I don’t write much about Iraq and all that these days, but this report from James Risen brings back the horror of the whole thing. And I don’t just mean the fact that we were lied into war; that most of our media and policy elite rushed to join the bandwagon; that the venture led to awesome waste of lives and money.
No, Iraq was also a moral cesspit. Not only were we taken to war on false pretenses, it was clear that this was done in part for domestic political gain. The occupation was treated not as a solemn task on which the nation’s honor depended, but as an opportunity to reward cronies. And don’t forget the torture.
So in a way it’s not too surprising to learn that we didn’t just, incredibly, rely heavily on politically connected mercenaries, but that said mercenaries threatened violence against our own officials:
Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.
And guess what:
American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show.
But it’s still shocking, and a reminder of just how deep the betrayal went.