Monday, May 02, 2005

 

Custer Battles

There is an excellent article by AP reporter Deborah Hastings on the absolutely disgusting fraud taking place at U.S. taxpayer expense in Iraq, personified in its most rambunctious form by the Custer Battles contracting firm. The story of Custer Battles is not new, but it needs to be reiterated again and again, I think, because it's important that the people who are paying these mercenaries (that would be the American taxpayers) realize exactly what they are getting for their money. And it's not just Custer Battles.
Custer Battles is one of at least 60 private firms, collectively employing more than 20,000, living in a war zone. They have their own arms, their own vehicles, their own body armor. Some even have their own helicopters. Their security ranks include an assortment of aging warriors who believe they can still laugh at death.
Though Custer Battles did develop a reputation of being one of the most out-of-control group of U.S.-funded mercenaries operating in Iraq.
["Hank," a retired lieutenant colonel working for the firm] described a Baghdad hotel gunfight that erupted not long after Custer Battles security agents landed. It was started by a rocket-propelled grenade attack. When the smoke cleared, the guards – who'd leaned out windows and fired more than 3,000 rounds in the middle of a residential neighborhood – realized they had been shooting at each other.

Earlier this year, four former employees, all military veterans, said they quit after witnessing Custer Battles security escorts shooting indiscriminately at civilians, including gunning down a teenager walking along a road. The men also said guards in a truck drove over a car containing children and adults while trying to make their way through a traffic jam.
Unfortunately, most Americans are certainly not aware of this. They don't realize that their money is being paid to mercenaries with little real accountability and zero sense of accountability.

Comments:
Yes, and thanks to Judith Miller and the NYT, most Americans think that the biggest fraud committed with regard to Iraq was done by Kofi Annan's son in the oil-for-food "scandal".

And those same Americans think, if they know anything about it at all, that four American mercenaries getting attacked and mutilated in Fallujah justified the aerial bombing of that city and its inhabitants.

Did you see Bob Herbert's piece in the Times today? And if you read Effect Measure you'll see what new awful weapons the military is getting ready to loose on Iraq -- probably in the hands of private contractors as well as military.
 
That's Aunt Deb up there. Blogger keeps bloggering up my comments!
 
I usually know it's you, signature or no signature, Aunt Deb. :) I'll be sure to read the Herbert and Effect Measure tomorrow. But it's 5:00, time to shut down the thinker.
 
"...most Americans are certainly not aware of this..."

I sure wasn't. But I shudder at the realization that mercenaries and a white house committed to "free enterprise" are a marriage made in hell: it suddenly seems like it was just bound to happen. So if one of THESE trigger happy SOBs gets photographed doing something atrocious, what happens next? Can't be court martialed. I assume my taxes buy their bullets and their billed services but who pays when they are in the docket at the Hague? How immune to shame IS the bush league?
 
"...but who pays when they are in the docket at the Hague?

If only! As far as immunity from shame goes, I'd say that if we've gotten this far, those with any shame have probably already made their exits. The crew we're left with has full immunity.
 
Can't wait to see the outcome of these court cases...you always have to be aware of the person who sits and takes a public beating, the final round may be the round they pipe up and kill their opponent with evidence.
 
I'm sorry, I got lost somewhere in here. To what court cases are you referring?
 
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