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Sometimes a private option isn’t always the best one. While it is well documented how the powerful Blackwater USA private military organization was responsible for various atrocities in Iraq, sworn statements filed in a federal court in Virginia indicate that Blackwater founder Erik Prince (brother-in-law to Dick DeVos) instructed and orchestrated the murder of individuals who were planning on providing incriminating information to the federal government. Yes, the same Erik Prince who has given generous support to not only brother-in-law Dick DeVos, but gubernatorial hopeful Pete Hoekstra.

In a truly surreal description of events by two former Blackwater employees, whose identities are being kept secret to keep them safe from retaliation, their sworn statements describe activities from illegal smuggling of weapons into Iraq, hiring of guards who were not properly cleared by the State Department, blatant failure to report misconduct to the State Department, to the destruction of any incriminating evidence.

Meanwhile, as the debate rages on across the country over whether or not a public option for health care is a good thing, consider statement 12 by John Doe #2, who states that "Mr. Prince is motivated by greed. He sought every opportunity to deploy to Iraq in order to earn more money from the United States government. Mr. Prince and his top manager Gary Jackson knew the men being deployed were not suitable candidates for carrying lethal weaponry, but did not care because deployments meant more money." Those are harsh allegations, but if true, what is the lesson? The lesson is perhaps that sometimes there are some fundamental health and safety functions, such as keeping us healthy and keeping us safe, that should not be so perilously connected to private enterprise, whose only real objective is to increase profit. The lesson is perhaps that we cannot rely on corporate interests to police themselves, when doing so poses even the slightest harm of reducing profits. The lesson is long overdue.

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