There is no doubt that U.S. servicemen and women will die due to the naiveté and narcissism of Judge Royce C Lamberth of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. And their blood will be on your hands, sir.
During the Thursday resentencing of Rochester's Evan Liberty and two others accused of a killing spree in Nisour Square 12 years ago, Lamberth went out of his way to praise the young men for their comportment the past five years in federal prisons, but said he couldn't dismiss or condone the carnage that occurred at their hands during the shooting, in which 17 Iraqis were said to have been killed including young children, an elderly man getting off a bus and another man with his hand held up in the air.
Prosecutors said the men panicked and shot wildly into a square full of civilians, mowing down the innocents with machine gun and mortar fire.
Meanwhile, Liberty and other Blackwater guards, who were hired to protect diplomats in and around Baghdad during the height of the Iraq War, said they were shot at by Iraqi insurgents dressed as policeman, which started the shooting spree.
So now, as my fifth-grade teacher used to say, let's put on our thinking caps.
These three Blackwater guards had all formerly served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan with distinction. They were veteran Blackwater guards in Iraq in 2007 during the height of the war at a time when:
Women holding babies would cry for help from soldiers then in a suicide attack explode an IED next to an American Humvee killing all the U.S. servicemen aboard.
Iraqi insurgent snipers leant over the tops of bombed buildings in downtown Baghdad to pick off American soldiers serving in country trying to restore order and bolster the fledgling Iraqi government
Blackwater units and American soldiers and Marines were facing deadly ambushes and suicide car bomb attacks nearly every day.
An analysis by Iraq Body Count published in 2011 indicates that at least 12,294 Iraq civilians were killed in at least 1,003 suicide bombings between 2003 and 2010.
A listing of those suicide bombings shows that 2007 was by far the deadliest year. And an analysis showed that 60 times more civilians died during the seven-year suicide bombing spree than U.S. servicemen.
The morning of the attack, on Sept. 16, 2001, a Sunday, Raven 23, the Blackwater unit in which Liberty served, was warned via a BOLO to be on the lookout for a white Kia that was equipped with a car bomb and suicide attacker.
That was precisely the make and model of vehicle that drifted toward the Raven 23 checkpoint in the square despite several warning shots and commands to stop.
With little choice a Raven 23 sniper - who exactly it was isn't clear and we really shouldn't give a damn though Nicholas Slatten of Tennessee is serving a life sentence in the killing - neutralized the threat, shot him dead square, I'm sure on command or with a nod, from a superior.
That's when Raven 23 began taking fire from Iraqis dressed as policeman, the defendants say. By the way, there was a kiosk in the square that sold the uniforms. Probably had a brisk business that day. I mean it's all about the Benjamins, right?
So knowing that these three fine young heroes had been in war zones for years as American servicemen operating under standard rules of engagement with the military and all honorable discharged.
And knowing that this was the worst of all the Iraq war years in which warring factions were at violent odds over American involvement in propping up the fledgling Iraqi government.
Now if your thinking cap is still on, which scenario do you think makes more sense?
That Liberty and his comrades opened fire on innocent civilians just to get their rocks off because there was nothing else to do on a Sunday afternoon?
Or they returned fire after getting shot at by insurgents bent on killing Americans, destabilizing the fledgling Iraqi government and furthering their goal of getting the U.S. out of Iraq.
And by the way, remember the first Iraq War in 1990, when they invaded Kuwait and used "human shields" (innocent Iraqi civilians) in an attempt to thwart an American invasion to free the Kuwaitis.
In one noted incident, two USAF stealth planes bombed a bunker in Amiriyah, causing the deaths of 408 Iraqi civilians who were in the shelter. Scenes of burned and mutilated bodies were subsequently broadcast, and controversy arose over the bunker's status, with some stating that it was a civilian shelter, while others contended that it was a center of Iraqi military operations, and that the civilians had been deliberately moved there to act as human shields.
All I can say about that is "hmmmmmmmmm." In Iraq, this bullshit is modus operandi.
So why would a wise man, or judge, be so naïve as to think Iraqi insurgents wouldn't do what their government did 17 years before. The insurgents in Nisour Square were likely hiding behind the innocents using them as human shields like their government under Saddam Hussein did 17 years before. Why wouldn't they? It's a time tested and honored tradition with these folk.
Now let's get back to the "honorable" Judge Lamberth, who with great gravitas concluded his sentencing statement by ruminating, "What kind of country is the United States?"
Then this pompous old fool, as pompous old fools do, answered his own question.
"We are a country that has a military and armed contractors who respect the rule of law," he proclaimed.
Now say this to yourself several times because it bears repeating: "The rule of law in a warzone, the rule of law in a warzone, the rule of law in a warzone." Sounds almost like an oxymoron, doesn't it?
Now think back to Saving Private Ryan, the iconic World War II movie starring Tom Hanks. Remember when the German soldiers raise their hands to surrender not far from the beachhead and promptly get shot dead by our guys?
Were those brave American soldiers put in prison for 30 years, or life? I don't think so.
But now, if they don't dot the i's and cross the t's during conflict, they do.
So here's what happens thanks to Lamberth's folly. Here's the unintended consequence.
Brave American soldiers risking their lives to protect your liberty overseas, in distant lands, will take incoming fire and then squint their eyes to parse for any innocent civilians, process who's the bad guys and who's the innocents and gently squeeze off one shot at a time with precision to make sure there's no collateral damage.
And get promptly shot dead before they squeeze off the first shot in the millisecond it took to make the decision.
Why? Because their country doesn't have their back if they get it wrong. They'll end up in prison for 15 or 30 years like Evan Liberty of Rochester, New Hampshire ...
Thanks to the honorable Judge Royce C. Lamberth.