Blackwater Worldwide, the lightning rod for the private security industry, is no stranger to allegations up to and including murder. This time, however, a finger has been pointed directly at its founder and chief executive. "Erik Prince," Jeremy Scahill reported in The Nation, "may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company." Scahill, who wrote a book critical of Blackwater, also detailed a goal of "eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe." Pundits are universally outraged, of course, but differ in evaluating who is responsible for letting Blackwater happen.

  • Blame the Bush Administration: Andrew Sullivan described Blackwater as part of "the Bush-Cheney military-industrial-mercenary complex." Scahill, on Keith Olbermann's Countdown (video above), argued that the Bush White House, which employed Blackwater in Iraq, knew about and fostered the firm's behavior:
The Bush administration essentially create a force that acted as an armed wing of the administration, not subject to the military command, not subject to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, that reported directly to George Bush's secretary of state and then to the president.

These were his men, his private force in Baghdad. And the allegations that they were running around shooting Iraqis as part of a war to eliminate Islam globally, as is actually what one of these individuals said, is extremely disturbing to anyone who believes in any semblance of Constitution, law or human rights.
  • Blame the U.S. Military: Steve Hynd of Newshoggers wondered if this is "still only the tip of the iceberg," detailing "allegations of bribery, conflicts of interest, defective products, bid rigging and theft in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait" among contractors as well as military officials. "There are 154 open criminal investigations into allegations of bribery, conflicts of interest, defective products, bid rigging and theft in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait," Hynd noted.
  • Blame the CIA: Digby of Hullabaloo connected Blackwater to the intelligence agency. "These military contractors are all heavily connected to the CIA and to the conservative movement. I'm sure they understood their orders very well and were extremely well compensated for carrying them out," she wrote. "This may end up being one of the few paths open to finding out what really happened."