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October 23, 2010

Wikileaks II: We Are Blackwater

Gervasio Sanchez/A.P.
Gervasio Sanchez/A.P.

The Department of Defense (DOD) increasingly relies upon contractors to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has resulted in a DOD workforce that has 19% more contractor personnel (207,600) than uniformed personnel (175,000). Contractors make up 54% of DOD’s workforce in Iraq and Afghanistan.

– Department of Defense report. July 2, 2010

With the latest Wikileaks release highlighting the magnitude of contractor deficiencies, the NYT offered up this rooftop scene from 2004. The symbolism of these two beefy Blackwater mercenaries advancing on a building in Najaf is telling. While American and Spanish soldiers sit back, the private label boys offer up a whole other level of offense and aggressiveness.  Go get ‘em!

(caption: On April 4, 2004, private contractors working for the Blackwater security company took part in a firefight in Najaf as Iraqi demonstrators loyal to the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr tried to advance on a buidling being defended by American and Spanish soldiers.)

  • robert e

    It’s a dynamic but ambiguous composition. They are either running aggressively, or just trying to keep their heads down. The soldiers are taking shelter, but seem very relaxed. The mercenaries are running away from the shielding wall and toward the photographer–so are they running toward or away from fire? Observe two wrong ways to hold a live weapon among friends. To this untrained eye, the picture just doesn’t add up.

  • http://reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com Stan B.

    If memory serves- let’s not forget that it was when those Blackwater assholes went out ill prepared and got themselves strung up on that bridge that things really hit the fan and went south in Iraq. We then felt compelled to go into Sadr City to “avenge their honor,” something they never had and could never aspire to.

  • http://agrippinaminor.com/scarabus/ Wayne Dickson

    How do you know whether those guys are running toward the enemy, Marine fashion, or (as Robert noted) keeping low while heading for a less exposed position?

    Many of our highest ranking government officials are guarded now by mercenaries. How can that be a good thing? Remember how the Germanic tribes turned from mercenaries to invaders? And the “interesting” history of the Praetorian Guard and the Roman emperor-ship?

    Incidentally, notice how often the mercenaries are shown without helments, while the lower-paid official troops are required to wear them? I’ve often wondered whether that’s because they’d rather die than have to live with the traumatic brain injury attendant on use of Kevlar helmets. Anyone know?

  • g

    Incidentally, notice how often the mercenaries are shown without helments, while the lower-paid official troops are required to wear them?

    That’s the first thing I noticed in this photo. Of course, the US troops get VA healthcare if they are injured. The Blackwater guys – who knows?

    • mesp13

      That’s the first thing I noticed in this photo. Of course, the US troops get VA healthcare if they are injured. The Blackwater guys – who knows?

      And who cares?

  • Tom D.

    Also interesting to my eye is the soft hat in the foreground and the stains on the floor. Wherever these guys are running, the photographer got there first. The helmeted troops look pretty relaxed. Is the one second right taking a photo?

  • momly

    I wonder if the Blackwater guys and their ilk are so gung ho (if they are indeed advancing and not retreating) because the money’s so good. And is the money that good?

    The not so well paid troops are hanging back letting the elite highly moneyed squad go first. Why risk death when someone with a bigger paycheck will draw fire?

    AND if the mercenaries are paid very very well, where are their loyalties? Jesus himself said “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Makes me nervous.

  • Marsupialas

    The soldiers sitting the background seem unconcerned. These two bozos appear to be fleeing.

  • tushka

    Perspective: Please look to the lower left side of picture – that is a pretty dramatic blood stain left by an El Sal special forces sgt who was shot in the face. The troops along the wall were not “relaxed” like a day at the beach…they were exhausted by this point. This battle went on continuously for a few days. Also on this rooftop: A CPT was shot through the chest, a Marine was shot in the back. To make it to the only access point…it was a good idea to run…sometimes pictures can be a bit deceiving.

  • BWCS

    Ya know for folks who were not in black water. Or even have any idea what goes on in a combat zone your all fairly funny. as for us blackwater assholes yay. If your miltary wasent given some lame ass R O E .Blackwater wouldent have had to do shit. But from what i can gather most of you are some civi faggots. Such civi faggots like most of you have classified
    private security details as death squads. fan fucken tastic. If you were not there shut your fucken holes. and stop typing. READ THE ROE FOR A ENLISTED SOLDIER . we did our joib
    and fuck you stan b . the miltyary did what they could god bless us all   

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