Murderous Xe Services* (Blackwater) Thugs Get Off ... Aren't They "Enemy Combatants"?

Perhaps they should be categorized as "enemy combatants."

The big problem trying international terrorists in civilian courts is that they might get off.


A federal judge dismissed charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in a controversial shooting in a busy Baghdad square two years ago in a ruling that sharply criticized the tactics of Justice Department prosecutors handling the case.

The judge, Ricardo M. Urbina of the District's federal court, found that prosecutors and agents had improperly used statements that the guards provided to the State Department in the hours and days after the shooting. The statements had been given with the understanding that they would not be used against the guards in court, the judge found, and federal prosecutors improperly used them to help guide their investigation. Urbina said other Justice Department lawyers had warned the prosecutors to tread carefully around the incriminating statements.

(Also, see Jeremy Scahill's pieceon the front.)

So, the protections built into our justice system appear to have let a group of rogue mercenaries who opened fire without provocation on Iraqis in a busy urban thorough-fare off the hook. Interesting reality, given that the entire occupation of Iraq was an illegal act.

I'm not familiar with the judge's ruling beyond what the newspapers say. I have no reason to assume the decision was not grounded in sound legal reasoning.

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