I don’t think we’ve commented on the decision by a federal judge to dismiss all charges against five Blackwater guards who were accused of killing Iraqi civilians during a fire fight in 2007. District Judge Richard Urbina dismissed the charges because prosecutors relied on statements given to the State Department by the guards that were made with the understanding they would not be used against them.
I haven’t studied the facts regarding the underlying charges, though I’m predisposed against criminal charges based on split second decisions made during a fire fight. As to Judge Urbina’s decision, it seems pretty elementary that prosecutors can’t base an indictment on statements made with the understanding that they won’t be used. If that’s what happened here, then the charges were correctly dismissed. As much as leftists must hate seeing individuals who protected American interests in Iraq walk, they may be hard-pressed to reconcile their displeasure with their civil libertarian posture. I’m confident some will manage this, though.
Urbina, by the way, is a liberal Clinton appointee. He was the judge who ordered the release of the Uighurs who were held at Guantanamo Bay.
The MSM has focused on the reaction of Iraqis to the dropping of charges against the Blackwater guards. Naturally, that reaction is negative. The Iraqis are not big on legal niceties, especially when they produce a result they disfavor. The question is whether, at this point, it matters.
The answer, I think, is no. We’re no longer fighting hard to win the “hearts and minds” of Iraqis, thank God.
To be sure there is an important parliamentary elections coming up in March, and it’s likely that the decision to dismiss charges against the Blackwater Five will be a talking point during the campaign. But with the U.S. on its way out of Iraq, this election will not be a referendum on us. Rather, it will be a referendum on the Iraqi government and, above all, its ability to provide security.
As far as Blackwater is concerned, the government need only denounce the decision and go through the motions of a futile attempt to reverse the outcome. It is in the process of doing this.
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