Monday, April 21, 2008

Just in case these ideas appeal to you....

  • Upholding the rule of law
  • Rejecting the idea of hired armies
  • Telling the Bush Crime Organization "Enough!"
  • Defunding torture

There is a movement afoot to call on Congress to defund Blackwater (whose contract was renewed by the State Department in spite of all the problems therewith).

Darcy Burner comments:
It is not just that too many of Blackwater's employees in Iraq conduct themselves in ways that are counterproductive and deeply immoral. It is not just that there is no accountability for the company or its employees either in Iraq or here. And it is not just that the Iraqis have clearly and unambiguously called for Blackwater to leave.

Blackwater is a threat to the core underpinnings of our democracy. Who is this private army loyal to? Because they aren't ours. They don't wear our flags on their clothing -- they wear the symbol of Blackwater.

In October 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that the work of these contractors in Iraq was `at cross-purposes to our larger mission in Iraq', and that `right now those missions are in conflict ...'.

If ever there was a core government function that should not be contracted out, it is the right to use deadly force in our names.
Private contractors are, from what we currently know, still involved in the secret world in which rendition and torture took place. Without full investigations, that are beyond unlikely at this point, we cannot really know. But there is this:
There's a bill in the House (that was identified in the Responsible Plan) which would phase out the use of military security contractors. H.R. 4102, the Stop Outsourcing Security Act, currently has 27 sponsors. The Senate equivalent, S. 2398, currently has 2 sponsors. I've listed them below. If your representative or senators aren't on these lists, it's probably time you asked them to be.

Current House sponsors:
Rep Schakowsky, Jan (Sponsor)
Rep Allen, Thomas H. [ME-1]
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2]
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3]
Rep Brady, Robert A. [PA-1]
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9]
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5]
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51]
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4]
Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20]
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7]
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22]
Rep Hirono, Mazie K. [HI-2]
Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12]
Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10]
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16]
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7]
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3]
Rep Miller, George [CA-7]
Rep Oberstar, James L. [MN-8]
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4]
Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10]
Rep Rahall, Nick J., II [WV-3]
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15]
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13]
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6]
Rep Wu, David [OR-1]

Current Senate sponsors:
Bernie Sanders (Sponsor)
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Digby and Amnesty International remind us:
Civilians working for private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan are alleged to have committed serious incidents of abuse including assault, torture and sexual abuse, some of which occurred at Abu Ghraib prison. While reports of alleged incidents of abuse by civilians have been forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Eastern Virginia, there have been no convictions and only one indictment, though at least 20 cases were forwarded by the Department of Defense and the CIA to the Department of Justice since the beginning of the conflict in Afghanistan.
Blackwater and subsidiaries handled many of the rendition planes.
Can a democracy afford hired armies exempt from domestic and international laws?
--the BB

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