Fallujah on the high seas?

In 2004, armed security contractors working in Iraq were ambushed. Their bodies were brutally desecrated and hung from a bridge. This incident became known as the Fallujah incident.

All the operators I know swore to themselves, "never again." Never again will any operator allow such a horrific incident like what occurred on March 31st 2004 take place. Blackwater operatives along with the majority of defense contractors and many military special operators bonded together making an unofficial pact.

Politicians, soon after the infamous "bridge hanging," quickly criticized Blackwater as Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman identified the company as "unprepared and disorderly." The relentless criticism against Blackwater continued in 2007 as a security detail protecting a State Department official came under attack. Blackwater operatives killed 11 Iraqis and wounded 12 others. The dignitary being protected by Blackwater operatives was unharmed.

Because of these initial incidents, many American citizens, military leaders, politicians, and media representatives showed extreme bias and prejudice toward Blackwater and the majority of defense contractors. The pressure and international outrage against Blackwater eventually forced a complete internal overhaul with changes to its ownership and management, and multiple company name changes.

Of the critics, only a small handful were ever caught in the middle of a firefight. The majority of the critics have never had their lives placed in wartime danger. Most of them fail in truly grasping what it is like to do anything and everything ensuring you and your teammates survive, fully accomplishing the ultimate mission.

Last week, news broke about another armed security company. One media outlet mistakenly believes the incident resembles another "Blackwater moment." The incident didn't happen in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other land based location. This incident happened on the high seas.

Of note, the incident is now more than a month old. Why Bloomberg decided to bring the story to the public's attention last week remains questionable. Bloomberg reported that Trident Group, a US based high risk anti-piracy company, executed its mission to prevent a pirate attack on the seafaring vessel "Avocet."  Bloomberg intimated on several occasions that Trident Group were the bad guys in this incident. Unfortunately, like the initial Blackwater incident in 2004, many are falling for the false premise.

What many fail to understand about personal and infrastructure protection is that prior to the  creation of the "use of force continuum," only three key components were needed to incorporate deadly force --Intent, Opportunity, and Capability.  If an assailant showed a perceived hostile action against a suspect, intent has been achieved. If they are within a specific distance that threatens a subject, the opportunity has been achieved. If they have a weapon that can be used against the subject, capability has been achieved.

If all three components can be articulated, the subject can justify the incorporation of deadly force. Needless to say, the aforementioned examples of the three former components for utilizing deadly force are elementary in nature and have been provided solely as a simple example explaining to readers  the elements of justification for use of deadly force by a contractor.

Those days of articulating intent, capability, and opportunity are over. Today, thanks to incredibly smart attorneys, security officials have their hands tied behind the backs forced to adhere to a "one shoe fits all" means for deadly force.  It is apparent that some persons support this "use of force" quagmire. How quick they forgot about "defending the castle."

A king should not wait for an advancing army to enter the castle, rape and pillage, then take it over. A king has lookouts. When the lookouts sound the alarm of an advancing army, the king gives the orders for his security elements to take up their fighting positions. If the show of force fails, warnings are delivered. If the attacking army continues, the battle begins.

Trident operatives were staged on a floating castle. An armed attacking enemy approached. The defenders signaled for the oncoming assailants to retreat. The assailants refused. Pirates were killed. Intent, capability, and opportunity could easily be articulated justifying deadly force.

If Americans would like to finally see commodity prices reduced, we must secure our seafaring vessels. When securing our vessels, we must learn to understand that pirates are armed and willing to kill. Our security operatives must at times execute operations that will eliminate these threats. 

Like defense contractors assigned on security details, we may not like the outcomes knowing, at times, people are killed during anti-piracy missions. We endure a prolonged asymmetric war and in this war, people die. Remember who General Patton said should die for their country--not us.

Kerry Patton, a combat service disabled veteran, is a senior analyst for WIKISTRAT  and author of Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies and the children's book American Patriotism. You can follow him on Facebook or at www.kerry-patton.com.