The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, October 04, 2007

It took a while, but here it is. Maybe.

At last, some good news. I'm especially pleased because I've been grousing about this for years. Literally.

The House passed a bill on Wednesday that would make all private contractors working in Iraq and other combat zones subject to prosecution by U.S. courts. It was the first major legislation of its kind to pass since a deadly shootout last month involving Blackwater employees.

Democrats called the 389-30 vote an indictment in connection with a shooting incident there that left 11 Iraqis dead. Senate Democratic leaders said they planned to follow suit with similar legislation and send a bill to President Bush as soon as possible.

The article describes the move strictly in terms of Blackwater and other military ops, but hopefully this will open the door to prosecuting the corporations that have been awarded massive contracts in exchange for shortchanging our military personnel and failing to complete infrastructure projects. Which, as I've noted many times before, means more Iraqis without electricity or water. Which means more pissed off Iraqis. Which means more anti-Americanism. Which means more dead troops.

Unfortunately, the overwhelming support for the bill among House Republicans makes me wonder why they'd suddenly show an interest in putting a stop to war profiteering. A possible clue:

The White House and congressional Republicans said they support the intent of the bill, but thought it was drafted poorly and could have unintended consequences.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the White House said the bill would have "unintended and intolerable consequences for crucial and necessary national security activities and operations." The statement did not explain further or give examples on how the bill would affect national security. (. . .)

Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., accused Democrats of rushing the bill through Congress in a partisan bid to criticize the Bush administration's handling of the war.

My guess is that-- like the SCHIP vote-- they're confident of either a veto, a stalemate in the senate, or a presidential signing statement that would completely de-fang the bill.