U.S. Embassy officials did not respond to several requests to describe what action, if any, was taken in response to the six incidents involving Blackwater. Mirembe Nantongo, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, said the embassy always looks into anything "outside of normal operation procedures."
Sunday, September 23, 2007; Page A18
BAGHDAD, Sept. 22 -- Senior Iraqi officials repeatedly complained to U.S. officials about Blackwater USA's alleged involvement in the deaths of numerous Iraqis, but the Americans took little action to regulate the private security firm until 11 Iraqis were shot dead last Sunday, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.
Before that episode, U.S. officials were made aware in high-level meetings and formal memorandums of Blackwater's alleged transgressions. They included six violent incidents this year allegedly involving the North Carolina firm that left a total of 10 Iraqis dead, the officials said.
Mirembe Nantongo needs to go back to statement issuing 101. "Always looking into anything outside of normal operating procedures" and then dismissing numerous complaints over a period of years, is not what anyone other than Condi Rice would call good PR.
Sounds spookily like Blade Runner is normal Embassy operating procedure.
The article also refers to 'tens of thousands' of 'private' security personnel. The actual fact is that mercenaries outnumber American military--180,000 to 170,000. That's hardly tens of thousands, but damned close to hundreds of thousands.
The United States Marines used to guard embassies and embassy personnel, but I guess those days are behind us--as well as the days of fighting wars with an actual army that wears your uniform and is subject to the military chain-of-command (or any command).
Helluva job, Rummy.