Monday, January 4, 2010

Federal judge tosses Blackwater case

Last week U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed all charges against five Blackwater World security guards accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians in a crowded Baghdad intersection in 2007. Three of these men were former U.S. Marines.  Two were Army veterans.

I reached out to my long time friend, a decorated Marine (retired) who served in Special Operations (and prefers to remain anonymous) to find out what he thought about the decision.  He graciously agreed to let me share his response.
I remember the incident when it happened. The media led their viewers to believe that Blackwater employees were an undisciplined bunch of trigger-happy mercs. My personal feelings of their leadership, interviewers, and recruiters were that they were "cowboys" with big egos that were, in my sole opinion, counter productive in a fire fight or diplomatic protection. It is not good business to be concerned about yourself when providing protecting in a hazardous area. However, like any other business, you have to sell yourself.

When providing protection for a mobile VIP, you get them to their objective as quickly as possible. If traveling behind a diplomatic flag, you don't stop or slow down. At the first sign of trouble return the VIP back to their home base; one of the chase vehicles will take care of the incident just long enough to suppress the fire and return to the VIP. No other action should be required. Certainly not to continue a fire fight or returning to the scene.

The true patriots of our country will always be willing to do what their President asks of them or what is needed to be done to keep our country intact and in line with our Constitution. However, if you can no longer trust your government to give their patriots the benefit of doubt for as long as they will be held accountable for their deeds and actions, does the country deserve these patriots? It's a difficult question to answer and not feel unfaithful. I, along with several others, can't remember how it feels to have a clear conscience or enjoy a peaceful sleep. But, we will always know that the American people and our Commander-in-Chief believed in us and they accept the things we were asked to do.

These young men, to be judged by their peers, would have to have a jury of those who have been in an intense fire fight or have been ambushed. I applaud the Judge. The accused may be guilty of a lack of fire discipline at the most. Now let's prosecute the prosecutors.
Paul Mirengoff at Powerline commented on the dismissal on Saturday:
I haven't studied the facts regarding the underlying charges, though I'm predisposed against criminal charges based on split second decisions made during a fire fight. As to Judge Urbina's decision, it seems pretty elementary that prosecutors can't base an indictment on statements made with the understanding that they won't be used. If that's what happened here, then the charges were correctly dismissed. As much as leftists must hate seeing individuals who protected American interests in Iraq walk, they may be hard-pressed to reconcile their displeasure with their civil libertarian posture. I'm confident some will manage this, though.

Urbina, by the way, is a liberal Clinton appointee. He was the judge who ordered the release of the Uighurs who were held at Guantanamo Bay.

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