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Blackwater and the Bush Legacy 
 How Bush created a "kill for free" zone


Imagine a universe where a man can gun down women and children anytime he pleases, knowing he will 
never be brought to justice. A place where morality is null and void, and arbitrary killing is the rule. 
A place that has been imagined hitherto only in nightmarish dystopian fiction, like “1984,” or in fevered 
passages from Dostoevsky—or which existed during the Holocaust and Stalinist purges and the Dark Ages. 
Well, that universe exists today. It is called Iraq. And the man who made it possible is George W. Bush. 

Take the case of the Blackwater guard who got drunk at a Green Zone party last Christmas Eve and 
reportedly boasted to his friends that he was going to kill someone. According to both Iraqi and U.S. 
officials, he stumbled out and headed provocatively over to the “Little Venice” section, a lovely area of 
canals where Iraqi officials live. He had an argument with an Iraqi guard, then shot him once in the chest 
and three times in the back. The next day Blackwater put him on a private plane out of the country
—probably only because the incident involved a rare killing inside the Green Zone and the victim was 
a security guard for a high-ranking politician. That was it. The company has refused to disclose his name. 

As anyone who has been in Iraq (like me) knows, on the ground the unspoken Bush rule has been that 
almost all Iraqis, at least the males, are guilty until proven innocent. Arrests, beatings and sometimes 
killings at the hands of security firms and sometimes U.S. military units are arbitrary, often based on the 
flimsiest intelligence, and Iraqis have no recourse whatever to justice except in a few cases like Haditha. 
Imagine the sense of helpless rage that emerges from this sort of treatment. Apply three years of it and 
you have a furious, traumatized population. And a country out of control.

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