Congress is prepared to take new action ensuring the United States military exerts control over the actions of private contractors in Iraq and elsewhere. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, said Congress will insert such provisions in the 2008 defense spending bill. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has already moved to implement new rules for private guards which will specify how and when they can use force in carrying out their duties. However, so far, she has not accepted the desire of many members of Congress that private contractors should be placed under control of the United States military. Levin was firm in insisting new language will be inserted into the defense spending bill, “whether she likes it or not.”
The entire matter of allowing private contractors to conduct their own war activities is a first in American history. The emergence of private war activities stems from the nation’s failure to implement a draft system if it desires engaging in wars. The private contractors today do work that was performed by members of the armed forces in World War II or Korea or Vietnam. No one ever heard any tales of erratic behavior on the part of Seabees in World War II. For some reason, they didn’t go around shooting civilians.
Posted in Democrats, Human Rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Politics, Republicans, War, World News
Tagged congress, Private Contractors, Rice, Seabees, Senator Levin
Families of Iraqis who died in a shooting involving Blackwater USA sued the company charging it violated US law and encouraged a culture of lawlessness among its employees. The Center for Constitutional Rights which brought the suit on behalf of the families charged, “Blackwater has turned lawlessness into profit at the expense of the lives of innocent civilians.” Seventeen Iraqis died in the September 16th shooting. The lawsuit charges Blackwater should be held responsible for assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision of its personnel. The FBI is currently conducting an investigation of the shooting.
Iraqi officials claim Blackwater’s license to operate in iraq expired on June 2, 2006 and therefore it no longer has immunity against lawsuits. There is something wrong with an American military operation in which private companies can operate with impunity against law. In prior American wars, the military handled construction activities or provided security, but under the Bush program of privatizing war, the corporate world now occupies a prominent role in warfare. One can only wonder how secure fighting men and women feel when mercenaries are protecting them and bringing supplies instead of well trained soldiers. In WWII, the famous and outstanding Seabees handled construction and won universal praise for their work. Perhaps, it’s time to bring back the Seabees.
Posted in Human Rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Blackwater, civilian deaths, Iraq, lawsuits, Seabees