In 2009 on this day six Blackwater Worldwide guards were seized under the powers granted to the the U.S. Justice Department by the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).
The guards had been performing a Personal Security Detail under contract for the Department of Defense when seventeen civilians were shot and killed in Nisour Square, Baghdad on September 16, 2007. U.S. military reports indicated that private security contractors had opened fire without provocation and used excessive force.
Blackwater Worldwide's license to operate in Iraq was revoked the next day and the US State Department confirmed that innocent life was lost.
The so-called Blackwater incident caused domestic outrage - Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari announced that private security contractors operating in Iraq would be stripped of their immunity from prosecution under a U.S.-Iraqi agreement currently in negotiations.
Outlining for the first time his concern about private contractors in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Congress on Wednesday September 26th 2007 that he had sent a fact-finding team to Baghdad and has reminded U.S. commanders that they have the authority to discipline contractors.
A prominent member of the team was Ronald C. Arkin, a computer scientist at Georgia Tech who has controversially stated that My research hypothesis is that intelligent robots can behave more ethically in the battlefield than humans currently can. That's the case I make.
Robot drones, mine detectors and sensing devices are increasingly common on the battlefield controlled under license by Blackwater Worldwide.
We imagine that Blackwater becomes Skynet's ground forces,
inspired by a comment on Mr Robert Taylor's rather cool
new blog. In Paging John Connor ~ Sure,
let's go ahead and build Skynet's ground forces for it. What could possibly go
wrong? the Rat wisely commented on a
York Times article A Soldier, Taking Orders From Its Ethical Judgment Center
by Cornelia Dean November 24, 2008 discussing the sensible use of drones in Iraq
Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.