Maybe Blackwater founder Erik Prince really is a "Christian crusader" protected by God, because a judge throwing out what seemed like a rock-solid case against five mercenaries for the manslaughter of 14 unarmed civilians is nothing short of a miracle.

The company—now called Xe, because high-scoring Scrabble consonants are great way to tell the public "we're not just depraved killers for hire"—released a statement Friday afternoon hailing the decision, which Judge Ricardo Urbina made based not on the merits of the case, but on an immunity deal the State Department gave some employees.

"The whole thing has been but a farce," said an Iraqi man whose son and wife were killed. The Justice Department's prosecutors are "disappointed" and "considering our options," but when you're pursuing a monstrously wealthy corporation with a megalomaniacal leader that exists in a no-man's land of lawlessness with minimal oversight, your options are somewhat limited. Just for fun, let's take a stroll down Blackwater memory lane. From affidavits The Nation published in August:

The AP ends its write-up on the manslaughter dismissal by noting that Blackwater's Iraq contracts have not been renewed. Which is great, but the problem isn't just Blackwater (loathsome as it is)—it's that we have given some of the most critical and potentially destructive jobs in the world to people we have, time and again, discovered we cannot hold accountable, even for mass murder. [AFP] [AP] [Nation]