This gun for hire

The death of the four Americans in Fallujah was tragic, but I’m starting to get a bit peeved with the media for refering to them as “contractors”. They weren’t guys who build houses and they aren’t temps or consultants either. I don’t care how Blackwater spins it, their people are mercenaries:

The four men brutally slain Wednesday in Fallujah were among the most elite commandos working in Iraq to guard employees of U.S. corporations and were hired by the U.S. government to protect bureaucrats, soldiers and intelligence officers.


But Baker, a former CIA case officer, added that how the military is “responding is going to be very important. If there’s not a harsh, well-thought-out response, they will take that as a complete sign of weakness and they will become emboldened.”

Blackwater has about 400 employees in Iraq, said one government official briefed by the company. Its armed commandos earn an average of just under $1,000 a day.

Although most of their work is to act as bodyguards for corporate, humanitarian or government employees, they sometimes perform more precarious jobs that are inherently riskier — escorting VIPs, doing reconnaissance for visits by government officials to particular locations.

Employees of security companies such as Blackwater frequently come under fire from insurgents. When they do, they fire back.

“Nobody wants to be seen as a cowboy, but the truth is that if someone pops a weapon up, you respond,” Baker said. “. . . This is a very difficult environment. There is always a potential for a problem.”

Blackwater, security experts said, is among the most professional of the dozens of multinational security firms in Iraq, most of them there to protect U.S. government employees, private firms, Iraqi facilities and oil pipelines.

Maybe these four guys were there because they believed in Iraqi freedom or whatever is the Administration’s flavor of the week, this week, for being there, but the fact is that were highly paid guns for hire and they chose to be there, unlike the thousands of American soldiers being used as pawns in a neocon’s chess game.

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....