Some years ago,I came in contact with a few of the employees of Blackwater, the controversial private security company about a hundred miles from here in NC. They did some training in association with my old unit and we got some LE equipment from them as well. They struck me as decent and hardworking soldiers. Unlike most security consultants this company requires its people be former US military (preferably special forces types), I have also heard (but never had it verified) that several employees return to Military service after a stint at Blackwater in order to convey lessons learned.
Blackwater has become quite the boogieman for the left as they are a synthesis of much of what they hate most, a meritocracy, gun users, people who turn a profit and macho. The infamous screw 'em post by Kos was in reference to a group of Blackwater employees who died fighting a delaying action against terrorists to give a civillian food convoy a chance to escape. The civillians did in fact escape, but the boys from Blackwater, hopelessly outnumbered and surrounded were overwhelmed brutally killed, burned and had their bodies hung from a bridge. By any rational measure those men died heroes, but to the left they are simply double plus ungood.
I bring up this old story because I blundered into this post by RJ Hillhouse via Armchair Generalist.
It's a nice piece concerning the recent deaths of yet more Blackwater employees. She references a piece that was the on front page our local paper the other day. The article contained this telling passage.
Blackwater has said in the past that while plenty of its own men have been killed, it has never lost anyone it was hired to guard.
Last week did not change that. The deaths brought Blackwater's toll to 30 dead in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one in the convoy was killed.
The increased use of contract labor to do military tasks is a cause for concern and we should be having more of a debate on it than we are. It may be that in nation-building excersizes they can have a very important place complementing our military doing police type things we don't want our military to make a habit of. This is a discussion we need to be having, but maligning good people for political expediency is just foul...especially when they died protecting others and so can't defend themselves.