Friday, October 5, 2007

WSJ on Blackwater

The Wall Street journal has an editorial today on the (manufactured) Blackwater controversy. It goes over much of the ground I've been covering recently, and makes some good observations on the need to clarify the legal status of private security companies. Key paragraphs:

From General Petraeus's perspective, by taking on critical but peripheral security functions, Blackwater employees and other firms' contractors free the U.S. military to focus on more productive missions, such as securing Baghdad's neighborhoods. If contractors didn't perform these functions, the U.S. military deployment in Iraq would have to be even larger than it is. This relationship is a far cry from the Capitol Hill spin that President Bush has unilaterally Rambo-ized the U.S. military.

The legal status of these workers needs to be clarified, and the Senate ought to take a deeper look than the 24 hours of non-thought the House gave the issue. We doubt putting them under civilian court jurisdiction makes much sense; investigations would be arduous. There is logic in putting the contractors closer to the military's legal system. These people by and large are mature troops who served in elite special ops units in military conflicts from the Gulf War to Bosnia. They know the existing rules.

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