They have nothing more to keep them in a battle other than a meager wage, which is just about enough to make them want to kill for you, but not enough to make them want to die for you. — John Cale, Mercenaries (Ready For War)Yesterday the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia upheld a district court's dismissal of a defamation lawsuit against Randi Rhodes and her employer, the liberal radio outfit Air America.
Rhodes and the network were sued for defamation by CACI Premier Technology, one of the military contractors the Bush administration hired to "interrogate" prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.
During August 2005, Rhodes made a number of statements on her program derived almost entirely from reputable press sources and particularly reports issued by the U.S. government and other observations made by several of its elected representatives.
What's interesting is that Rhodes's statements (there are 13 separate statements at issue, reproduced on pages 10 through 17 of the opinion) are largely sympathetic to U.S. troops and their commanders stationed in Iraq, but rather harshly critical of the administration's policy of hiring contractors and especially the contractors themselves, who she refers to throughout as "mercenaries" and "hired killers."
Indeed, Rhodes's remarks read like a near-total exoneration of the U.S. military, laying the blame for the Abu Ghraib fiasco at the feet of civilian leadership and contracted mercenaries who, as she reminds us, will fight for whichever side is paying the highest dollar.
So much for the constant accusations from the political right that Randi Rhodes and other like-minded critics of the Bush administration's adventures in Iraq are not supporting the troops.
CACI Premier Technology v. Rhodes (.pdf; 38 pgs.)