- It's Jeremy Scahill's view that Democratic Congresspeople did not do their homework.
- Blackwater guards (as well as Isreali commandos) were in New Orleans! Got there faster than the federal government. Prince just sent them in and a week later had a contract. The Blackwater guards were paid $350 a day and billed the US taxpayer $950 a day - for a profit of $600 a day each, per day! This is the cost of the small government Republicans so value and the privatizing of governmental functions.
- Blackwater is NOT all American as Prince claims: "They are all Americans, working for Americans, protecting Americans," as he noted several times in his blitz last week. Prince finds the word mercenary pejorative and says it doesn't apply to what they do. A mercenary is a professional soldier that works in the pay of a foreign armyYet his company hires TCN - Third Country Nationals - to fight America's battles. They ARE mercenaries. This helps to hide the cost of the war - both in lives and money.
- Prince's lawyers argue their status both ways - they are a private company and therefore are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. But they - at the same time - argue that the deserve the same sovereignty (that is soveriegn immunity) and are therefore not subject to civilian criminal law - either in Iraq's or in the US. It's straining relations with the Iraqis. One of Blackwater guards, drunk, shot and killed a body guard of the Iraqi VP. Blackwater simply shipped him out of Iraq. This story was recounted again today on the front page of the Washington Post in a general survey of the difficulties of oversight.
- 60 Minutes did not provide important context during its interview with Prince. 60 Minutes! Remember when 60 Minutes was the gold standard? (They botched Clarence Thomas' interview too, as Frank Rich notes.) The lovely Lara Logan questioned Prince. The same Lara Logan who Howard Kurtz quotes in his book, Reality Show, as saying "I would rather stick needles in my eyes than spend one second of my time on that story," referring to a request from her CBS bosses to do a piece on whether female soldiers were keeping cyber-pets online. In the 60 Minutes interview, she and Prince walked by the memorial for at Blackwater's NC headquarters for the 4 Blackwater employees who were strung up in Fallujah - the ones that caused the US military to crush that city. She did not mention that the four families of those men are SUING Blackwater for wrongful death and doing so mostly because they couldn't get answers as to what happened to their loved ones. A Blackwater executive told a mother, if you want to see that document you'll have to sue us. The Freedom of Information Act doesn't apply to private companies acting on the US gov't behalf (and being paid by US taxpayers) either.
- Fred Fielding - now White House counsel - was one of the original lawyers for Blackwater who diligently defended Blackwater against the families law suit.
Both Bill Moyers and David Rose elaborate the troubling aspects Rich only highlights - the fraud, cheating, and immorality that have been causing shame and suicides.
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