Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Blackwater remains a national security threat

Dear Editor,
Dismissal of the Blackwater guards lethal actions in Nisour square on legal technicalities may be warranted. But their actions that day are still disgraceful, cowardly and infinitely consequential to our national security. It looks like no individual will be held accountable for the killing of 17 innocent Iraqis. I’m guessing that to many Iraqis and other Muslims around the world that is totally unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to me.
Jim Hanson “The end of a warrior witch hunt” and the Washington Times editorial (The Blackwater lynching 1-7-09) believe the guards should “be cleared of the impression that they purposefully slaughtered innocents”. Unfortunately there was a purpose to their slaughtering of innocent Iraqi’s that day. They did it to save themselves regardless of the local or global consequences. Their “dismissal” on technical grounds may be legal and but they are not innocent.
Mr. Hanson claims that what they did “was not a crime”. So it’s legal to intentionally kill innocent people as long as there is a “perception of a threat.” Mr. Hanson says that’s “what matters, not whether it actually was” a real threat. There is one monstrous problem in this perception. If 17 Americans were killed under similar circumstances here in the US somebody would be held accountable. And, when we chose to have one justice standard for Americans and another for foreign Muslims that’s goes directly on Osama bin Ladin’s recruiting posters. It’s also the same logic al Qaeda uses for killing innocent Americans.
Most U.S. military and counterterrorism professionals know the collateral damage caused by Coalition forces greatly assists Al Qaeda’s recruitment efforts. So each new al Qaeda (or Iraqi insurgent) recruit increases the risk to both US citizens and our brave soldiers.
Blackwater guards volunteered for those jobs with a clear understanding of the risks. They are well compensated for those risks. That day, they were clearly more interested in protecting their own lives than the lives of innocent Iraqi men, women and children who didn’t volunteer. The guards literally had no laws to obey that day. For them it was OK to slaughter innocent people if they perceived any threat. That operating procedure shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone on this planet, let alone legal.
We will never know exactly what happened that day but I’m relatively confident of two outcomes. First, those who pulled triggers that day will have to live with their actions until their judgement day. Second, all of us, even those who opposed the idea of invading Iraq will continue to suffer the consequences of future terrorist attacks inspired by the real or perceived Nisour Square incident.

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