Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Blackwater and the "Military Aged Males" of Iraq

John Cook's 4500-page Blackwater document dump is incredibly engrossing. These little stories! It's like, "we shot this dude's car, then everything was okay." What a nightmare Baghdad must have been (for Iraqis, I mean).

7 Comments / Post A Comment

deepomega (#1,720)

I feel like there's some sort of "infinite monkeys at infinite typewriters" thing about one of these perfectly recreating the plot of Three Kings.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@deepomega Military Aged Monkeys?

NFK (#8,747)

@Niko Bellic Military Aged Monkeys typing aggressively towards the writer's block.

Astigmatism (#1,950)

There's a deep and abiding irony in seeing the Gawker comment section overrun with Paultards.

Jackie Thomason (#7,092)

No need to dwell on those wee unpleasantries. They are now named Academi.

jfruh (#713)

One of the things that always unsettles me about reading about America's various misadventures overseas is that, for both the military and the mercenaries, protecting yourself is paramount. Having typed that, I of course totally understand why that is — I mean, *I* certainly wouldn't want to get killed or blown up, nor would I want my buddies to be killed or blown up — but taken to an extreme, it justifies shooting at, maiming, or killing people because they're acting in a way that *might* indicate that they're a threat. Sometimes it might be because they are a threat! Or it just might indicate that they don't understand all the rules about how one is supposed to behave within firing distance of an occupying army, and that shouting instructions to them in a language they don't speak doesn't make those rules any clearer.

Basically if our number one concern is to keep our troops safe, we should keep them home, or at least in countries where nobody's going to shoot at them. If you're going to use the military as an instrument of policy in countries like Iraq, you have to balance short-term goals (like not getting individual soldiers/mercenaries killed) with long-term goals (like finishing the mission faster and more effectively, and also not killing citizens of a country that is ostensibly your ally).

What really freaks me out is I see some of the same rhetoric used for overwhelming use of police force here in the U.S. Sure, it turns out that random dude was unarmed, but he was reaching into his pocket and didn't respond when a cop shouted things at him unintelligibly and *could* have been pulling out a gun, if you don't want to get killed don't act twitchy around cops, etc.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@jfruh It's also a good thing how we make sure that we pay soldiers (and cops) at "fair market prices", so that they are recruited from the lowest points of their lives ("got nothing left to lose? why not join the army!") from which point they are put under highest levels of stress possible ("if I get wounded, will I even be able to afford the necessary medical treatment, and how would I support my family if I am left disabled?"), so that they are really left with no choice but to shoot to kill anything that moves. Then, when those things that move and are getting killed try to fight back, we just label them "terrorists" because, c'mon… who would want to keep killing them if they were given a legitimate right to defend themselves.

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