct that has been lined up, there should be an immediate suspension of their contract and duties in Iraq. But what of their jobs? You might ask, what will happen to the emissaries and ambassadors and other VIPs that need to be escorted around the country like blushing prom dates? Well, we recently added some 30,000 plus soldiers to the area… and it is widely known that we pay less for soldier’s wages than for these security personnel. I think we can handle that. It is our job as employer to make sure our employees are not sabotaging the company behind our backs. That wouldn’t stand in corporate America, and it shouldn’t stand with our government either.

No comments: