Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.


- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blackwater banned from operating in Iraq -- by Iraqi government

Well... this is surely news.

The question of the hour is whether or not they will comply:

Iraq has cancelled the licence of the private security firm, Blackwater USA, after it was involved in a gunfight in which at least eight civilians died.

The Iraqi interior ministry said the contractor, based in North Carolina, was now banned from operating in Iraq.

The Blackwater workers, who were contracted by the US state department, apparently opened fire after coming under attack in Baghdad on Sunday.

Thousands of private security guards are employed in lawless Iraq.

They are often heavily armed, but critics say some are not properly trained and are not accountable except to their employers.

The interior ministry's director of operations, Maj Gen Abdul Karim Khalaf, said authorities would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force.

"We have opened a criminal investigation against the group who committed the crime," he told the AFP news agency.

All Blackwater personnel have been told to leave Iraq immediately, with the exception of the men involved in the incident on Sunday.

They will have to remain in the country and stand trial, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the US response? If ever there was a telling 'official' response, it might be this:

A spokeswoman for the US embassy in Baghdad later confirmed there had been an incident in which state department security personnel reacted to a car bomb "in the proximity", and that they had been shot at.

"We are taking it very seriously indeed," she told the BBC, adding that discussions were still taking place about Blackwater's status now that they had been ordered to leave.

When asked if Blackwater was complying with the order, the spokeswoman said she could not comment because the investigation into the incident was still in progress.

A spokesman for the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said she wanted to ensure that everything was being done to avoid the loss of innocent life and to make sure this kind of incident never happened again.

She is also expected to telephone Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to reassure him that the US had launched its own investigation.

Yes, I'm sure we have 'launched an investigation.' And of course, that investigation is classified.

We do a lot of investigating. No actual results; but we investigate better than just about any other country in the world. You see we are a democracy. And that means investigations.

Of course the results are always 'classified,' and we never see any... well any actual results... but we are assured (as are officials in Iraq) that investigations are taking place.

By someone. Oh, absolutely.

(Condi to Nouri: "Blackwater will leave Iraq when we say Blackwater leaves Iraq. You forget yourself sir.")

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