Military contractors write that a site manager sent four Americans on an ill-advised, fatal missionJoseph Neff, Staff Writer
When four Blackwater USA security guards were ambushed and massacred in Fallujah in 2004, graphic images showed the world exactly what happened: four men killed, their bodies burned and dragged through the streets. A chanting mob hung two mutilated corpses from a bridge.
Since then, Congress and the families of the murdered private security contractors have been demanding answers: Why did the lightly armed and undermanned team go through the heart of one of Iraq's most hostile cities? Why did the two teams sent out that day have four members, not the usual six?
Some answers can be found in memos from a second team for Blackwater operating around Fallujah on March 31, 2004.
Blackwater, based in North Carolina, sent two squads through Fallujah without maps, according to memos obtained by The News & Observer. Both of the six-man teams, named Bravo 2 and November 1, were sent out two men short, leaving them more vulnerable to ambush. The November 1 team went into Fallujah and was massacred.
The Bravo 2 team memos, in emotional, coarse and damning language, placed the blame squarely on Blackwater's Baghdad site manager, Tom Powell.
"Why did we all want to kill him?" team member Daniel Browne wrote the following day. "He had sent us on this [expletive] mission and over our protest. We weren't sighted in, we had no maps, we had not enough sleep, he was taking 2 of our guys cutting off [our] field of fire. As we went over these things we new the other team had the same complaints. They too had their people cut."
The deaths of those four men was the spark that led to the attack upon and the destruction of Fallujah, as an orgy of revulsion in the States (unwarranted, imho, since the dead were mercenaries, and had forsaken their claims to sympathy by signing on with Blackwater to begn with), with consequences which are still being felt, not least by the Marines who apparently murdered civilian women and children there in vengeance.
This story was picked up at HuffPost, but if there has been wider dissemination of the piece, I am not aware of it; it didn't make the AP wire.
The whole ICORP of Iraq is a total clusterfuck.