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Hillary vows crackdown on Blackwater

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November 7, 2007

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton Tuesday vowed to rein in huge private security contractors like Blackwater in Iraq if she is elected president next year.

Clinton slammed the Bush administration for pushing “billions of dollars out of the door to these contractors” during a meeting with supporters in rural Iowa.

“We have got to rein them in,” Clinton said. “They have no accountability, we have seen that with Blackwater.”

“It is a disgrace that they have got all that money, they are not answerable to anybody.”

The contractor shot to prominence on September 16, when its guards, protecting a State Department convoy in Baghdad, opened fire in a crowded square killing 17 civilians.

Blackwater said its men were fired upon first, but the Iraqi government called the killings unprovoked.

Congressional backers of Blackwater have argued that the firm is vital to US operations in Iraq because it protects diplomats and high-level visitors, freeing up US troops combat and stability missions.

During her event, before several hundred people in a frigid barn on the Iowa prairie, Clinton did not mention her two chief rivals for the Democratic nomination John Edwards and Barack Obama, who have been subjecting her to a fierce grilling over the last week.

Edwards was in the key midwestern state on Monday, where he castigated Clinton for acting like a “hawk” in Washington and a “dove” among campaign trail Democrats wary of the prospects of a US military strike on Iran.

Obama pressed home the attack Tuesday before starting a bus tour through Iowa, which holds first party nominating contests on January 3.

He tackled the former first lady on the time-honored battleground of ethanol, one of Iowa’s top products, accusing her of doing a U-turn on subsidies.

“It’s hard to believe that she is a strong ethanol supporter given her track record and this is something that represents a major reversal,” Obama told the Des Moines Register newspaper in an interview.

“If she’s willing to shift this quickly on this issue, we don’t know whether she will shift back when it gets hard.”

The Obama campaign has accused Clinton of making votes “against ethanol” during her tenure in the Senate.

Obama and Edwards have been trying to paint Clinton as prey to each political wind, arguing she does not stand on principle but shifts position for political advantage.

The Clinton campaign accuses her two rivals of launching desperate negative attacks, in a bid to topple her from her commanding position atop opinion polls.

8 Responses to Hillary vows crackdown on Blackwater

  1. barak

    November 7, 2007 at 8:20 am

    WHY WAIT HILLARY?????????
    You and Obama are currently Senators. Why wait until you may be elected President to try to get rid of these suckers at the teat of the Treasury? Start NOW!!!!
    I’m sick of empty promises that never come to fruition if and when a candidate is elected. Let them act now if they are a representative in Congress as many are. Even the Governors have some legislative options and could do SOMETHING!!!!!
    Sitting on hands or being away campaigning is not an option. We need action now.
    Do it or drop out.

  2. Steve Horn

    November 7, 2007 at 8:26 am

    heh .. wonder if she’ll fess up to whitewater while she’s at it …

    Steve

  3. dbumRob

    November 7, 2007 at 8:39 am

    Ah, the wording my fellow voters. As already pointed out, why wait. Look what she actually said.

    She said, if the article is accurate, that she’d rein them in. Not cancel anything. Billions gone without accountability. So really what she is saying is she’ll add a veneer of accountability, which will be the reining in. They’ll still get their billions.

    Blackwater type operations should be regulated by law to private security. The military should do it’s own work. Mostly because in the case in Iraq, outsourcing is freakin’ expensive. It isn’t saving us taxpayers anything.

    An empty promise not backed up by anything other than to add some accountability. This is why I won’t vote for her.

  4. Sandra Price

    November 7, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Reining them in is not throwing them out! Is there anyone running who will throw them out? Let’s see….Gravel, Kucinich and RON PAUL!!!!

  5. Donnat

    November 7, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    I agree with a previous post, I’d like to see Hillary walk her talk while she’s still in the Senate, then I’ll be more willing to believe her.

    That said, I wish this whole group would stop ‘attacking’ each other and behave themselves. Whoever emerges as the candidate could pick one of them for a running mate, and the Dems would be unbeatable. They’re all good candidates, they need to resist taking the low road. Obama had been running a very classy campaign until someone gave him the bad advice that attacks like these work.

    When the GOP attacked themselves this way in 2000, Bush emerged as their candidate. If we’re not careful, we’ll end up with the worst we could have done as well.

    Donnat

  6. SEAL

    November 7, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Don’t you just love the way these clowns act like they had no idea about the use, the expense, and the true operations of the private security companies in Iraq before one of them went off on their own little war zone, got caught, and it made the news.

    They all knew they were there, what it was costing, and why they were there. Bushco was paying 10-12 times as much for mercs in order to avoid the necessity of a draft. This is one of the reasons why you know that candidates like Clinton have no intention of ending our occupation of Iraq. If they actually were, as they claim, against the war they would have moved to legislate the private security outfits off the government payrolls. If Bush and the Pentagon had not been able to use them they would have had to scale back as not able to maintain the operations the way they have.

    So, this is Clinton turning the failure to discharge their senatorial oversight responsiblities properly into a plus political issue for her election campaign and show how tough she will be by “reining” in what should not exist in the first place. Why should we be paying [such exhorbiant rates] to protect all these “other people.” If people like contractors, dignataries, Iraqi officials, and so on need the protective services of merc types, they can hire their own. Our marines will protect our State Department people.

    Clinton is more hawk than any of the republican candidates. She and Bill must be making a fortune out of this thing.

  7. bryan mcclellan

    November 7, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Hillibill has nice big lips to kiss the neocons asses and a rehearsed repertoire of lies to fool the masses.Seal you are absolutely correct about her knowledge of all the wrong doings of our government.To feign ignorance is totally disingenuous and shows her contempt for we the commoners. All this talk of play nice is bullshit.I want someone to stand up and call a spade a spade and a lying bitch a bitch…

  8. RSW

    November 7, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    I find it interesting that, flush with money from the scurrying defense industry, Helen of Troy now wants to rein in the merc’s. This sly mink in sheep’s clothing wants your vote over the side issue that we the people must support the use of our national armies for the continued policing of the countries where our global corporations operate. Pure and simple, this is just neocolonialism at work.

    It isn’t just the mercenaries that need to be removed from U.S. policy. We need to quit using our own military for the same purposes. Bring ALL of them back from the 130 odd countries where we have bases, and put them to work on the borders, if that’s what we want. Let the NG’s and their materiel go back to caring for their respective state emergencies, which is their purpose.

    We must pull back and reexamine our position in this world, for America is bleeding to death from all of these exploits. So it’s time to drop the pretenses: we don’t belong in other peoples’ backyards, especially when our own grows dense with weeds. Besides, nobody fights our high tech wars, instead opting for the war of a thousand cuts, the only way to be effective against the war machine that we’ve invented.

    So don’t pay attention to Elvis over there. Helen of Troy only wants enrich herself while sinking our ships.

    Oldernwiser