The documents sketch, in vivid detail, a critical change in the way America wages war: the early days of the Iraq war, with all its Wild West chaos, ushered in the era of the private contractor, wearing no uniform but fighting and dying in battle, gathering and disseminating intelligence and killing presumed insurgents.
There have been many abuses, including civilian deaths, to the point that the Afghan government is working to ban many outside contractors entirely.
The archive, which describes many episodes never made public in such detail, shows the multitude of shortcomings with this new system: how a failure to coordinate among contractors, coalition forces and Iraqi troops, as well as a failure to enforce rules of engagement that bind the military, endangered civilians as well as the contractors themselves. The military was often outright hostile to contractors, for being amateurish, overpaid and, often, trigger-happy.
Contractors often shot with little discrimination — and few if any consequences — at unarmed Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces, American troops and even other contractors, stirring public outrage and undermining much of what the coalition forces were sent to accomplish.
I'll let you read the article and the well-documented atrocities committed by these private contractors. But I only offer these latest revelations to make a point I've been making on this blog for years now: privatizing war, killing, prisons and a host of other government-mandated tasks is something we should be working to stop at all costs.
This is simply welfare for weekend warriors, private prison guards, and other wannabes who simply can't cut it in the professional world of military/corrections. And as the article makes clear, this is what happens when we funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to private companies, outside the purvey of government oversight.
As a former contractor, who quit over the things he saw, described it: the things people will do to each other when no one is watching and no one cares.