Warning: Graphic, violent images. May not be appropriate for work.
The LA Times has a harrowing op-ed from a former US official on her experiences with Blackwater:
As a U.S. official in Baghdad for nearly two years, I was frequently the "beneficiary" of Blackwater's over-the-top zeal. "Just pretend it's a roller coaster," I used to tell myself during trips through downtown Baghdad.
We would careen around corners, jump road dividers, reach speeds in excess of 100 mph and often cross over to the wrong side of the street, oncoming traffic be damned.
But much more appalling than the ride was the deleterious effect each movement through town had on the already beleaguered people of Iraq. I began to wonder whether my meetings, intended to further U.S. policy goals and improve the lives of Iraqis, were doing more harm than good. With our drivers honking at, cutting off, pelting with water bottles (a favorite tactic) and menacing with weapons anyone in their way, how many enemies were we creating?
Well, exactly. Hearts and minds, people....hearts and minds.