With these fateful words, today’s New York Times article on Blackwater finishes off another tawdry, bloody, and very disturbing tale.
It is well worth reading, although get ready to weep at the end.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, there are three distinct battles being played out, in three very different locations.
* US Domestic arena
Darrell Issa, (R-CAL) a car thief, later a car alarm manufacturer, thief, scoundrel, liar and cheat,
Henry Waxman (D- CAL) currently, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
The key player? the reclusive, former special services neocon, ultra-evangelical president of Blackwater, Erik Prince.
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* US Foreign arena
Prime Minister Nouri Kamel Mohammed Hassan al-Maliki (Shia-Iraq)
US Secretary Condaleeza Rice (SexState- USA)
The Key player? The Iraqi on the street. If Maliki caves in to Condi’s pressure, all hope for an independent Iraq that can stand up for itself is gone forever.
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* Iraq Domestic arena
Blackwater USA (murderous Mercenaries)
The Iraqi People (target practice, especially the little ones)
The Key player? Surprisingly, American citizens have the biggest voice into who will win this battle. If we realize it in time, that is.
In the first battle, Issa is doing everything in his power to derail any US serious inspection or supervision of his friends in Blackwater. If you tasted but a sample of his recent speeches in congress, his performance on CSpan, and his incredible diatribe during the committee meeting, you would realize that profits and war-mongering are far more important than investigations, truth, and honor. Issa, a former fraud and car thief, knows quite a bit about honor. If he sees if coming down the street, he looks for the nearest dark alley or filthy, rubbish-strewn, muddy, piss-filled gutter to hide in until it passes.
As willful as Issa is, this contest won’t be a draw. Issa has the honor of slut puppy, and the street-fighting instincts of a Chechen mafia enforcer. Waxman will be lucky to just keep the knife wounds closed enough to complete the hearings. All you will see is the pathetic performance of Prince, strutting like an arrogant dictator, scoffing at a powerless legislator’s complaints and questions. Game – Issa.
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One thing that Condi does well is to stake out ground and win a temporary battle. Her lack of perspective, her inability to process contrary facts, her lack of imagination and curiousity, her bone-headed belief that George Bush is right about everything – all of these facets of her personality will play out in this contest of wills between herself and PM al-Maliki.
A simple look at the scorecard tells you who will win.
Who controls the purse-strings?
Who controls security for US and Iraqi diplomats and leaders?
Who controls the military?
Who controls the mercenaries?
Who does Maliki control in his own country?
Game – Condi.
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The last battleground is the most important. For Iraqis being used for target practice by a group of murderous thugs, shooting for no reason into groups of innocent Iraqi mothers and children, each day that Blackwater overstays Paul Bremer’s welcome, the idea that US can be trusted, that US wants an independent and democratic Iraq, and that the US will leave when asked, become laughable, in a desperate, bloody, and all too deadly sort of way.
The continued presence of Blackwater is doing more damage to Iraq’s future and to US-Iraqi relationships than almost any other decision made by our leaders. According to WaPo, BBC and NPR reports this morning, the anger across all sects, religious groups and political groups throughout Iraq is growing to the point of boiling over. Only someone as obtuse and small-minded as Condi Rice could miss the signs and alarms going off.
Iraqis have made up their minds. Regardless of whether a child was Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Christian, Jewish, Bedouine, or from a swamp tribe, every single Iraqi views Blackwater as the enemy.
Wonderful. It took several murderous events by Blackwater to finally unify the Iraqis. Against us.
Which leaves it to us. Unless and until we speak and demand that Blackwater be held accountable, that its murderers and scoundrels be arrested and tried, and that its mercenary contracts be cancelled immediately, things will only get worse.
If you permit me, I will finish where I began. Imagine a tired, sad, and hopeless man, a proud father, a loving husband, a man with hope, turn away from the cemetary. There lays his young son, his beautiful wife, dead, burried, gone forver. Imagine him heading to a dark alley in the streets of Baghdad. He takes off his robe, gets a quick instruction on how to press a button and then, he gingerly puts on the bundle of 40 kilos of C4. With a blessing to Allah, he put his robe back on, then heads slowly, with cold determination, hot hatred, and bittersweet love, to the nearest US military or Blackwater outpost.
“I am waiting to meet you in paradise.”