The Relevance of the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi People

The LA Times carries this story this morning:

The security company Blackwater USA was approved Friday to resume escorting American officials in Baghdad, just days after the fatal shooting of 11 Iraqis galvanized the Iraqi government over the company’s conduct and the immunity its employees enjoy from Iraqi law.

The decision by the U.S. Embassy came despite Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s insistence that the State Department sack the company and his government’s demand that Blackwater and other such security firms be stripped of the immunity granted them in 2004 by L. Paul Bremer III, the administrator of the former U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority.

Ah yes… if the Soviet Union’s embassy to a Warsaw Pact country decided to do X in 1977 would it really matter what that country’s government or people wanted one whit?

But no doubt some sort of a statement would be made… something that made it sound like the locals were in charge. Something like this:

“This morning, we resumed taking requests for movements. The idea was to have limited movements outside the Green Zone. Obviously this was a step taken in consultation with the Iraqi authorities,” said embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo.

Notice the word “consultation.” Because the Soviet, er, US embassy wants to pretend it isn’t calling the shots. So they follow up by having one of the useful puppets within the “host” country’s government called up to make a statement to add some verisimilitude. Unfortunately, the ham-handed commissars always need to add in one more dig – even when trying to add the illusion of self-determination, its important to make it clear who is calling the shots lest anyone forget:

A senior Iraqi lawmaker, Sami Askari, said officials would be informed of Blackwater’s whereabouts, but Nantongo denied that the embassy would be providing them precise details of their missions.

Now, whether you want to say things are going well in Iraq or not, and whether you believe the Surge is working or not, can we at least stop pretending the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people today have any more relevance or ability to make decisions than the government of Poland and the Polish people during the Brezhnev era?


Update… Crooks and Liars links to another Blackwater related story:

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh, N.C., is handling the investigation with help from Pentagon and State Department auditors, who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told The Associated Press. Blackwater is based in Moyock, N.C.

According to officials in Washington, the investigation grew from internal Pentagon and State Department inquiries into U.S. weapons that had gone missing in Iraq. It gained steam after Turkish authorities protested to the U.S. in July that they had seized American arms from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, rebels.

The Turks provided serial numbers of the weapons to U.S. investigators, said a Turkish official.

The Pentagon said in late July it was looking into the Turkish complaints and a U.S. official said FBI agents had traveled to Turkey in recent months to look into cases of missing U.S. weapons in Iraq.

Investigators are determining whether the alleged Blackwater weapons match those taken from the PKK.

It was not clear if Blackwater employees suspected of selling to the black market knew the weapons they allegedly sold to middlemen might wind up with the PKK. If they did, possible charges against them could be more serious than theft or illegal weapons sales, officials said.

I’ve got all sorts of warm-and-fuzzies for Blackwater right now…