September 22, 2007

For The Soldier Of Fortune Calendar. Plus: Helo A Situation




“Support Our … Mercenaries?”

Given that the movement of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Iraq is completely dependent on Blackwater, it is no surprise the company is operating again.  Give it another week, and most questions about the 25,000 to 100,000 “security contractors” (nobody seems to have a reliable count) will probably disappear also.  And then, so much for the Iraqi Government we keep urging to stand up to stand down on its contractor ban.

While the issue is still on the radar screen, however, the newswire has some pics-for-thought.

Not only did Photographer Patrick Baz lend these portrait shots of disguised private security forces on a Baghdad rooftop, he managed to actually slip the word “mercenary” into one of the two captions.  (Technically, I believe, American nationals in Iraq cannot be labeled “mercenaries” because America is involved in a war there — but all those Blackwater Bosnians, Filipinos, and Chileans can.) 

My question is, did these guys just automatically know to pose like they were shooting a movie poster?

By the way, that is a U.S. military helicopter in the first shot — as distinguished from the black-and-white striped Blackwater fleet.  What I also can’t understand, — given the average Iraqi’s distain for this outfit — is why Blackwater has the aerial presence in the first place.  In reference to the offensiveness, the newswires currently also offer a number of file shots of Blackwater helicopter buzzing Baghdad mosques.

UPDATE: 9/22/07.

I guess Iraq isn’t backing off on Blackwater so fast after all.

(image 1 and 2:  Patrick Baz/AFP.  September 18, 2007.  Baghdad.  Via YahooNews.  image 3: Hadi Mizban/A.P.  November 24 2004. Baghdad. Via YahooNews.)

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Michael Shaw
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