Regarding last Wednesday’s Blackwater editorial:
While I would like to thank you for bringing up an important issue for debate concerning the United States and its contract with the security firm Blackwater, I feel as though the opinions presented were misleading and unfair.
Blackwater has been employed by the United States in Iraq since 2003, so to say the company is “trampling the security and liberty of Iraqi civilians” seems to be harsh considering the number of controversial incidents involving the firm can be counted on one hand.
Blackwater specializes in providing security for important individuals in Iraq, and to say they have performed adequately would be an understatement. Not a single person has died while under the protection of Blackwater. On the contrary, 30 of its employees have lost their lives protecting civilians in an often difficult war zone.
On Oct. 3, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, testified before Congress concerning his company.
According to his testimony, the firm has been involved in 195 shooting incidents since 2005 and also guarded 1,873 convoys in Iraq. A few supposedly controversial incidents, which are still under investigation, out of 1,873 does not seem to be consistent with the description of an “armed and unregulated group.” In fact, 122 employees have been fired for breaking rules within the company.
It is true that Blackwater’s legal status needs to be clarified. Putting them under the laws given to our military seems appropriate, given the type of work they do and the background of the employees. Nearly all come from a former post in the military.
Let us not forget the fact that the work this company does makes life easier for the U.S. service men and women on the ground in Iraq.
Without the help of private firms like Blackwater, U.S. forces would not be as productive as they are now, and even more soldiers would be put in harm’s way. Civilian court oversight of Blackwater and other contractors in Iraq would only mean a less effective presence on the ground and more cost to the American people.
Senior accounting major
from Richland Hills