No mercy

We're guessing that Blackwater USA and its mercenary brethren won't be showing up on next year's Project Censored list the way they did this year ("Censored!" MT, Sept. 26). Gunning down unarmed civilians is the kind of thing that gets the mainstream press — not to mention Congress — paying attention to something the rest of us already knew was a problem ("Soldiers of fortune," by MT's Sandra Svoboda, May 9).

As an Iraqi government report came out screaming "deliberate murder" following a bloody Blackwater romp through a Baghdad square last month, the U.S. House sent the Senate a bill last week (HR 2740, passing 389-30) that makes it easier for the U.S. to prosecute all private contractors overseas.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has ordered cameras placed on Blackwater convoys and arranged for diplomatic security agents to monitor Blackwater guards. None of these measures satisfy Iraqi demands for real sovereignty and a severing of contracts, but at least now the issue is getting everyone's attention.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]

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