Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Part and parce of a pattern

Sept.18, 2007

Part and parcel of a pattern

THE PRACTICE of American "security" contractors to follow their own law and open fire at "suspects" anywhere in Iraq has only been underlined with the Iraqi government order on Monday of the cancellation of US security firm Blackwater's operating licence.
The practice has to be seen in the same context as the torture and humiliating treatment of Iraqi prisoners at US detention facilities — as exposed by the Abu Ghraib revelations — and the many cases where US soldiers opened fire at unarmed Iraqi civilians and covered up the atrocity by filing false reports. The central vein that runs through this pattern of behaviour is the reality that the higher echelons of power have condoned such practices. Whatever action has been taken by the US military against some of the soldiers involved in such incidents was prompted by the hue and cry created by the media and human rights groups. Indeed, the exposed cases represent only a small part of the actual incidents. We could expect to hear of more cases in the days ahead from US soldiers who have returned home crippled from or traumatised by the brutal actions they witnessed in Iraq.
In the Blackwater cases, the company's guards, who provide personal security for US civilian officials working in Iraq, opened fire on a crowd in Baghdad's Al Yarmukh neighbourhood, killing at least eight people and wounded 13. The guards were part of what was described as a US diplomatic convoy. The US embassy explained that the shooting happened when the private security guards "reacted to a car bomb."
It said "the car-bomb was in proximity to where State Department personnel were meeting. This is the reason Blackwater responded to that."
We have yet to hear an Iraqi government confirmation that there was indeed a car bomb in the area at the time of the killings. In the meantime, the embassy is going out of its way to defend Blackwater and protect its interests. According to an embassy spokesman, there is no confirmation of the cancellation of Blackwater's licence and the diplomatic mission is "continuing to discuss with the Iraqi government." No doubt, the discussion aims at allowing Blackwater to continue whatever it was doing in Iraq.
In simpler terms, the US military and political establishment prosecuting the war in Iraq consider Iraqis as not worthy of consideration as human beings. As far as they are concerned, it is simple tough luck for those Iraqis unfortunate enough to cross the paths of private American contractors who seem to have the run of the country.
And yet we told of the US determination to bring democracy and respect for human dignity and rights to Iraq. We wonder who many Iraqis would be left to enjoy democracy and respect for human dignity and rights by the time the US finishes whatever it intends to accomplish in the post-war country.