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The Blackwater Mystery

The Times and WaPo lead with a story about a particularly bloody day for the private security firm Blackwater. Here's what the U.S. embassy in Iraq has uncovered so far:  On September 16, a car bomb exploded about a mile … Read More

By / September 28, 2007

The Times and WaPo lead with a story about a particularly bloody day for the private security firm Blackwater. Here's what the U.S. embassy in Iraq has uncovered so far:  On September 16, a car bomb exploded about a mile northwest of the Green Zone, the target being one "principal" (unidentified government figure) who was under the protection of Blackwater. He then was evacuated by another Blackwater team that drove in from the Green Zone.

In the middle of the firefight, according to the report, the other tactical support team, TST 22, was ordered back out of the Green Zone to assist TST 23 in Nisoor Square, identified in the document as Gray 87.

TST 23 had managed to flee the scene before TST 22 got there, meaning that the latter, which had already reached the point of safety, came back to face the melee by itself.

Some U.S. officials have questioned why the Blackwater team decided to evacuate the principal and return to the Green Zone, rather than remaining inside the compound. "It doesn't make sense," said one U.S. official. "Why would they go back out there when they were already safe?"

A failure of communications? Concern over damaged property? Who knows. But this episode underscores the need to keep mercenaries out of a war zone, or, at the very minimum, to make sure that their activities are constantly monitored by Multi-National Forces-Iraq. 

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