Monday, September 17, 2007

Surge Protectors

Seems our allies in Baghdad have had enough of mercenaries, unaccountable to anyone, pushing civilians around with impunity. Imagine that.

The Iraqi government said Monday that it was revoking the license of an American security firm accused of involvement in the deaths of eight civilians in a firefight that followed a car bomb explosion near a State Department motorcade.

The Interior Ministry said it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force in the Sunday shooting. It was the latest accusation against the U.S.-contracted firms that operate with little or no supervision and are widely disliked by Iraqis who resent their speeding motorcades and forceful behavior.

Oh, come on. Who would have a problem with being treated like third-class citizens in their own country by secretive corporate paramilitary thugs?

Of the many scandalous precedents set by this war, the sheer scale of PMC involvement -- and again, their utter lack of accountability under either civil law or the UCMJ -- may potentially be the worst. The ceding of civil authority to a bunch of heavily-armed rental soldiers would be unacceptable here (one hopes). What makes anyone think it'd be any different anywhere else, particularly in a country that has already been violently chafing under the more conventional aspects of occupation?

If the Maliki government chooses to push the issue -- and they have every political reason to do so -- it could drive a real wedge in even the illusory surge gains Bush has been frantically trying to sell us on. Even more worrisome is how the enhanced presence of mercenaries underscores the real problem of personnel issues, that manpower is really just being shuffled around.

It's a huge shell game, and considering that PMCs now rival actual military service personnel in numbers and presence, if not conditions of deployment, this becomes a test of the Iraqi government's sovereignty. Because they're going to want to prosecute the Judge Dredds in the SUV convoy, and Blackwater is going to try to hide behind the agreements it signed with the U.S. government. And if they're gone, and the rest of the PMC guys are out, the landscape suddenly, drastically changes.

I'm not sure what sort of moral cretin would continue to remain willfully obtuse on this issue, but it's a very real one, and regardless of how much Erik Prince and the DeVos family and the rest of the entrenched Michigan mafia bankrolls the GOP, it needs to be addressed. Private military contracting, without sufficient oversight, has very dangerous ramifications for this country, as well as the unfortunate beneficiaries of our "help".

1 comment:

Uncle Sam McWhitey said...

We hear nothing but how horrible life is in New Texas (pending retitling of territory currently referred to as Iraq), and then when a few of our noble, courageous, and extremely manly Blackwater mercenari...erm, security engineers... liberate a few civilians from the tyrrany of life, all we get is complain, complain, least I assume they're complaining, their horrid guttural gibberish all sounds like clicks, whistles and various stages of throat-clearing to me. Damned dusky savages. If not for my gout, I'd go give 'em what for, I tell you.