U.S. Operates with Hired Guns in Iraq

October 6, 2007

On September 16, private military guards employed by Blackwater, USA carried out an assault in Baghdad in which they launched munitions at Iraqi civilians from the ground and from a helicopter. An infant was found burned to its mother’s body inside the incinerated car of an Iraqi family killed in the bloody incident. According to U.S. State Department admissions, at least 10 civilians were killed and 13 wounded.

Due to mass outrage, U.S. imperialism’s puppet-government in Iraq has been forced to label the incident a crime and to issue a report about it that includes eyewitness testimony. Ever dutiful to U.S. imperialism, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki issued the feeble request that Blackwater’s 1,000 personnel be replaced. The Iraqi puppet-government—carefully avoiding open acknowledgement of the free reign U.S. imperialism has over every aspect of Iraqi government—is discussing passage of a law that would ostensibly allow Iraqi courts to try private military contractors! Unable to even feign the pretense of Iraqi “sovereignty,” U.S. officials quickly brushed aside the Iraqi report and request for Blackwater’s expulsion. Without bothering to tone down their chauvinism, U.S. officials have granted that some action may be approved after they have completed their own report.

On September 28, the U.S. State Department announced that it was sending a review board, made up of senior officials, to Iraq to assess security practices of Blackwater and other private military contractors. Revealing that the goal of such a review is to save face, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “Once they have established the baseline facts, I look forward to hearing their recommendations on how to protect our people while furthering our foreign policy objectives.”

In fact, the use of private military contractors is an important part of the strategy of U.S. imperialism in its attempts to subjugate Iraq while wearing the mask of “liberator” and “protector.” Like the conventional armed forces, private military contractors are immune from prosecution in Iraq. In addition, they are not even governed in words by the same regulations that formally apply to the U.S. military. This allows them even more agility in their use of brutal tactics with less fear of recourse. Furthermore, the use of contractors provides more space for U.S. imperialism’s high command to hide its hand when an atrocity is exposed, as it is now attempting (although Blackwater is the primary security company for the U.S. State Department in Iraq.) In addition, the use of private military contractors allows for ambiguity about how many troops really are occupying the country. Officials claim not to know how many hired guns are in Iraq, although Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admits to an estimated 25,000 private security contractors and others have spoken of substantially higher numbers.

True to form, U.S. imperialism is trying to use even this blatant exposure of the bestial character of its war, a war that even includes the extensive use of hired guns, to paint a picture of itself “finishing a job” of bringing “justice”, “freedom” and “democracy” to Iraq. In order to do this it seeks to portray a situation in which its worst crime is mismanagement of the “security situation;” a “mistake” which frequently recurs while U.S. officials hold a never ending variety of show trials and claim that the violence comes from any source other than their aggressive war itself.

U.S. imperialism’s multiple high-profile crimes in this war—the Blackwater crime on September 16, the massacres in Fallujah in 2004, the massacres in Haditha, the tortures in Abu Graib and elsewhere, the videotaped shooting of wounded Iraqis lying on the floor of a Mosque, etc., ad infinitum—cannot be explained away as isolated occurrences or as a result of lack of oversight and monitoring. On the contrary, these barefaced incidents merely highlight the well-known—that the U.S. military and its hirelings systematically use bestial methods. These methods are a reflection of the very character of the war. U.S. imperialism is waging an aggressive war aimed at subjugating Iraq and therefore it considers the vast majority of the people to be enemies who must be terrorized and forced to submit to its domination.

As long as U.S. imperialism occupies Iraq, it will persist in utilizing the various forces at its disposal, including hired guns, to terrorize the Iraqi people in attempts to force them into submission, all the while trying to prettify its own role. Not only Blackwater, but also George Bush and the entire high command of U.S. imperialism must be held accountable and made to pay for their crimes. Yet more, what is required for the realization of justice and an end to such atrocities is the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. and foreign troops.