Thursday, October 04, 2007

vote mercenary

yesterday, several blogs picked up on this story from the south bend tribune that a man named chris minor has announced that he's running against joe donnelly for indiana's 2nd district in congress. (let's get the obligatory joke about him being a "minor" challenge out of the way now.)

the tribune describes minor as "a retired U.S. Army captain" and "an intelligence analyst for the State Department" who "retired from the military with an 80 percent disability for noncombat related injuries". his past as a disabled veteran might help him get right-wing votes, which he'll surely need, since i don't imagine him being a popular candidate with fringe views like this:

Minor said he would like to replace Pelosi with Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., "the pride and joy of the conservative movement."

today's indy star carries an AP article about minor's candidacy, and it includes one surprising fact that the tribune's james wensits apparently overlooked. minor actually works for blackwater USA.

Minor said he is an independent contractor hired through Blackwater to work for the State Department.

Blackwater has been the focus of recent allegations involving actions by its employees hired to protect diplomatic personnel in Iraq. In one case, Blackwater guards were involved in a Sept. 16 shootout that left 11 Iraqis dead. The FBI is investigating, and Democrats in Congress want to update a law that has kept Blackwater and other private security contractors in Iraq immune to criminal prosecution.

yes, that blackwater, the one that is under investigation for its drunken recklessness and shoot-first-ask-questions-later attitude.

the fact that a congressional candidate works for a scandal-prone mercenary firm—though minor disagrees with the term "mercenary"—even if, or i should say especially if he claims to work for the state department, seems like a pretty important detail to me. so how did that detail come to be left out of the south bend tribune article? did wensits simply not ask who cuts minor's paychecks, taking his claim of working for the state dept at face value? did wensits know about the blackwater connection and yet leave it out of the article for some reason? or did an editor remove that fact before the article was released to the public? we'll probably never know, and it doesn't really matter now that the real facts are out there.

still, it was awful convenient for minor that the name of his extremely controversial employer was left out of the first article that announced his candidacy, the one all the blogs linked to. though, i'm not sure that even working for blackwater would be a strike against him with the kind of voter who considers mike pence to be "the pride and joy of the conservative movement."

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