Outsourcing Iraq war a grave threat to democracy
We should say no to the wider use of mercenaries
By JEREMY SCAHILL
As President Bush took the podium to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday, five American families received news that has become all too common: Their loved ones had been killed in Iraq. But in this case, the slain were neither "civilians," as the news reports proclaimed, nor were they U.S. soldiers. They were highly trained mercenaries deployed to Iraq by a secretive private military company based in North Carolina — Blackwater USA.
The company made headlines in early 2004 when four troops were ambushed and burned in the Sunni hotbed of Fallujah — two charred, lifeless bodies were left to dangle for hours from a bridge. That incident marked a turning point in the war, sparked multiple U.S. sieges of Fallujah and helped fuel the Iraqi resistance that haunts the occupation to this day.