Erik D. Prince, chief executive of Blackwater USA, told a Congressional committee on Tuesday that his company's nearly 1,000 armed guards in Iraq were not trigger-happy mercenaries, but rather loyal Americans doing a necessary job in hostile territory.
That's from John M. Broder's audition for dumb ass of the week. It's entitled "Chief of Blackwater Defends His Employees" and appears in this morning's New York Times. Maybe Broder's tum-tum was bothering him and he joined the mass exodus that fled for lunch when the Prince was still giving testimony? If not, how to explain the "1,000" and "Americans" nonsense because that nonsense was addressed with Prince refusing to 'do the math' when asked repeatedly and citing that he didn't know the figures, couldn't break down how many were there, how many were Americans and blah blah blah. When the point being made -- that it's not a "handful" of non-Americans as Prince insisted in testimony -- Prince said to refer to the documents submitted to Congress in the hearing and the reply was that was being referred to but if you did so and you did the math, you got around one-third of the mercenaries working for Blackwater being non-Americans which was more than a "handful." Again, Broder's little tum-tum may have been growling and he may have had to join oh-so-many others in making the mad (and embarrassing) dash out as the hearing was still ongoing.
Peter Spiegel wants to go for the Dumb Ass gold as well and certainly gives Broder a run for the money with "Blackwater gets a united defense" (Los Angeles Times):
But Prince, 38, who answered questions politely, sought to depict any wrongdoing as rare occurrences that his company dealt with promptly by firing the offenders.
Apparently Spiegel grew up in The Simpsons' household because incessant eye rolls, smirks and repeatedly turning your head in disgust while someone was speaking to you wouldn't qualify for polite in most other homes. Maybe Spiegel had a bad seat and was stuck staring at the back of Prince's head throughout?
Spiegel also attended without spare batteries for his hearing aid:
Among lawmakers, the defense of Blackwater broke along partisan lines, with almost all Republicans on the panel praising the company's behavior and some suggesting Waxman was using the security firm as a proxy to criticize the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq.
Diane Watson (Democrat) providing her meandering 'questions' either wasn't heard by Spiegel or he fell asleep during it. Watson clearing stated, "You are providing a service." That would be "praise" and it came from a Democrat.
Back at the Times, Broder's bound and determined to create this century's Ollie North and gushes:
Mr. Prince, 38, a former Navy Seal, appeared before the committee and its openly skeptical chairman in a trim dark blue suit with his blond hair in a fresh cut.
A fresh cut. Sigh. You get the feeling that if Broder's notes were subpoenaed, there would be doodles in the margins of "Erick Loves John" and "Mrs. John Prince." For the record, that suit was the trashiest thing inthe world. Tele-evangelists wear better suits. The shoulders were a disaster, cheaply maid and the seam appeared to have been ironed so badly that there was discoloration. A con artist in a cheap suit is what the appearance said so naturally Broder was in love.
It's cute the way the groupies ignore the denial of no-bid contracts and how, after Dennis Kucinich who had pressed on that issue and then left the hearing was gone, Prince 'corrects' the record to say oh-yeah-we-did-too-have-no-bid-contracts.
Broder and Spiegel are in love with mercenaries. Prince is their "bad boy" and they'll show up for work today with little secret grins that will just have everyone else rolling their eyes and requesting that they not share their vivid dreams from last night.
Neither can point out that Prince repeatedly used the phrase "I don't know." That, unless it was rah-rah b.s., Prince didn't know. The CEO knows -- to judge by his testimony -- nothing about his company. They also fail to note the repeated breaks while Prince's attorney vetted an answer (or, in most cases, gave Prince the answer) before Prince could reply to a question.
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