The Kos callousness has now officially been embraced by the mainstream left. Nicholas Von Hoffman used his Observer column this week to reiterate the "mercenaries" slur against all civilian defense contractors such as those who were lynched in Fallujah. Here's a particularly choice, particularly Zuniga-esque bit:
Who were the "four U.S. contractors" who met their deaths in Fallujah? They were described in The Washington Post as "elite commandos … hired by the U.S. government to protect bureaucrats, soldiers and intelligence officers."
The contractors were employees of Blackwater Security Consulting, four of some 400 Blackwater employees in Iraq who are making up to $1,000 a day.
American news organizations are not doing the truth a favor when they call these hired guns "U.S. military contractors." They are not even being accurate: The men were not contractors to the government, but Hessians or mercenary soldiers in the employ of a corporate warlord, namely Blackwater Security Consulting. Let’s call these people what they are, even though Americans have yet to feel completely comfortable with the idea of killing for money.
Perhaps to help us get over any queasiness we might be experiencing in that department, a number of stories about the Blackwater mercenaries have stressed that they were former members of elite units of the American military. It has even been said that they gave their lives for "freedom." Whose freedom is left unsaid, but surely no more overused and abused word can be found in contemporary American English. The patriotic crap aside, if these men’s primary motives for being in Iraq were flag and country, they’d still be in the armed services. At a pay grade of $350,000 a year, we know why they were there.
Does that justify killing them? No, nothing can justify taking human life—but if you take one-third of a million dollars a year to walk around in somebody else’s country with a machine gun, and you get wasted by the locals, I don’t think you deserve a very big or elaborate funeral. They were there for the money, and these men—elite ex-soldiers that they were—knew the risks, and they took them. So be it.
Yeah. Screw them. So, what was that stuff about how this type of sentiment only reflected the feelings of a few nutty extremists and had been disavvowed by the mainstream left?