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April 02, 2004
Friday Without A Theme

Soldiers for Hire

Those four 'contractors' killed and mutilated in Fallujah on Wednesday were mercenaries. They were Blackwater Security Consulting employees and "were hired by the U.S. government to protect bureaucrats, soldiers and intelligence officers".

We hire mercenaries to protect our soldiers?

The men, all employees of Blackwater Security Consulting, were in the dangerous Sunni Triangle area operating under more hazardous conditions -- unarmored cars with no apparent backup -- than the U.S. military or the CIA permit.

I guess we do.

The Fallujah killings this week resonated heavily among the dozens of companies providing security services in Iraq

Dozens? We've hired dozens of companies? No wonder Iraq is costing so much. How much of this war are we outsourcing?

Drug Trafficking

Can you call it that if they're prescription drugs, but not approved because they've been shipped from Mexico to Canada to the UsofA? The article doesn't say where the drugs were manufactured.

A Vancouver internet pharmacy company is openly selling Americans prescription medicines from Mexico, approved by neither Health Canada nor the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition, the drugs offered are generic copies of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. These erectile dysfunction drugs are protected by U.S. and Canadian patents, and so it is illegal to sell generic copies in the U.S. or Canada.

It says they are "shipping American drugs from Mexico" which doesn't tell us much.

It also says that "Bulgaria, Pakistan, India and Argentina" have increased drug shipments to Canada, but doesn't go as far as to say UsofA prescriptions forward to Canda are being filled with drugs manufactured in Bulgaria or something. We're also not being told exactly where drugs "approved" for sale in the UsofA are being manufactured, but I promise you a lot of it's done outside the UsofA.

I love an industry-sponsored press release. Seriously. It's a relief to read something that's so open and up-front about its bias.

Mercury Uprising

Apparently the Bush Administration's love for doing business with big business has moments when it's just a wee bit hard for some people to tolerate.

About 40 Senators from both parties are demanding that the Bush Administration's plan for dealing with mercury pollution be withdrawn. It seems that the word-for-word copying from industry lobbyist memos and the . . . wait for it . . . here it comes . . . Bush Administration's decision to ignore technical (scientific) studies and the advice of its own federal advisory panel in favor of giving utility companies a nice present in the form of lax pollution standards was just a bit more than the Senate was prepared to put up with.

I don't see much coverage of this, but I've really noticed over the last five or six months that when Congress puts its foot down and puts a stop to some Bush Administration proposal, it's almost always the Senate doing it. Has anyone else noticed it?

When I get all kinds of spare time, I may go look up who's voting which way on these issues in the Senate.

Read Ellis Henican

Because I have a weakness for him, yes. Part of that is because I like what he has to say.

For A Lark

And, finally, via Dead Parrots, take a look at LarkNews.

It's sort of a religion-themed "Onion" and the bits I've skimmed so far have been entertaining. Today's headlines are Students start ministry to men with ponytails and Savior Scout relieved that peers consider him 'not as uncool as last year'.

You could also check out Teen seeks missions assignment where women don't wear clothes or Chronic loser nurtures Job complex and other stories in the archives.

You have to love a news parody site that offers separate links to "visually impaired" and "reading impaired" versions as well as a "bald men only" link.

And don't miss the horoscope link.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:12 PM


Henican: I'd be more impressed if he hadn't bought into the fiction that the Americans killed in Falujah were "civilians." I don't think any of them had less than 12 years of military service ..... and they weren't there working with Oxfam.

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at April 2, 2004 02:11 PM

Yes, but all of the first reports talked about civilians.

I assume that people writing for the major magazines have to have their columns turned in 24 or more hours before publication to be reviewed, coded, and uploaded. I could be mistaken, but I generally cut a sort of "24-hour information lag" sort of slack to such columnists.

And, in fact, they were technically civilians, right? Or not?

I mean, is private military considered military? Or are they civilians?

If they're military, where do you draw the line? What about USofA based "militia" military groups? Are they military or civilian?

My head hurts.

Posted by: Anne at April 2, 2004 02:37 PM

Well, considering mercenaries have an eternal tradition in our evolutionary history, I can't say I'm shocked! shocked! to hear this. I mean, who else drives a black SUV in Baghdad? I must say that who ever outfitted these guys for transportation have been reading too many Clancy novels.

But still, this is the libertarian utopia of privatization. I happen to think this is the state's responsibility for precisely this reason. Oh, and they are actually accountable to our laws and military regulations - but that's just a side benefit.

Still, it's horrific. Even more horrific to find out it's a bunch of our mercenaries.

But again. Who drives black SUVs in any zone of Iraq? The blame lies with the cheesy security company who let these jokers get away with this fantasy war gaming flowing cloak and velvet fist thing.

Oh, and the Bush Administration for not having a plan beyond relying on that convicted fraud Chalabi.

I think that's at least part of the problem.

Posted by: Hal at April 2, 2004 06:47 PM