Blackwater Guards Get Christmas Pardon From Trump
Blackwater Guards Get Christmas Pardon From Trump
Four employees of the security firm Blackwater have been pardoned just in time for Christmas by President Donald J. Trump. The four guards were convicted of a massacre of civilians in Iraq while they were providing security for State Department employees. Another win for President Trump in pardoning these four men, but there is much more to the story.
The four security guards are Paul Slough (Army), Nicholas Slatten (Army), Dustin Heard (Marines), and Evan Shawn Liberty (Marines) and are all prior service and were employed by Blackwater. Blackwater was hired by the State Department to provide security in Iraq. While the State Department does have 2500 members in its own Diplomatic Security Service, it is more cost effective to hire out for additional security. That is how these four men ended up in Iraq at that time.
We need to remember what Iraq was like in 2007. According to the New York Times, 2007 was the deadliest year of the war and George W. Bush had ordered a troop surge.
Just before noon on September 16, 2007, the four Blackwater Guards (call sign Raven 23) escorted a United States Agency for International Development employee to a meeting North of Nisour Square. Here is how the Center for Army Profession and Leadership described the next action in a case study:
On 16 September 2007, Blackwater employees escorted a convoy of US State Department vehicles to a meeting in western Baghdad. As the Blackwater convoy approached Nisour Square, a Kia sedan drove directly towards the convoy and disregarded a police officer’s command to stop. According to Blackwater officials, the Blackwater team then fired warning shots followed by lethal force. In the ensuing fight, Iraqi policemen then opened fire on the Blackwater team. As a result, Blackwater operators then killed 17 Iraqi citizens.
The following day, the US State Department revoked Blackwater’s license to operate in Iraq. Subsequent reports by the FBI and US Military argued that Blackwater’s operators opened fire without provocation and used excessive force. A New York Times report identified a single individual for the majority of deaths in the engagement. The Blackwater operator had previously served in the US Army and as a member of the 3rd Infantry Division and Texas National Guard and was an Iraq War Veteran.
According to most reports, 17 Iraqi citizens were killed and 20 wounded, including children. The four guards were charged with manslaughter and firearm offenses. A Federal Judge dismissed the charges because the case was improperly built. From the New York Times:
In a “reckless violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights,” the judge wrote, investigators, prosecutors and government witnesses had inappropriately relied on statements that the guards had been compelled to make in debriefings by the State Department shortly after the shootings. The State Department had hired the guards to protect its officials.
Enter then Vice President Joe Biden, now Pretender to the Office of President of the United States. Yes, the man who former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said was wrong on nearly every foreign policy. In 2010, Joe Biden traveled to Iraq to vow that the Justice Department would prosecute a new case against Raven 23.
The men were convicted, as Biden vowed:
Slough, Liberty and Heard were convicted on multiple charges of voluntary and attempted manslaughter in 2014, while Slatten, who was the first to start shooting, was convicted of first-degree murder. Slattern was sentenced to life and the others to 30 years in prison each.
Great job, Biden. Biden doesn’t care about truth or justice. This is just like when he threatened the Ukraine about firing the prosecutor looking into Hunter’s activities. Joe Biden is an immoral, grubbing thug and will never be my President.
You can believe the FBI/Iraqi version or you can read about the Biden Four here. From my reading, this was a total clusterfeck and the Iraqi Colonel who led the Iraqi investigation has ties to the insurgency.
Democrat Presidents, in particular, love to send our military and contractors to foreign lands and expect them to fight a bloodless war where nothing gets broken. They ask the our forces to do the impossible and then punish them when they cannot do it.
Military contractors are not mercenaries. They are not individuals who offer themselves as warriors to the highest bidder. Military contractors are highly trained, usually prior service, who contract through a company to work for our government, foreign governments or private corporations. They are serious professionals. The Colonel down the street worked as a military contractor after 20+ years in Army SpecOps. Most of his work was contracted through the State Department. Instead of protecting our citizens, Joe Biden threw them to the wolves.
Guilt or innocence in the fog of war is difficult to adjudicate. God Bless President Donald Trump for pardoning the Biden Four.