Twitter users flare up as Blackwater contractors pardon by Trump

This combination made from file photo shows Blackwater guards, from left, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten and Paul Slough. © AP Photo

23 December, 2020

Outgoing President of United States, Donald Trump’s decision to pardon four Blackwater contractors involved in the 2007 slaughter of Iraqi civilians caused anger and resentment on Twitter.

President Donald Trump granted 15 full pardons and commuting the punishments of five convicts to time served.

They were serving lengthy prison terms, including a life sentence in one case, for the Nisour Square massacre, one of the most notorious episodes in the US’ military engagement in Iraq.

If we may recall 17 Iraqi civilians, including a child, were killed in Baghdad square in September 2007, when the US contractors opened fire on people with machine guns, sniper rifles, and grenade launchers. The investigation concluded that at least 14 of them were killed in an unprovoked attack perpetrated out by Blackwater military guards escorting a US Embassy convoy.

Four people were sentenced to various prison terms after a protracted legal battle. Nicholas Slatten, who was accused of opening fire first and triggering the attack on civilians, received a life sentence.

The news of the pardon was met with much anger across board, as public figures and ordinary commenters lashed out at Trump’s decision. Glenn Kirschner, a former US Army prosecutor who is now a legal analyst with MSNBC, said the president “killed justice” with his pardons.

Mark Hertling, a retired general who was involved in the 2007-08 troop surge, called the move “the most egregious and disgusting” of Trump’s actions. Politician Richard Ojeda, a retired mayor, said Blackwater contractors in Iraq were a bunch of “cowboys” who “caused trouble for us, active duty troops.”

Representative Ilhan Omar called the pardoned contractors “mercenaries” and “war criminals,” whose release “will leave a dark mark on the history of presidential pardons.”

Many called the Trump’s pardon appalling.

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