Blackwater – Assholes With Guns

Shooting cars, hit and runs, and general assholeishness:

These guys give a bad name to operators everywhere.  I know it’s got to suck to be in iraq, or any other shitty country over there… but seriously if you can’t stand treating the general public with respect and saving your anger for actual enemies then quit your job right now.

Maybe past incidents such as that Fallujah bridge burning and hanging of 4 Blackwater employees in 2004 wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t treat their people like garbage all the time?   I’m saying “maybe”…

The way I look at it is you reap what you sow.

Source – A good article over at Harpers if you have an account there (via Kotaku)

Thoughts?

Hat tip: Sean D.

70 COMMENTS

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agentorange197 April 10, 2012 at 12:22 am

I don’t condone everything they do but they are following orders like everyone else. If I was told to protect “the package” at all cost I am sure as hell not going to stop for what could be a car loaded with explosives. A jackass who is dumb enough to walk into a moving humvee could very well be loaded down with explosives as well.

The Moral of the story is don’t fucking Jay Walk.

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Frank April 10, 2012 at 01:00 am

I agree with your commentary to an extent, but “following orders” is the same mentality that allowed “honorable” military officers and enlisted to massacre women, children, elderly, and noncombatants in WW2. Google Nazi war criminals sometime.

If “paid” private military troops were operating in America, would you say the same thing?

Real moral of the story: Say, “Oh my God…” At least twice, and keep driving. And hoping – if you’re not an asshole yourself – that your asshole friend won’t upload the video you’re recording to Youtube.

:)

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agentorange197 April 10, 2012 at 01:37 am

For sake of argument the Secret Service is being paid also, but if someone were to step in front of the president’s limo in Iraq (or Illinois) they would not stop. That example may not be on the same page of “Just following Orders” but it is from the same book.

Like I said, I don’t condone all of their actions but I understand and can justify what I saw in those videos (aside from the frat boy smack talking).

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Doug April 10, 2012 at 02:43 am

Hillary Clinton’s limo driver almost (or did) ran someone over and there was a lot of backlash from it at the time. She wasn’t the president though so who knows if there would be any backlash if POTUS’s vehicle would do the same thing.

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xpo172 April 12, 2012 at 09:44 am

@agentOrange – I think you’re referring the accidental death of Senior Cpl. Victor Lozada-Tirado of the Dallas Police Dpt. His motor hit a curb while working Hillary’s campaign motorcade in 2008.

Not exactly the same as mowing someone down in traffic.

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liquidflorian April 10, 2012 at 03:07 am

Their is a guy who blogs at the Daily Caller under the name Jim Treacher. He was hit by a state dept. SUV while legally crossing the street. The state dept guy that hit him followed him to the hospital to site him for jay walking.
http://dailycaller.com/2010/02/04/last-night-i-got-hit-by-a-car-and-broke-my-knee/

Assholes are everywhere…

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jay April 16, 2012 at 08:29 pm

+ a million! We also don’t know the circumstances before or after. This video was E D I T E D. I have done and been part of enough sh1t, that if edited. Would make me appear to be a monster (ok, more of a monster) than I am.

Not all contractors, are tool bags. Just like not everyone at KBR is useless (wait never mind, disregard).

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dave w April 10, 2012 at 12:46 am

Yeah, these videos are just perfect recruiting tools for the guys in the man dresses. Blackwater sucks.

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AKMSF April 10, 2012 at 01:06 am

Looks like they got their “training” on a copy of Grand Theft Auto.

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Church April 10, 2012 at 03:10 pm

This is exactly what I was thinking!

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Timmeehh April 10, 2012 at 01:30 am

If one of these vehicles gets bogged down in traffic, it only takes a matter of seconds for someone with an RPG to take a shot at them. The Iraqis that didn’t quickly learn to get out of the way of American military or operator vehicles were simply exercising Darwin’s law. The slowest animals in the herd are the ones first eaten.

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ENDO-Mike April 10, 2012 at 01:33 am

Fair enough, so does that mean all military units on patrol are shooting at cars, ramming them, picking on people etc…? I’m asking because I really don’t know. Maybe Blackwater is just getting focused on because they are an easy target?

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NKato April 10, 2012 at 01:36 am

There is a reason why state service vehicles in the United States have sirens and lights. If our military is going to operate on a regular basis in occupations, they need to start fitting their humvees with blinkers so they can at least provide some kind limited advance warning for those in the immediate vicinity. That, I think, is probably the best step the next time we end up invading a country like Iraq on false pretenses.

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thebronze April 10, 2012 at 01:46 am

Most of the vehicles that are being filmed from are Humvees. Blackwater didn’t/doesn’t use Humvees, only the US Mil does. Attributing all of these videos to BW is disingenuous at best.

Obviously, many of you don’t know that when driving around Iraq (or in any other urban combat zone) you drive as fast as possible and you don’t stop for anything, lest you become a target.

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Panda One-One April 10, 2012 at 01:53 am

Now children we can’t compare 1940’s nonsense to 2000’s nonsense. It doesn’t even make sense. Have some extra sense. Regardless “we” the US MILITARY and PMC’s have occupied these countries for over 10 years it’s not like armored vehicles just showed up on the street yesterday. The nationals of these countries cannot claim ignorance that they didn’t know to stop for a 4 ton armored vehicle speeding through an intersection. If it was one week into occupation and vehicle disabling shots were fired then there may be cause for people to voice concerns. If you have never talked on length to individuals that have worked as PMC’s, I highly recommend you seek someone out and discuss any issues you may have.

Titty Sprinkles – Discuss

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Vhyrus April 10, 2012 at 02:26 am

I am so ashamed to be American right now.

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DeskJockey April 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm

You see 2 minutes of out of context vids about 20 year olds fearful for their lives in a combat zone filled with ambushes and become ashamed to be American? Let me tell you, most Iraqi lives are better now because of Americans.

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Vhyrus April 10, 2012 at 01:07 pm

Please explain to me how swerving INTO a woman with a 5 ton vehicle and probably killing her could ever, in any way, on any planet, be taken out of context.

Lets turn this around. What if this was happening in our country? If any one of these situations had occurred on our home soil I can’t even begin to describe the blind frothing rage that would develop. It would make the Trayvon Martin case look like an episode of Care Bears.

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DeskJockey April 10, 2012 at 01:13 pm

I didn’t see anyone swerve towards her. I did see her step off the curb into a moving suburban–while a warning siren was running in the convoy.

Turn this around? So you want me to suppose our country become oppressed by a murderous dictator who abducted and killed many of my relatives and friends? Then another country comes in and removes him? Sorry, my imagination isn’t that good. I’m more based in reality, where people look for cars before they cross the street.

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DeskJockey April 10, 2012 at 01:51 pm

I meant hummer, not suburban.

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Andrew April 10, 2012 at 07:21 pm

Um, that driver had plenty of room to go around her. He’s angled at her at the beginning of the video with about two feet between him and the oncoming traffic. Once the rest of the convoy passes, oh snap!- there’s only one truck parked on the curb two carlengths from the intersection! That combined with the swerve away after contact? Yeah, not her fault.

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abdullah September 19, 2012 at 11:45 am

“most Iraqi lives are better now because of Americans.”
As an Iraqi who was actually there , you could not be any more wrong

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Bear April 10, 2012 at 05:14 pm

I’m not ashamed to be an American, I’m embarassed by Blackwater…there’s a difference. Nothing shameful about being American. There’s 350 million of us, roundabout. Can’t base your opinions off of a few examples.

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boris April 25, 2012 at 03:37 pm

im British and im ashamed of america after watching this too. it is sickening that anyone can operate with such a huge disregard to life. its just disgusting. PMCs need to be externally regulated to help prevent this in the future and hopefully also improve the operators safety. i just find it incomprehensible that any one can be so disgustingly unprofessional. having read the other comments where people say that it is dangerous to stay stationary in a hostile environment i strongly agree. however a properly professional security detail would either plan a route to avoid the congestion or if they still thought it impossible they should turn the contract down because they will not be able to provide the proper level of proactive protection to their clients. on another note driving around in humvees showing off weapons and firing into vehicles is one way of advertising a very good potential target to any insurgents in the area. they are asking to get whacked. the best strategy is to remain the grey man, blend into the background and not draw the attention of possible insurgents. they would be better off in an unmarked, armored toyota 4X4. and the fact that they are firing into vehicles and filming shows that they are not using situational awareness. they are focusing on the sight picture through their weapons rather than what is happening around them. there could have been an insurgent on the roof of any of those buildings with an RPG and they wouldnt have seen him until too late. some people would be better off if they did get whacked with a RPG.

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Andy April 10, 2012 at 06:10 am

If these assholes were in my country, I’d be planting roadside bombs too. No wonder Iraq was such a colossal failure.

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Gr April 10, 2012 at 06:44 am

Sorry, I have a tough time giving a shit about civilians in the middle east. By sporadically firing at the highest threat profile they could see, Blackwater retained a very high success rate. There’s a method to their madness, and the message is clear- when they are on the road, if you don’t want to die you GTFO.

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Jeff April 10, 2012 at 06:15 pm

So the end justifies the means?

In that case, why don’t we just nuke the entire country and kill every man, woman, and child? That would have a very high success rate too.

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Jon April 10, 2012 at 07:17 am

Groups like this do stupid crap, and people don’t see it as “Blackwater doing stupid crap” they see it as Americans doing stupid crap. Not a fan of the wanna be military.

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Panda One-One April 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Jon if you look at what ManBeerOwl said “They are not there to win hearts and minds. They get paid to be above rules regular grunts have to follow.” Wanna be military? PMC is not wanna be military, believe it or not they do the jobs the GOVERNMENT (US, BRITISH, GERMAN, whoever….) contracts out, that’s where the “contractor” term you hear so often comes from. They are not above “laws” or “rules” they just simply don’t fall under the “laws” and “rules” that military organizations fall under. So in a sense they are simply told “protect ‘this’, get it ‘there’ and let nothing stop you.”

So what I’m trying to get you to realize Jon is that PMC’s don’t want to be military, hell a majority of the guys are prior service and got sick of the lousy pay and a whole host of other reasons, but that’s for another discussion.

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ManBeerOwl April 10, 2012 at 07:18 am

If the Blackwater folk were comprised of former grunts who had the pleasure of ridiculous rules of engagement while in the hotter shitholes of Iraq then I understand completely. Having had my own slice of ridiculousness, these guys are doing what they are getting paid to do and what I at times would have loved to do.
They are not there to win hearts and minds. They get paid to be above rules regular grunts have to follow.
And I’m never shamed to be American. I’m only ashamed that “occupy” assholes are considered to be my countrymen.

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SqDb April 10, 2012 at 05:25 pm

“They get paid to be above rules regular grunts have to follow.” Before I comment, can you clarify exactly what you mean by this statement? There’s potential ambiguity, and I don’t want to make an assumption before I comment.

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Viken81 April 10, 2012 at 07:35 am

I am disgusted by that civilian getting hit by that hummer. However if you have spent time overseas you know that people drive CRAZY AS HELL. I lived in Ukraine for a couple of years and saw at least 5 or 6 people get hit. It happens on a daily basis.

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crazed April 10, 2012 at 09:05 am

This is just sad and you wonder what makes us look bad in their eyes. They see military type vehicles and say the military did this and a lot of times it is these blackwater (fitting name) a-holes that give us black eyes. They really do not have to answer to the same rules we do and that is one of the larger issues

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spencer wade April 10, 2012 at 09:19 am

I think that everything kinda flies out the window when its kill or be killed. It looked to me that they were just keepin the area clear. when the led car turns to hit the car comming into the intersection I would assume that the second car was important enough to risk clearing a path.

as to what panda one one said about speaking out if this was only weeks into, i would think that weeks into something would be more of a reason to ” put the foot down” to let the cilivain pop. know its not fuck around time.

vhyrus – eat shit.

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Reno April 10, 2012 at 10:29 am

I worked for Blackwater for a few years. Your correct there were many assholes. It didn’t start that way. As BW contracts grew and grew they hired less qualified men to fill the slots so they could continue billing hours. These less qualified men began the downward spiral that ended BW. I can honestly say the men on my teams never did any illegal or immoral act against anyone. One Oh Shit moment ruins one thousand atta boys. I apologize for the cowboys out there but not all of us were one of them.

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Josh April 10, 2012 at 11:36 am

wow…lots of folks with alot of rotations to and from the box circa 2006 when these videos were being filmed making comments, i see… oh…wait…no…

These videos are 6 years old, and our values and views have evolved some since then. I dont recall blackwater using humvees with 240 bravo’s or gulfs or SAWS on them then, but i suppose it’s possible… I am worried that the first video specifically is US Military…

If you havent been there, you really need to check your judgements and comments about what is or isnt appropriate to do when driving through VBIEDs and RPG/B-10/SPG-7 ambushes and the like… a common attack was to have the UpArmors wait in traffic/for pedestrians and drop RKG-3 Grenades on them, which is exactly what TTPs like “KEEP DRIVING” was designed for… Do your homework, but let the judging come from people that more than an XBOX understanding of the ins and outs of Urban Combat and Patrolling.

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DeskJockey April 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Sorry guys. I disagree with most of the comments I’m seeing here. You dont know what you’re talking about. 2006 in Iraq wasn’t like driving down the interstate here. EVERYTHING is a potential threat to the soldiers.

I was in the Marines in Iraq in 2003 and while we weren’t shooting up cars randomly, we damn sure weren’t letting people close. Anything ignoring our hand signals could have been a rolling bomb. Its not like these convoys are hard to see. The civilians knew to get out of the way. If we’d hit anyone, we wouldn’t have stopped either.

I had a guy on crutches walk right out in front of my hummer one day in baghdad. I slammed on the brakes, and didn’t hit him, but if I had I wouldn’t have stopped. Would I have felt awful? Of course. Would I have risked an ambush of the guys in my fireteam? Not even close.

And I’m not one of the crazy guys who were shooting everything up there. I’m a level headed guy who wants to serve people and was proud to be there offering people a chance a freedom.

You all shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

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RollButt April 10, 2012 at 01:24 pm

It does not show that this is a Black Water Unit, someone just edited the logo onto this video. 1st video, AR with no dot sights and not aiming without use of the sights and shoulder, big No No; 2nd video, no VIP motocade to protect; 3rd video, a pedestrian would not get that close to a motorcade. End of story.

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PJ April 10, 2012 at 02:59 pm

Agree that there doesn’t seem to be any way to identify them. Also this seems to have been published by Harper’s Magazine for what that’s worth.

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Reno April 10, 2012 at 03:18 pm

I’m unsure that this is actually BW, it may just be US Mil or other PMCs. Blackwater is like the Coke of PMCs, it may be any PMC but they say Blackwater.

ROE:

Wave arms
Pen flare
If time allows, 2nd pen flare
Shoot engine block
Shoot driver

We always waited until very last moment even though it endangered our lives. I also agree with other posters. We never used Humvees.

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David April 10, 2012 at 03:33 pm

I don’t think that a lot of the shooting was uncalled for in these videos. I would have and did shoot a lot more. There is no reason to be as spiteful or disrespectful as they were though.
I’m not sure the time frame that these videos were shot in. There would have been a lot of those cars with a lot more holes in them if I were forced into those situations. Frankly they were very lenient in a lot of those instances. The time frame matters though, things weren’t always like that.
The problem is you have no idea who is carrying an anti tank grenade and just waiting to get close enough and you have no idea what vehicles are VBIEDs. It may not be like that now and its not how we look at it now but I would have ripped a lot of those cars apart if they got that close to my vic.

Have a plan to kill everyone you meet but don’t treat them that way.

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thebronze April 10, 2012 at 06:24 pm

Funny how the BTDT’s pretty much give this a pass (as I do) and the X-Box players (non-BTDT’s) are “shameful to be Americans”.

STFU and go back to your video game.

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JM April 12, 2012 at 01:03 pm

Not fair, and totally uncalled for. I’m an Xbox-playing non-BTDT and I don’t consider this shameful. I consider this hard work and completely understandable. Your comment, however, is far less understandable. Please do not feed the trolls.

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jay April 16, 2012 at 08:38 pm

Thebronze,

OUT STANDING RESPONSE brah! I really get annoyed with tactic-cool xbox set. Know your place. I don’t tell you how to earn extra lives and unlocks, don’t tell me how to operate in a convoy. Ever try driving anything bigger than your moms corolla? Ever try driving it in filthy country, on primitive roads at 75mph and a few meters of spacing? exactly.

BTDT, went to the px bought a shirt and gave it to mary rotten crotch at home.

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Jeff April 10, 2012 at 06:31 pm

What I would be interested in knowing is the frequency and back story of this. I don’t have a Harper’s account, so I’m not sure if it has more detail there. If there is someone injured in the Humvee and they are racing to get help, then that is one thing. If this is their normal Sunday joy ride, then that makes it a different story.

Regardless, is is hard to win a “hearts and minds” campaign if this is the way civilians are treated.

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Brad April 10, 2012 at 06:55 pm

I know a lot of this seems shocking to some who have never seen it before, but if you spend months in an area you have to establish a presence and always appear to be a hard target. Every time you leave the FOB you have to avoid making patterns as you conduct your patrols, and one definite pattern that the insurgents took advantage of was drivers who stopped for traffic or pedestrians. None of what you saw on the video was created by the cameraman for the hell of it, it was more than likely SOP. Do I like to see civilians killed or wounded? Absolutely not. But when you are fighting an enemy that would gladly run over 10 civilians to kill 1 American, and they choose to blend in with the locals, what exactly are you supposed to do when a person jumps in front of you when they see you coming down the street? Especially on a crowded street, where if they kill a few civies along with a couple Americans it’s even better. And the guy in the video does sound dumb. But, he isn’t in America, and those aren’t American’s he is talking to. He’s talking to military age males in the country that he has been ordered to occupy. I’d say he is showing that he is a hard target. I know when it was my ass on the line, I preferred “fear and respect” over “hearts and minds”. Maybe that’s why I’m home now.

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paul kimble April 10, 2012 at 09:43 pm
bryce April 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm

After see this video the above video is 100% understandable
thanks Paul for clearing things up
And I am proud to be an American and proud of my fellow Americans in showing such restraint in not Killing everything that came with in 30 feet of them
And for all that are embarrassed or ashamed GoFuckYourSelf you weren’t there and you don’t know what its like

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JM April 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

This is how to represent facts – bravo. Journalists these days have no interest in the truth.

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Josh April 13, 2012 at 10:52 am

see…we’re not all mouthbreathing war mongers…the RKG3 threat is trully underreported. IT’s a HAND THROWN ANTI TANK GRENADE…that black robed woman that got run over in the last video…sorry bout your luck…

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Cargosquid April 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm

A) Blackwater does not exist anymore.
B) Blame the State Dept. At the time, they worked as body guards for State in Iraq. They were using ROE’s put out by State.
C) During that that time, they lost exactly zero clients.
D) It was BlackWater operators that were burned on the bridge BEFORE they allegedly acted this way.
e) In the last vid, it looks like the pedestrian was hit because she stepped out in front. That car did NOT swerve into her.

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Blackwater Fangirl April 11, 2012 at 12:40 am

My friend was over there (National Guard) not long ago and one of his friend’s convoy got hit by an IED shoved up a dead goat’s ass. Back when these videos were filmed things were even worse. The convoy goes goes goes; stops for nothing and keeps everything the fuck away.

For those of you ashamed to be American I am ashamed you are American as well. ;)

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Lance April 11, 2012 at 12:58 am

Having driven thousands and thousands of miles on the roads in Iraq I think I can safely say the following:

The first video linked does look like a few of the shots may have been a bit overly aggressive. It’s hard to judge by the video, but not many, if any, of those cars look like they are try real hard to get into the convoy. Stress can get to you over there and make you a bit aggressive. Most of those shots looked liked they were not aimed at the driver though. The guys just need to take a step back and chill a bit. EOF! Most military convoys would use a shotgun with birdshot for warning shots.

The second linked video looks like normal driving in Iraq. The civilians are bad enough drivers as it is. Convoys don’t stop for anything. Rule #1 when I was in Iraq: The convoy doesn’t stop unless absolutely necessary. The bullshit talking from the gunner is absolutely unnecessary though.

The last video of the civilian getting hit is another video that is hard to say exactly what happened. It almost looks like the civilian walked into the humvee. Yes, it’s a tragedy. Again, this goes back to rule #1; the convoy stops for nothing! Everyone knows this! Get out of the road when you see a convoy! When I was over there they would put children in the road for the purpose of stopping convoys so they could then be attacked more easily.

I think there are a few better videos of Blackwater being assholes than these. Of course these images are going to be shocking to anyone who hasn’t seen them before or to most people who have never been to a war zone. Things don’t operate like they do in your normal day to day life.

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Caleb April 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Has anyone heard of the Blackwater video game which has allegedly been in production?
From what I’ve heard its a GTA style shooter…Not a very good look…

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liquidflroain April 11, 2012 at 01:01 pm

Its already released, but flopped.
http://xbox360.ign.com/objects/110/110645.html

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ENDO-Mike April 12, 2012 at 03:44 pm

Rating: 2.5 “Painful” <---- ROFL

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jay April 25, 2012 at 04:49 pm

A video game? Damn, I can’t stand gamers. I like how are work is now your entertainment. FML

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Suburban Sheepdog April 11, 2012 at 04:33 pm

@Paul Kimble, very good.

I was going to try to explain the workings of an RKG3 — that video shows it all too well.

Did the guys in the “Blackwater video” (PMCs in Humvees in 2006? Kind of doubt it.) have some less than professional expressions? Sure. Was the driving or behavior generally speaking improper for the circumstances? Nope.

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JM April 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I would never presume to know what the whole story is, especially if I’m doing so based on a video taken by the person in question. There are very few reasons to release something like this, and self-incrimination is usually not one of them.

Also, why are you sourcing from Kotaku? Gawker media is one of the most anti-law enforcement, anti-troops media groups around. Anything from Gawker I spit on before reading, to see if it sticks.

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JM April 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm

And another thing: who can confirm that this is Blackwater in the videos? For all we know it could be Aussie troops.

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ENDO-Mike April 12, 2012 at 01:09 pm

via Kotaku. The source of the videos was Harpers.

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JM April 12, 2012 at 01:45 pm

But who reads Kotaku? Even reputable GAMERS don’t go there, much less someone trying to bring some credible NEWS to the table…

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ENDO-Mike April 12, 2012 at 01:46 pm

Apparently a lot of people read Kotaku because I often get tips on stories from them. I don’t post about most of them though, but this one had Harpers as a source so I figured it was legit and worth posting.

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JM April 12, 2012 at 02:22 pm

I can see following a tip. But saying that, “these guys give a bad name to operators everywhere” isn’t very objective. If you’re going with a tip, do a little digging to verify some of it.

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ENDO-Mike April 12, 2012 at 03:47 pm

I’ve never served, I had no idea that type of behavior was acceptable. From everyone’s comments, now I know. Depending on the actual circumstances in these videos some of it still seems to be unnecessary.

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JM April 13, 2012 at 09:34 am

Maybe so, but I think an edit/redaction is in order. It’s unscrupulous sensationalism at best, and it’s out of place here.

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dave w April 13, 2012 at 11:37 am

Yeah mike im gonna call the naacp on you.

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JM April 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

Maybe I’m missing the point of the blog.

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dave w April 13, 2012 at 03:13 pm

the National Association Against Careless Posting is a force all blog owners fear

ENDO-Mike April 13, 2012 at 03:32 pm

hahah @ your below post.

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