Mark Kleiman on the Blackwater massacre:
Yes, the Blackwater fighters were in a tough spot, surrounded by what they knew was a hostile population; if they’d been guarding someone in New York when a bomb went off, they wouldn’t have fired wildly into a crowd of American civilians. But since that hostile Iraqi population is crucial to our effort in Iraq — not to mention being the people we’re supposedly in Iraq to help — maybe Blackwater and the State Department ought to be a little bit more careful about increasing their hostility.
And, yes, they should be more careful. But why not go further. How about not putting people in these situations? Instead of having tens of thousands of armed Americans living in a country surrounded by hostile civilians who they can ill-afford to alienate, what if those Americans just left the country and went elsewhere? We’ve been in Iraq for many years now, and we’re well past the hearts and minds point where if we get our troops and mercenaries all on their best behavior we might win the Iraqis over.
US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Quinton Russ