Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blackwater Ordered Out of Iraq

The Iraqi government has ordered hundreds of private security personnel linked to Blackwater Worldwide to leave the country. This decision came after a U.S. judge dismissed the case against five Blackwater employees for killing 17 Iraqis in September 2007; many of those killed were women and children. This decision to dismiss a criminal case of this magnitude does nothing but further tarnish Iraqi-American relations and increase anti-American sentiments. Vice-president Biden, however, has assured the Iraqi government that the Obama administration will seek justice.

The actions of the Blackwater employees illuminate the problem with these military contractors, who in the facade of performing their job will go to any end. One of the main criticisms against these private military contractors is the fact that it is not clear how they are held accountable for their actions. It is not clear whether they are to be tried by U.S. law or the law of the countries they are operating in. Being positioned in "legal limbo" gives them a false sense that they are above the law, and thus not accountable for whatever heinous act they might commit. Companies like Blackwater have become private-corporate extensions of the Pentagon, and this can prove to be a frightening prospect. They are not termed as part of the U.S. military (even though they clearly represent a military agenda), and are free to do business as a private company.

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