Blackwater runs deep

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So, it’s looking more and more like Blackwater personnel basically opened fire on Iraqis in Nisoor Square in September. An investigation has been started, of course, which meant Congress couldn’t get any actual answers out of Blackwater CEO Erik Prince earlier this month. And now the Iraqi government (such as it is) is trying to get Blackwater pulled from the country ((As an aside, does anybody remember when the Iraqi people dyed their thumbs purple? Wasn’t that supposed to be about self-governing their country again?))

Unfortunately, breaking up is hard to do, especially when you rely on something to the degree which the U.S. relies on Blackwater’s private security forces. I don’t know how all the figures add up, but Danger Room’s got the goods on how much we’re paying for Blackwater’s services to protect diplomats worldwide:

Blackwater $339,573,391
DynCorp 47,145,172
Triple Canopy 15,550,133
[Total] $402,268,696

That’s research from Danger Room guest R.J. Hillhouse, whose recent novel, Outsourced, is focused on the private security industry. According to Hillhouse, there are 978 Blackwater contractors employed by the Department of State in Iraq, accounting for more than two-thirds of such personnel:

The contract amount as provided by Blackwater indicates that it is highly unlikely that one of the other two contractors could fill the void if Blackwater were expelled from Iraq. No other US firms are positioned to provide such specialized services on such a large scale and only Blackwater has experience providing air support in theater to the Department of State.

And our lack of foresight and adequate planning rears its head once again.

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