Iraqis, of course, recognized President Trump’s clemency for the four Blackwater contractors who murdered 17 men, women and children at Baghdad’s Nisour Square for what it is. It is the latest reminder that they possess no rights, no matter how basic, the ascendant global superpower is bound to respect.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry, reacting to Trump’s Tuesday night pardons of four convicted mercenaries, expressed its outrage on Wednesday. “The ministry believes that this decision did not take into account the seriousness of the crime committed and was inconsistent with the U.S. administration’s declared commitment to the values of human rights, justice and the rule of law, and regrettably ignores the dignity of the victims and the feelings and rights of their relatives,” it said. The ministry said it would urge the U.S. to “reconsider this decision.”
That’s unlikely. Nicholas Slatten, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty and Paul Slough are now free men, as Trump long forecasted. But no clemency can ever erase what they and their Blackwater colleagues did on September 16, 2007. Blackwater, possessing a lucrative contract to protect State Department personnel in Iraq, guarded a USAID official at a compound in Baghdad when a car bomb exploded two football fields away. A convoy of mercenaries responded to a call for backup when they encountered a traffic jam at a roundabout called Nisour Square. Inconvenienced, the Blackwater convoy sprayed machine gun fire into the cars.