More details on the Blackwater massacre

Looks as if the bomb explosion was real, but the supposed gunfire from the crowd was imaginary. After the bomb went off, one of the Blackwater guys shot and killed a driver, whose car then rolled forward toward the Blackwater position, convincing them that they were under attack and leading to indiscriminate firing into a crowd consisting entirely or almost entirely of non-enemies.

Ugh. Looks as if the bomb explosion was real, but the supposed gunfire from the crowd was imaginary. One of the Blackwater guys shot and killed a driver, whose car then rolled forward toward the Blackwater position, convincing them that they were under attack and leading to indiscriminate firing into a crowd consisting entirely or almost entirely of non-enemies.

No wonder the FBI has started a criminal investigation.

Yes, the Blackwater fighters were in a tough spot, surrounded by what they knew was a hostile population; if they’d been guarding someone in New York when a bomb went off, they wouldn’t have fired wildly into a crowd of American civilians. But since that hostile Iraqi population is crucial to our effort in Iraq &#8212 not to mention being the people we’re supposedly in Iraq to help &#8212 maybe Blackwater and the State Department ought to be a little bit more careful about increasing their hostility.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com