Monday, October 08, 2007

Blackwater Politics

Poor, poor Blackwater. Thank goodness they have Bob "It's Ok To Reveal CIA Agents I Don't Like" Novak to defend them from all these "political" attacks.

Today, Novak says Democrats in Congress are "playing politics" with Blackwater because it is an "extremely Republican" company. ("Playing Politics With Blackwater.")

Let's examine Novak's logic and reasoning here. First, it is true that Blackwater is heavily involved in politics, making large campaign contributions almost exclusively to Republicans. They are about as neutral as Bob Novak.

Now, should it give us any pause that a company with such tendencies just happens to be the recipient of approximately $600 MILLION in federal contracts? We'd certainly be concerned if the Bush administration started paying Bob Novak hundreds of millions of dollars without any oversight.

Still, it kind of depends on things, right--we mean, you can be a politically oriented company and still deliver good service to the government at a competitive price. But then, there needs to be accountability.

So what kind of oversight did Blackwater receive while the GOP controlled both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch? Basically, NONE. Indeed, it got some sweetheart deals and managed to get the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to give it carte blanche to do whatever it wants.

It appears that some overzealous Blackwater employees managed to murder as many as 17 Iraqis recently in a hail of heavy caliber gunfire while crossing through one of Baghdad's squares protecting some person of minor importance.

Can you imagine what would happen here if, say, the Secret Service managed to kill 17 innocent Americans while protecting the President. There would be hearings, believe it, and a lot more.

We can also imagine what would happen if a private security company in the U.S. managed to kill 17 Americans under any circumstances: the trial bar would sue it into liquidation faster than you can say gross negligence.

When Blackwater's cocky little Prince of a chief executive testified before Congress last week, he said "people make mistakes. They do stupid things sometimes." Yep. And they PAY for them, too. But Blackwater seems to think it is completely above the law, and that Iraqi lives don't really matter.

At that same hearing, the GOP representatives--beneficiaries of Blackwater's financial largesse--spent most of their time lauding Mr. Prince and kissing his butt, rather than asking any probing questions.

So, Mr. Novak, we think your complaint is all wet. Republicans have been playing politics with Blackwater all along. It's time someone held the company to account.

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