Monday, October 22, 2007
Interview airs today on APM's "The Story with Dick Gordon"
Check out my interview on American Public Media's "The Story with Dick Gordon" on Blackwater and US foreign policy. You can download the podcast from the link. It airs on over 50 NPR stations across the country.
Monday, October 22
People in Baghdad are still talking about what happened on September 16 - the day an incident involving the private security company Blackwater USA left at least 17 Iraqis dead. Ahmed Abdullah visited the scene in Nisour Square and talked to witnesses. One witness, an Iraqi soldier, told Ahmed that he tried to get Blackwater personnel to help the wounded. Instead, one of them took aim at the man and shot him in the chest.
Janessa Gans had regular contact with the private security company, Blackwater. Between 2003 and 2005 she was working in Iraq, and on many of her trips around the country she traveled in vehicles driven by Blackwater contractors. Janessa talks to Dick about both the professionalism and recklessness she experienced firsthand.
In her opinion, every time a Blackwater convoy passed through an Iraqi town, the company lowered the reputation of the United States in the eyes of Iraqis.
The job of a contractor
Ken Sherrod went to Iraq for the first time as a soldier with the Air Guard Reserves. When he got the opportunity to go back as a private contractor in 2004, he took it. Ken spoke with Dick in April of 2006, when he had just returned after working for 2 years as a military contractor in Iraq. While he was there, Ken had to get a client to the airport - an extremely risky assignment. The vehicle he was in was shot at, but Ken got lucky: the bullets missed him by a few inches. Despite the many dangers, Ken said he'd be willing to go back.