Poor Contractors Maligned By Big Bad Henry Waxman:
At a hearing at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the opening statement by members of four families of those Blackwater USA "contractors" (or "mercenaries" in Realityville), who were shot, ripped up, and displayed on a bridge in Fallujah, Iraq back in 2004, was not extraordinary. It was a simple, straightforward expression of grief and outrage against a company that, as demonstrated by its own internal e-mails, literally left its employees to hang out to dry. The families are suing Blackwater for negligence, among other things, or, as Kathryn Helvenston-Wettengel, whose son was one of the four, read to the committee, "When the decision was made to save millions of dollars by not buying armored vehicles, our husbands, fathers and sons were killed. Blackwater gets paid for the number of warm bodies it can put on the ground in certain locations throughout the world. If some are killed, it replaces them at a moment’s notice. What Blackwater fails to realize is that the commodity it trades in is human life."
Democrat Henry Waxman's committee was meeting for one of the first hearings of what will be a mighty anal probe of the Bush administrations reliance on security contractors like Blackwater (motto: "Read this Tom Clancy novel and then hide it in the slit-open corpse of a local"), as well as the cash-gobbling layers of subcontractors and sub-subcontractors (known in here in Realityville as "money laundering").
Apparently, California Republican Darrell Issa, remembered by most people for weeping like a little bitch when he was forced to ditch his governor ambitions so Arnold could hulk into office, seemed to be under some kind of threat from Blackwater, probably involving an Emerson Commander knife and his tiny balls. What other reason would there have been for Issa to go after the four women sitting in front of him, offended, nay, pissed off that they would dare talk about their family members' corpses in a statement that might have been goosed by an attorney.
Issa said to the four women, "Although I do not think that your testimony today is particularly germane to the oversight of this committee, I am deeply sorry for the losses that you’ve had." And then he asked, "One question I have is, the opening statement, who wrote it?" Boo-yah, Issa must have thought. Classic gotcha, no? Fuck their pain - tell the Republican that a lawyer wrote their lines of misery and woe so we can say it's pretend.
It turned into a little slap fight among the House members on the committee, as well as Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky, who was attending the hearing in support of the families. At one point, Democrat Stephen Lynch pointed out, "That is the first time that a member of Congress asked [witnesses] who prepared their statements." He wondered how many Congress members read statements prepared by others.
But Issa was there to get Blackwater's back. He wanted to know if they were trying the case in Congress and kept harping on the testimony, prompting Helvenston-Wettengel to ask, "Why are you dwelling on this?"
Indeed, why? Because otherwise you have to dwell on the orgy of profit reaped by corporations that were erect and lubricated and ready to start fuckin' as soon as the invasion of Iraq was a go. Because otherwise you have to dwell on all the people, good and bad, smart and stupid, who were suckered into the dream of profiteering, too, only to discover that they were just appetizers on the banquet the piggy executives were devouring.
And Issa is ever willing to play the good Republican corporate whore, saying, "It's absolutely clear that things have not gone perfectly well in Iraq, but to victimize a particular company, especially a company undergoing a lawsuit, is something we should be extraordinarily careful about." Yep, that's right. Blackwater (which had been subcontracted by the Kuwaiti company Regency, which had been subcontracted by ESS Support Services, which had been subcontracted by Fluor Corporation and KBR, which is a subsidiary of Halliburton, and therein lies the root of all evil), not the families, not the American people, is the victim here, according to Republicans.