Saturday, October 6, 2007
Better than never
Today we get the word that Condoleeza Rice, the secretary of state, has approved new procedures ensuring that U.S. officials will accompany Blackwater USA security convoys operating in and around Baghdad. The procedures also include installation of video cameras on Blackwater's armored vehicles and keeping recordings of radio transmissions between the security company and U.S. agencies. Duh. Is it me, or is this an obvious thing that should have been done all along? Blackwater has been involved in 56 shootings this year alone; I'm glad we're doing finally something, but what took so long? The Times said the new rules were in reaction to the Sept. 16 shooting incident, when at least 17 Iraqi civilians were killed in an allegedly unprovoked shooting rampage by Blackwater agents, but that must be the reporters' personal opinion. It's obvious to me that the new rules were proposed in reaction to the outraged reaction to the incident and to the events that preceeded it. The U.S. government under George W. Bush doesn't do what the people want unless they are made to look ridiculous for not doing it. Of course, the new rules do not apply to the two other military contractors operating in Iraq. I guess they'll have to have dozens of their own outrageous incidents before the president does anything.