Contractor Armies Thrive in Iraq

180,000 civilians working in legal limbo
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2007 5:49 AM CDT
A portion of the new U.S. embassy under construction is seen from across the Tigris river in Baghdad, Saturday, May 19, 2007. The new $592 million embassy occupies a chunk of prime Baghdad real estate...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A private army of occupation in Iraq—mechanics, construction workers, translators, bodyguards, and other civilian contractors—is increasing in numbers keeping pace with the troop surge, the Christian Science Monitor reports. As many as 180,000 private contractors in Iraq, most of them not US nationals, currently work in legal limbo, with little oversight or support.

"This is a very murky legal space and we haven't dealt with the fundamental issues," saysd a foreign policy specialist. Most private contractors hail from countries as varied as Scotland, Brazil, Hungary, Pakistan and Australia. The military acknowledges their usefulness, but some officials fear the use of private contractors has gone too far.