I always get a kick out of this. Everyone seems to want to criticize Blackwater and to call them "was profiteers" or "murderers." This is too simple. The fact is that any organization placed in a situation they do not belong will trip and stumble all over the place. And it has been happening for 19 years. Consider this.....
1) We had the world's greatest intelligence agency for decades when all it had to do was focus on a red enemy behind an Iron Curtain. But when that wall came down in '89, it was left disorganized and confused about the world that emerged. It would be easy to blame the CIA for not predicting 9/11 (which plenty do), but the truth is that even the great CIA fell victim to the politicians sense that "our wars were over."
2) Enter the grand idea to dwindle the numbers of our military under President Bush (Dad). And with the war gamer's wet dream of the Gulf War (the "Drive-by" War), the overwhelming idea throughout Washington was that our future wars were all going to be determined by technology alone with the barest minimum of troops on the ground. The rediculous and stubborn idea that stripping our troop strength was perfectly fine as long as a smart bomb replaced a hundred troops.
3) But even as these draw downs in numbers continued, the missions grew. From Somalia, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bosnia, Kosovo, Indonesia, etc., the military found itself dropped into UN & NATO humanitarian and policing missions it was ill equipped, under funded, and ill trained for. It was like dropping a constructionist of homes onto a river bank and telling him to build a damn. With troops spread thin and learning in the fire, something had to be done....
4) The idea of privatization took a front row seat. Civilian organizations that offerred supplies and support began to be introduced as mission accomplishment factors. To make matters worse, the idea of the "non-lethal" weapon found itself to President Clinton's ear and the Defense Industry was tasked to build impractical weapons. With the Defense Industry working overtime to produce fancy toys (with China being the big bad boogeyman to prepare for in Washington), now they were developing guns that shot nets and bean bags.
5) In 2003, the average American citizen was caught off guard as they complained about the troop entering Iraq with NBC suits that needed duct tape to seal the tears, the lack of body armor to preserve life, weapons that were models used in Vietnam, and helicopters that carried troops over the jungles of Vietnam. Somehow, this problem developed the day President Bush (Son) was elected. But President Bush and his court idiot Rumsfeld were big fans of privatization and technology. "Shock and Awe" was supposed to be the Gulf War Part 2 while the barest of troops walked in and took prisoners. For 10 years (1993~2003) civilian organizations took the place of military personel that were asked to leave service to accomadate the politicians idea of what our military was supposed to look like in the post Cold War. It culminated and resulted into an American military running out of ammo and food just north of An Nazariya leaving an airwing Colonel in Kuwait to forceably take supplies from civilian companies, which would not cross the line to the war zone, as they frantically waved their contracts about and made pointless formal complaints to people who patted them on their backs and still wrote their checks.
6) But though this contractor's bare minimum idea was typical of the 1990s it was disgusting in 2003. Worse, for Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush changed the rules. Now, not only did the American troop have to rely upon untrained civilians to provide them their support, they also had to figure out if that bearded trigger happy idiot in blue jeans and Oakleys, who was guarding contractors in a target area, was a good guy or a bad guy. So many stupid acts were attributed to the military by the irresponsible media of all nations. So many military resources were taken out of mission to rush to the needs of Blackwater guards who fell under attack or needed someone to make sense of some confusing firefight that just took place.
The irony here (if lost over the years) is the money. As far back as 1990, the idea to kill troop numbers and provide less funding to them in order to free money up to be used on the American society was perverted. The freed up money grew significantly and grossly and merely wound up going to private companies and contractors to fill the gaps that the American troop used to fill. Today, Congress has agreed that greater numbers are needed to meet the demands of our government and this twisted out immoral world. The equipment began to flow in 2003. The funding began to refocus on the troop as the militaries developed combat towns. Protection for the individual troop became a focus with body armor and UpArmor for HMMWVs and the MRAPP (though the F/A-22 continued to receive gross amounts of money to continue its parked mission in hangers). Now our numbers are going back up (thankfully) but with the extra garbage of expenditures towards privatization. Where exactly did our government save money by hurting the troop for so long?
Blackwater is a result. A symptom of bad governance, bad common sense intelligence, and ignorant understandings by Republican to Democrat to Republican White House stewardship. But the average critic will continue to blame Blackwater as if they took it upon themselves to board airplanes and enter a warzone. They will continue to criticize KBR as if they floated over and set up camp without permission. All this privatization came with a price. A price these companies don't have to pay neither in treasure or blood. And none of them answer to anybody but other civilians who are also receiving inflated paychecks to simple exist where military personel used to for far less. At least the military man had (has) the UCMJ. What does the civilian contractor have?
Criticize our stupid governance. Not the symptoms of it. Is this guy guilty of murder? Who cares. He's an individual. There's a bigger beast our society keeps ignoring.