Wednesday, November 14, 2007


As suspected, the FBI has found that the shootings of Sept. 16th of Iraqis by Blackwater employees were unjustifed:

F.B.I. Says Guards Killed 14 Iraqis Without Cause

A major point I found very interesting and rather problematic is embedded in this statement:

Representative David E. Price, a North Carolina Democrat who has sponsored legislation to extend American criminal law to contractors serving overseas, said the Justice Department must hold someone accountable for the shootings.

"Just because there are deficiencies in the law, and there certainly are," Mr. Price said, "that can't serve as an excuse for criminal actions like this to be unpunished. I hope the new attorney general makes this case a top priority. He needs to announce to the American people and the world that we uphold the rule of law and we intend to pursue this."

As the article later points out, Price's legislation will not apply to the events of Sept. 16th, which he also acknowledges. Unfortunately, I believe the above statement is logically inconsistent and contains the key argument against any prosecution (at least in a US or Iraq court) of the Blackwater people. That is, there is no clear law under which these acts can be prosecuted as criminal, but they are criminal anyway and the AG should show that we enforce laws even when there aren't any that we can apply. I have trouble believing that Mr. Price could have really meant for this to be the meaning of his statement (or legislation) but this is my reading of it and I think it is a sound one. As such, and I don't usually advocate this, it seems that the only applicable doctrine is international law, and this probably needs to be dealt with as a war crime. Call in the Hague and the Tribunal I say, because I really think this looks godawful for us (and is godawful in and of itself) if we (america) allow for these kinds of atrocities to pass without second thought. I only hope a more coherent case than what this Rep is spewing can be made before the international community. That being said, does it seem like he is advocating such a course? And who is liable in such a case, the guards themselves, the organization that employs them, the heads of that organization, etc?

What fun and important things we are doing with our $1.6 trill.

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