7,122. 9/16/2007

On September 16, 2007, “employees of [private military security firm] Blackwater who were guarding a convoy just outside the Green Zone [in Baghdad, Iraq] shot and killed at least 17 Iraqis. The Blackwater men said they were responding to an ambush, and the company would back them up, saying they acted in self-defense. But several Iraqi witnesses disputed that, and parallel investigations by the U.S. military and the Iraqi government would conclude that no one fired except the contractors. …A U.S. military report, based upon interviews with soldiers who arrived on the scene and with Iraqi eyewitnesses reported that there was ‘no enemy activity involved,’ and that many of the Iraqi civilians were wounded as they tried to drive away from the American convoy. ‘It had every indication of an excessive shooting,’ said Lt. Col. Mike Tarsa, a battalion commander in the 1st Cavalry Division. Capt. Don Cherry concluded that ‘this was uncalled for.’ Five of the Blackwater guards involved in the incident were indicted in December 2008 by a federal grand jury on charges of manslaughter and assault.”

 – Thomas E. Ricks, The Gamble, Page 270

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