Blackwater Is Dead! Long Live … Xe?

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This should do the trick.

Blackwater Worldwide, the contractor that emerged over the last few years as Exhibit A for ugly Americans in Iraq, has decided that the best response is to … change its name.

And check out the name they picked: “Xe.” (Apparently it’s pronounced like the letter ‘Z.’ Raising the question: Why not just call it “Z”?)

They’ve also renamed Blackwater Lodge & Training Center, the subsidiary that does much of their controversial overseas operations. It’s now the “U.S. Training Center Inc.” (Which doesn’t exactly mesh with “Xe,” but whatever.)

According to the Associated Press, Blackwater (or should we say “Xe”?) president Gary Jackson said in a memo to employees, announcing the changes, that they reflect a shift in the company’s focus away from private security and toward operating training facilities around the world.

You can see how “Xe” would be the obvious name to reflect such a shift.

It’s not hard to guess why Blackwater (or wait, Xe) wants to get out of the private security business. In 2007, Blackwater guards opened fire in a Baghdad square, killing 17 Iraqis. Five ex-Blackwater guards were charged with voluntary manslaughter and are awaiting trial.

And recently, thanks largely to that incident and other cases where Blackwater has been accused of using excessive force, the Iraqi government declined to renew the company’s contract to operate in the country. Soon after, the State Department announced that, in any case, it wouldn’t renew Blackwater’s contract to operate in Iraq.

No word yet on whether Iraq and State will reconsider now that that the company is called “Xe.”

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