With a record in Iraq of uncontrolled violence as a U.S. security contractor, NC-based Blackwater Worldwide decided it needed a facelift, as if a name-change would wash away its record. Bzzzzzt.


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.)

...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.

I don't think it would be a surprise to you that the Iraqi government has decided not to renew its contract with the firm.