Four members of Blackwater, a private military company that provided security for State Department personnel in Iraq, were found guilty of killing and injuring Iraqis during wartime. The men face decades in prison.
Conversely, in Benghazi, the State Department outsourced security to the February 17 Martyrs Bridages. Not only did F17MB flee when the Special Mission Compound came under attack but the group is made up of terrorists. Four Americans – including Ambassador Christopher Stevens – lost their lives due to a lack of security.
To this point, no one who made those security decisions has been held accountable and no one from F17MB has either.
Before getting to the details of the Blackwater convictions, have a look at this testimony from May 8th of last year, in which a State Department security official and the Deputy to Christopher Stevens were asked about F17MB:
Below are some details about the convictions of the four Blackwater employees. As you read, ask yourself if Stevens and Sean Smith would have preferred to have these four guys defending their compound over F17MB:
The charges stem from a 2007 incident in downtown Baghdad, when a Blackwater team was clearing a path for a State Department convoy after a car bomb exploded nearby. The four were charged with killing 14 and injuring 18 others.
The incident, coming at a time when the U.S. presence in Iraq had become deeply unpopular at home as well as abroad, generated new outrage about U.S. conduct and the use of armed contractors in a wartime environment. The shooting increased the scrutiny and criticism of Blackwater and its government contracts. The company later changed its name, first to Xe, and later to Academi.
Blackwater founder Erik Prince, who has been a vocal defender of the guards, declined to comment on the verdict.
The reaction in Iraq was muted. Evening news casts mentioned the verdict deep into their broadcasts, quoting news wires—after leading with political and military developments in the ongoing struggle against the Islamic state insurgency.
“I am confident that my clients—who are still residents in Iraq—would be pleased to know that the men they alleged killed their family members were held criminally accountable for their actions,” said Paul Dickinson, a lawyer for families of victims of the shooting. “The verdict is significant because it shows that paramilitary contractors who commit crimes abroad can be held accountable for their criminal actions.”
Legal questions about the admissibility of certain evidence in the case led a Washington district court to initially dismiss the case in 2009. On a trip to Iraq soon after the dismissal, Vice President Joe Biden made the unusual move of announcing that the U.S. would appeal. A higher court later reinstated the charges and some of the admissibility issues are likely to be the subject of appeals.
“This verdict is a resounding affirmation of the commitment of the American people to the rule of law, even in times of war,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, whose office prosecuted the case. “Seven years ago, these Blackwater contractors unleashed powerful sniper fire, machine guns, and grenade launchers on innocent men, women, and children. Today they were held accountable for that outrageous attack and its devastating consequences for so many Iraqi families.
So the case against the four was dismissed and Joe Biden helped to resurrect it. This is the same Joe Biden who defended the State Department’s handling of Benghazi.
As for the U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, who prosecuted the four Blackwater employees, he is the same U.S. Attorney who failed to prosecute Attorney General Eric Holder after Holder was held in contempt of Congress for not responding to a lawfully issued subpoena for documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.
If your blood is not boiling yet, here is