Contractor Fatalities Soar in Iraq
New numbers show soaring increases in civilian casualties, even as the troop presence rises
By Ben Worthen,  Newser User
Posted May 19, 2007 9:13 AM CDT
(FILES) Members of the US private security company Blackwater...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Private contractors have been killed  in Iraq in record numbers this year, the New York Times reports, as the deployment of U.S. forces in outside the Green Zone amps up the danger for both soldiers and civilians. Through March, there were at least 146 killed, compared to 224 troops during the same period.

Contractors, from private security to truck drivers, make up a "shadow army" nearly as large as the current military presence. Civilian casualties are mounting in part, one analyst said, because  “the insurgents are going after the softest targets, and the contractors are softer targets than the military.”