Ignore the leftist hype: The Blackwater pardons were the right thing to do
On December 22, President Trump issued 15 pardons. Among those pardoned were Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard. If the names are unfamiliar, you might recognize them collectively as the Blackwater private contractors. In September 2007, these former veterans ended up in a shootout in Nisour Square, Baghdad, that left 17 Iraqis dead and 20 wounded. Slatten got life in prison; the other men each got 30 years. The left would like to see them continue to rot in jail, but President Trump made the right decision to let them go.
I have to admit that, for no good reason, I did not pay too much attention at the time to the original shootout in Iraq or to the men’s railroading over the course of several years after the shootout. That’s why I was at a loss for words when a leftist friend called me to ask accusingly, “So, what do you think of your President Trump now for pardoning those mass murderers?”
That friend wasn’t the only one taking that stand. Several leftists I know on Facebook posted a New York Times article about the pardon. The following is just the title but, after reading it, you really don’t need to waste your time (and it will be wasted) reading the rest of the article:
Blackwater’s Bullets Scarred Iraqis. Trump’s Pardon Renewed the Pain: Iraqi witnesses against Blackwater guards were promised justice after a mass killing in Baghdad in 2007. ‘Today,’ one said, the bullets still in his leg, ‘they proved to me it was just theater.’
The way things roll on the left is that you can simultaneously be angry at Trump for wanting to draw down America’s military presence in Afghanistan and the rest of the world, while still accusing him of being an imperialist and lambasting him for pardoning men involved in a war Trump didn’t even support.
I knew there had to be a better, more honest version of what happened that day in Iraq than anything the Times could offer. I found it in Streiff’s post at RedState: “President Trump Makes the Tough and Correct Call on the Blackwater Pardons.” If you’re at all curious as to why Trump made the right call, I urge you to read the entire article.
However, if you want a shorter version, here it is: The Blackwater guys were hated by Iraqis, Democrats, and the military. The four Blackwater men were part of a convey that had to go through a dangerous region and were warned about a “white Kia,” a car as common as dirty in Iraq then. In the square, a white Kia was behaving peculiarly and refused to stop, so they fired until its occupants were dead.
A firefight resulted, the Army was part of it, and when the smoke cleared, there were 17 dead Iraqis and 20 wounded ones. I don’t mean to dismiss the tragedy of the Iraqi civilians who died or were wounded, but their deaths and injuries are not made right by scapegoating men who were legally in the middle of a war zone on behalf of America and almost certainly did nothing wrong.
Everyone wanted blood. The Dems wanted to undercut Bush, the Army wanted to undercut Blackwater, and the Iraqis wanted to undercut Americans. The four men were the perfect scapegoats.
Three weeks after the attack, the FBI went into that busy square, spent less than two weeks investigating, and then emerged to announce that the Blackwater guys committed manslaughter and “weapons violations.” We know now that the FBI is a Deep State hotbed of leftism and anti-Americanism. Streiff details just how bad – indeed, corrupt – the “investigation” was.
Indeed, the investigation was so bad that, by 2009, a federal judge dismissed all the charges. However, in 2011, with Biden making promises to the Iraqis to get the Blackwater men back in court, a federal appeals panel under Eric Holder’s “Justice” Department decided that they should, in fact, be tried. In 2014, seven years after the event, Slatten got life without parole and the three other men got 30 years. This is Streiff’s summary:
How did they get 30-years for manslaughter? They were convicted of using automatic weapons…in a war zone…issued to them by the US military…in the commission of that crime.
There followed several years more of legal machinations that didn’t help Slatten and only slightly helped the others. Thankfully, Trump finally pardoned four men who found themselves, not just in the middle of a firefight, but in the middle of a disgraceful political and bureaucratic power struggle.
And of course, with this pardon, we’re reminded again that Joe Biden is a man without a soul. Should he succeed in getting into the White House that means sucking the soul out of America too.
IMAGE: The image is from Vice President Joe Biden’s speech promising to persecute the Blackwater men. YouTube screengrab.