Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Civilian Contractors In Iraq

My problem with Blackwater and other civilian contractors performing quasi-military services in Iraq is not only the apparent lack of accountability for those contractors. I also worry about the responsibility the U.S. military, and the American public, might feel for the contractors. Lest we forget, in March 2004, four Blackwater contractors were killed in Fallujah. In response, the military began "Operation Vigilant Resolve" after President Bush was quoted as saying he wanted "heads to roll" for the slaying of the contractors. Operation Vigilant Resolve was a disaster. Pat Buchanan called the siege of Fallujah the "High Tide" of the American Empire. In essence, we took a major military defeat because the President felt a necessity to take military action in response to civilian casualties; even though those casualties were contractors performing military actions. I do not think the reaction to the deaths would have been so drastic if four Marines had been killed. This is war and we expect soldiers to be killed in war - but not civilians. Unless we can be certain that the military and the public will view contractors such as Blackwater as no more than tools for the war, and not civilians to be protected or avenged, we should not have them there.

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