The Problem with the Blackwater Indictments

So, five Blackwater guards have been indicted on charges related to a 2007 shooting in which 17 Iraqis were killed. Blackwater hired guns should be held accountable for their actions—actions that Iraqis call premeditated murder. However, I see a major problem with this. As I said when light sentences were given out to U.S. soldiers for murdering Iraqi civilians: “We should never forget that since the invasion and occupation of Iraq was itself aggressive, unnecessary, and immoral–every Iraqi killed by U.S. troops could be said to be murdered.”

The government criticizing Blackwater is the ultimate case of the pot calling the kettle black. It diverts people’s attention from the criminality of the war. The most ardent supporters of the war can condemn Blackwater guards while at the same time lauding U.S. soldiers as defenders of our freedoms even though they have unleashed a genocide in Iraq. It is hard to get excited about the indictments of the Blackwater guards when I see no indictments forthcoming of George Bush, Robert Gates, and Donald Rumsfeld.

Author: Laurence Vance

Laurence Vance holds degrees in history, theology, accounting, and economics. He has written and published twelve books and regularly contributes articles and book reviews to both secular and religious periodicals.

53 thoughts on “The Problem with the Blackwater Indictments”

  1. Don’t forget Cheney. And Tony Blair. And 95% of the U.S. Congress. They are all complicit and need to be punished for their outrageous crimes.

  2. Why not indict the guys who put Blackwater there in the first place? They are the real, but unpunished, criminals.

  3. So US soldiers have released “genocide” in Iraq? are ignorant. Where are you getting your information from? This is the problem with blogs…even the most uninformed ignorant person can post an opinion. Have you even been to Iraq? Have you embedded with US Soldiers since you dont have the intestinal fortitude to fight on our side or the other? I have more respect for those market and mosque bombing terrorist than you. At least they take a side and support it….you on the other hand…attempt to spread lies and deciet about a nation that above all, attempts to do the right thing.

    1. I don’t know what your threshold of genocide is. For me 100,000+ civilians killed in an unprovoked invasion by another race is genocide. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

      “This is the problem with blogs…even the most uninformed ignorant person can post an opinion.”

      How true, but do continue posting your opinions. It gives ppl like me something to laugh at.

      1. Its called war…not genocide…Was the American war to free the slaves and reuitie the union genocide?…and most of those civilian deaths have been caused by terrorist bombings. I dont see you getting upset at them….why do u blame America and not those groups responsible? You play right into the hands of those who think there is a means to an end of suicide bombing markets and schools. If someone bombed your supermarket where your family members would have been killed..i think you’d have a different opinion of whos really the bad guy.

        1. JD: I see you have conveniently failed to read the link to the “genocide” article to preserve your “innocent” ignorance — thus proving you are a good American.

        2. I blame America BECAUSE America invaded Iraq. If Iraq had invaded the U.S. I would have blamed Iraq. You are so blind.

        3. JD: “most of those civilian deaths have been caused by terrorist bombings”

          You haven’t a single statistic to support this assertion, do you?

      2. JD: “If someone bombed your supermarket where your family members would have been killed..i think you’d have a different opinion of whos really the bad guy.”

        The above point, though not at all intentional considering the context, provides some hope that the JD’s of the world might stumble upon a “moment of clarity.” Those at the end of a gun do often see things quite differently, and react when they’ve suffered enough.

      3. Ok, so let’s try to discuss this with you, JD, and for now accept your comment that it’s not genocide but war. Why is that any better? Why is the US military in Iraq, killing and maiming people? Would you agree that Iraq posed no threat to the US? What “right thing” is being pursued by the US military invasion and occupation of Iraq?

    2. According to the Opinion Reasearch Business’ recent study, over 1 million Iraqis have been killed as a result of the American invasion in 2003.

      This is not to mention those Iraqis who have been injured, maimed, imprisoned, impoverished, or turned into the refugees by the USA. This number must be even higher and in the millions as well.

      Oh, and don’t forget those hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (many of whom were children) that were killed by the American-led UN economic sanctions on Iraq throughout the 1990s and beyond. But, hey, as Madeline Albright notoriously said, this “price is worth it.”

  4. FYI: 2nd hyperlink (“said”) has extra “http//.”

    Excelently put, Mr. Vance. The central government is ever innocuous. “Thanks, USDOE, MSM, and think tanks! We couldn’t run the country without you!”

  5. “Principles of the
    Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950
    No. 82
    Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal. Adopted by the International Law Commission of the United Nations, 1950.
    Introductory note: Under General Assembly Resolution 177 (II), paragraph (a), the International Law Commission was directed to “formulate the principles of international law recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the judgment of the Tribunal.” In the course of the consideration of this subject, the question arose as to whether or not the Commission should ascertain to what extent the principles contained in the Charter and judgment constituted principles of international law. The conclusion was that since the Nuremberg Principles had been affirmed by the General Assembly, the task entrusted to the Commission was not to express any appreciation of these principles as principles of international law but merely to formulate them. The text below was adopted by the Commission at its second session. The Report of the Commission also contains commentaries on the principles (see Yearbook of the Intemational Law Commission, 1950, Vol. II, pp. 374-378).
    Authentic text: English Text published in Report of the International Law Commission Covering its Second Session, 5 June-29 Duly 1950, Document A/1316, pp. 11-14.

    Principle I
    Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.
    Principle II
    The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.
    Principle III
    The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.
    Principle IV
    The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.
    Principle V
    Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.
    Principle Vl
    The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under; international law:
    Crimes against peace:
    Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
    Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
    War crimes:
    Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
    Crimes against humanity:
    Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.
    Principle VII
    Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law.
    WWW URL:
    The Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal

  6. ” It is useless to appeal to any “American” sense of morality: we have none. It does not matter how immense the pile of corpses grows: we will not surrender or even question our delusion that we are right, and that nothing we do can be profoundly, unforgivably wrong.

    No moral principle legitimizes our invasion and occupation of Iraq, just as it will not justify an attack on Iran. Therefore, when the first person was killed in Iraq as the result of our actions, the immorality was complete. The crime had been committed, and no amends could ever suffice or would even be possible. That many additional tens or hundreds of thousands of people have subsequently been killed or injured does not add to the original immorality with regard to first principles. It increases its scope, which is an additional and terrible horror — but the principle is not altered in the smallest degree.

    Iraq did not attack us. Iraq did not threaten us. Our leaders knew it. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq were blatant, indefensible acts of aggression. Therefore, when the very first Iraqi was killed as the result of our actions, we had committed an act that was gravely immoral, and entirely unforgivable”

    1. Not just Iraq either. There are many other examples. What about Serbia? Did Serbian warplanes bomb America for 78 days in 1999? Nope, other way round. Actually when you consider all of the meddling America does around the world the wonder is that there hasn’t been more terrorist attacks on American soil.

      1. The reason there were no more attacks is that the US has turned into a police, fascist state, where the citizen-sheep have gratefully turned over accountability and freedom alike to an ill-defined but ever more present governing power.

    2. And please contrast this situation to Russia/Georgia recent conflict.

      a) at least 20 Russian soldiers have been killed (those that were on UN approved peace keeping mission, with full support of residents of that territory)
      b) at least 200 civilians were killed
      c) in retaliation several (unrevealed) hundreds of Georgian army soldiers were killed
      d) those that refused to fight – were not killed – there are reports of bombs targeted clear of Georgians soldiers that refused to continue to fight
      e) Russian tanks approached suburbs of the capital, but did not enter
      f) in spite of all attempts to picture Russia as an agressor, no more then 10 civilians were reported
      f) it took only one month to retreat back into the zones that were not under Georgia control before the conflict
      g) most important – Russian people are pretty much united in the mood of “We don’t want to manage them (Georgians), let them clear their own mess” – i.e. no desire for occupation, after imposing punishment – on the army, not civilians.

      Of course war is always last resort, war is ugly etc. etc., but trying to act by the principles outlined in the above mentioned 1950 document helps a lot.

  7. looks as though JD wandered out of the wooded area into hostile territory.

    don’t forget to reference Marine General Smedley Butler’s “War is a Racket”, among other inspiring volumes

  8. Yes, I served as an infantryman in Iraq and was severely wounded. I know the cost of this war…I have paid it. Funny thing is..most people that are against the war arent in the military and have not made any sacrifices for the war effort or had anyone in their immediate family serve in the war. Ive been there…i didnt kill any innocent iraqis..nor did any of my men. SO where are you getting your info from? Most dead Iraqis ive come in contact with were killed by terrorist suicide bombings. So why would I blame America for that? That has nothing to do with America…it has to do with a group of madmen that think killing innocent people further their cause. Its a sick strategy, almost as sick as most of your thoughts that we are to blame because of other peoples actions. Its retarded.

    We started the war, yes…but that war was against Saddam Hussain…not the Iraqi people. Al qaeda in Iraqs war is against America and the Iraqi people. WHo’s side do you think the iraqi people are on anyway? Its certainly not on the side of terrorism…more iraqi army soldiers have been killed by terrorist than American soldiers. I think most of you just need to sit down, think about whats going on, coming from those that have been there and unbiased press…such as War isnt pretty..its hell..but its necessary at times. America came from war as did every other western civlization. War has lasted from the first men to today. For you to think that its always unnecessary is like an adult still believing in the easter bunny. Do you think war against the groups committing genocide in Darfur would stop the genocide? or do you think if we keep doing nothing and ask them to stop..they will. Do you think we could have asked Hitler to stop? COme on people…be realistic. Sometimes its necessary. Hey…hold on. Ok, after reading this im sure its time to go write a letter to Santa to send to the North pole.

    1. The war in Iraq was not neccessary. Nor is America’s cause there just. I think your engaging in rationalization and self-deception. Consider this. How many Iraqis and Americans would be alive today had America never invaded Iraq?

      1. ANDY…how many people would be alive if the founding fathers didnt start the Revolution? How many if the north let the south break away from the union and prolong slavery? What about if America just let Hitler and the japanese take over the world? Come on now….there are things worth dying for. Obviously you must have no responsibility for anyone other than yourself..or do you value freedoms that you have today after a corny statement like that. Life is not your right…it is a privledge. Any thing, man, organism, virus could snatch you away today. Nature, God, or whoever you belive in determines that. If you dont believe that…then you dont know the value of life.

        1. There is absolutely NO CONNECTION between any of the events you describe sir, and the unprovoked American invasion of Iraq. I am also disturbed by your curious fatalism. I do in fact happen to believe my life is my right and not a privilege. It is certainly not something to be squandered in an unjust war by the mere whim of the neo-cons and Dick Cheney’s of the world (all of whom are chicken-hawks by the way). I hope you continue to read Perhaps you will change your views in time.

        2. Nothing you have described here bears any relation to America’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Iraq sir. Invading another country on false charges is most certainly not a cause worth dying for. I am also disturbed by your curious fatalism My life DOES in fact belong to me. It is my right to have it sir, not a privilege. It is most certainly not something to be squandered by the neocons and Dick Cheney’s of this world (all of whom are chicken-hawks by the way). Your bizarre attempts to draw non-existent parallels between various historical events and the illegal attack on Iraq are absurd. You say I don’t know the value of life? But I’m not the one taking life away from Iraqis now am I? You are.

        3. Andy…Im not talking about 2003. We are there…we are in a fight…get over it. Iraqis, Saudis, Jordanians, Algerians, Moroccans, Iranians, British citizens, french citizens, American citizens, Canadian citizens, German citizens…I will kill anyone who comes to Iraqi/Afghanistan and engages in terrorism against the people I have pledged to support. Believe that. I will defend the defenseless against terrorism…the defenseless is the mother shopping at the market, the child at school, the man going to his daily place of business, people walking down the street going to one place from another. That is the prefered target…not the US/Brit soldier. YOU..not ME. You have never put your life down to assume anyones security. I have. Who is the humanitarian here? When is the last time you have hunted down people that kill innocent civilians (and im not taking about accidently killing civilians while targeting the enemy. that is war…it happens, and it is regretable)? Sir, I have shed blood for these people…how many iraqis have u come in contact with? How many do you personally know that live in Iraq? Where are you getting your information from? How do you claim moral and political superiority over me when you have never spent any time in Iraq? Answer those questions….

        4. There is no bigger terrorism than the invasion ,destruction ,and occupation of a country that never was a threat .

    2. “War isnt pretty..its hell..but its necessary at times.”

      And an (undeclared) “war” against Iraq was “necessary” why exactly?

      1. you idiots are still stuck in 2003…GET OVER IT!! WE ARE THERE!! AND WE ARENT GOING TO LOSE JUST SO YOU CAN SO “I TOLD YOU SO” …What dont u get it that if we lose Americans will die over there and so will innocent iraqis? Geez you are shallow, naive, and stupid. You are still having the pre-war debate. Its like asking…”Who’s at fault?” when you are in the middle of a fist fight. Does it matter who threw the first punch? NO…YOU HAVE TO WIN! Its necessary because we arent going to lose on purpose. There is something called honor…and the country still has it…except for weak naive people like you. You go over to the enemy and see how you are treated. Surrender as an American in Iraq/Afghan and see if you dont get your stupid head cut off on live TV broadcasted around the world!! If you were a jihadi all you’d have to worry about at worst was a dog in your face and the feeling of drowning. (back in the early days of the war only). Damn you are stupid. You are the reason these jihadis keep faith in their cause. Luckily there are Americans like me who know better and stand by with sword in hand to cut off THEIR heads in battle. Say a prayer tonight and thank God or whoever you pray to for American men and women who are willing to make that sacrifice in YOUR PLACE. You are about as naive and ungrateful as a little child. Shame on you sir or ma’am

        1. “Does it matter who threw the first punch? No…YOU HAVE TO WIN”,,,

          By that (il)logic it doesn’t matter that Germany invaded Poland or Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. A Nazi victory would have been end justification in itself.

        2. “Does it matter who threw the first punch? NO…YOU HAVE TO WIN!”

          By your (il)logic it doesn’t matter that Germany invaded Poland or Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. All that mattered is for the Nazis to win.

        3. JD says:
          “You idiots are still stuck in 2003”

          JD says:
          “We started the war, yes…but that war was against Saddam Hussain… not the Iraqi people.”

          Hmm, was that not in 2003? What am I missing?

      2. “They plunder, they slaughter, and they steal: this they falsely name Empire,
        and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace.”

        ~ Tacitus

    3. Contrast this to Russia/Georgia war of 2008 – and it is similar to US/Iraq war, where one side is apparently much stronger then the other (not to mention the nuclear weapon), and the “little” country is ruled by an asshole.

      Do Russian people like Saakashviliy? No more then US people liked Saddam. Is this a good reason to kill him and occupy the country, even if there IS a bona fide casus beli? NO.

      By the way – did US people like Stalin? Did they like Brezhnev? What about Putin? Why not wage a nuclear war to “liberate” people of Russia? No? Why? Really why? Oh, I see… Oil and NO nuclear weapon increases chances to be “liberated” in an expedite manner immensely.

      That is ALL. That was a war of agression for the purpose of securing valuable commodity supply Namely oil.

      Still few questions – WHY kill so many civilians?

    4. So “we” started the war (I did not but you did and so did the US governement) – and it was against Saddam Hussain. Why? Are you so naive you believe what you were told – that he was Satan and Hitler combined? And even in that case, what gives you the right to go to a foreign country change the ruler? What if others had decided Bush needed to be removed by force, would you call that “war” or “terrorism”? Would you not be one of the first ones in the streets of Washington DC fighting an occupation force?
      Clearly the situation now is even worse than it was then, wonder whose fault it is… could it not be, Pottery Barn style, the fault of those like you who went in?
      “War is hell but sometimes it is necessary” you say. You fail completely to explain why this one was. I would very much like to know…
      I think it was necessary to drive the career of generals and the egos of politicians, to sell weaponry, to comfort cowardly morons who feared browned muslims, and for you to make your living. Yes, you made your money and living on an illegal war. I don’t see how that qualifies you to analyze foreign policy, in the contrary, I could see clear conflict of interest. Add to that Stockholm syndrom since you would of course not want to have been wounded in vain for a futile illegal war of aggression…
      You are not a victim or a hero, you are an aggressor and a criminal. And one who can’t see the light. Brainwashed and self justifying.

  9. JD,

    You’re either very much an ideologue and or some one who is delusional who ever more engaged in denial and rationalization and making excuses like the relatives of an alcoholic. The war against Iraq was never about the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people were the last thing on the minds of those who authorized, planned, and implemented this unprovoked war of aggression. The Iraqi people became the last justification when everything else proved to be nothing but outright lie like this one” that war was against Saddam Hussein”!

    The US did not care about the Iraqis when it targeted water treatment facilities, sewer treatment plants, and electric plants. Thousands of Iraqi children died as a direct consequence of that. and of lack of medicine, and infant formulas. The US government pressured for providing aid to the people of Iraq.

    There has never been “Al Qaeda in Iraqs”! In Iraq.Al Qaeda is convenient scapegoat or boogeyman to frighten, and convince people like you. It is another justification in the long chain of justifications whenever one turns to be false. You might as well broaden your horizons by not relying on the official propaganda machineries and its enabling lackeys in the American media. For a starter read about the “Salvador Option” and how it realates to Iraq.

    Yes it is terrorism when an individual or some indivdiuals target place that cause the daeth of civilians,and so is the action of a government that send a polit to bomb a resturant in Baghdad with a 500 ton bomb in order to kill Sadam ,but ends up killing a score of “innocent Iraqis”. Every Iraqi killed in this war of aggression is innocent no matter how he was or she was killed. The person whose country was invaded and occupied has the moral higher ground to defend themselves against the invaders.

    The war against Iraq was never necessary, or justifiable so was the war in Vietnam, and both were based on lies. Maybe it is about someone who wanted glory and prove to his father, family and the rest that is not the failure that he was!

  10. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on JD. The men and women of the U.S. armed forces are the most propagandized and indoctrinated people in the entire country (the second most are the police). THEY HAVE TO BE. Add in a healthy dose of rationalization and self-deception and it’s easy to see how a mentality like JD’s can be produced. He is also probably pretty young too, I would bet.

    1. Wonderful… this reminds me of the following quote from very well known Russian play writer – when I’ve read it back during the days of my youth I never envisioned that it was NOT about Stalin’s regime, but it was abut ANY totalitarian regime. So:

      “We have been all propagandized and indoctrinated. But why you, asshole, ended up such a good student of that?” (E.Shvarz, “Kill the dragon, written in 1942-1944 by the way!)

      Now, that is pretty much the same idea as in that the 1950 document – “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him”

      This is perfectly applicable to both US military (based on Iraq war) and FOR SURE to US Police (based on my first hand negative experiences)

    2. Why not? who pulls the triggers? Please re-read this from the above posted Nuremberg principles:

      Principle IV
      The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

      JD is a criminal. He might also be an endoctrinated self justifying idiot, but he is a criminal.

  11. Lear…youre just ignorant. You know not what you speak. You have no first hand experience. Accept it….you dont know anything about whats really going on. Your information is third…fouth hand..if not outright lies and spin. You cant tell me anything….ive seen it…lived it. I dont understand how you people that have never been there attempt to marginalize those that were there by calling us…”indoctinated”…”ideologues.” Ever think maybe you just dont know what the F you are talking about?

  12. An ignorant is the one who keeps on ignoring the truth,evermore in denial and delision, and continues to imbibe the official propaganda.Yes, you might be there ,lived it or whatever ,but you are one with great deal of vested interest in continuing in deny the disastrous consquences of this war of aggression.The information and the links provided were from independent sources who were there and witnessed what happened.They were not controlled by the US military ,”embedded with US Soldiers”,which decide what they can report.My information comes from Iraqis who lived it ,saw their country and homes invaded and destroyed,indured the arrogance and disrespect from the American soliders,witnessed the killing of loved in their sleep in thier homes in the middle of the night at the hands of American soliders.Iraqis who saw thier sons,fathers,and brothers taken away by American soliders to never hear of them.

    But no matter what I say,or how clear the truth ,you are so programed to face it.

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