Debate: Blackwater and Contracting Out for Military Services!

Dear Commons Community,

The New York Times blog today raises the question about the role of contractors in our military operations. This comes on the heels of the conviction last week of four Blackwater Worldwide guards in the slaughter of 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007, that upheld that private contractors whom the government has come to rely on in war zones can no longer act with impunity. Since that attack, stricter guidelines have been adopted for private guards overseas. The question raised in the blog is:

“Does the government need to do more to change the way it uses private security contractors who do jobs soldiers once did? A sample of some of the replies:

“We want a military that takes combat as its priority. But even outside of combat, deadly force ought to be reserved for government forces.” Kori Schake, Hoover Institute

The extensive use of contractors, particularly in intelligence and surveillance, makes it possible to carelessly pursue wars on the sly. Tim Shorrock is the author of “Spies for Hire, The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing.”

Contractors remain an intrinsic part of the government’s overseas operations, but now they have higher standards and accountability. Kateri Carmola is the author of “Private Military Contractors and New Wars: Risk, Law & Ethics.”

I am definitely on the side of Schake and Shorrock, who would rather not see the contracting out of our military operations. Establishing another profit motive for going to war will only breed more war.



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