Blackwater Ban Puts US Military in a Bind

With a rep for brutality, the security firm has enjoyed 'carte blanche'
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2007 7:03 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Iraqi crackdown on Blackwater, the private security firm implicated in Sunday’s killing of 8 civilians in Baghdad, draws attention to the lack of control the US military exerts over the 20,000 contractors who work for them in the country.  Blackwater guards are the most feared of the contractors, the Los Angeles Times reports, with a reputation for firing weapons without compunction—even at other American contractors.

Admitting to a “big hole” in American policy, US diplomats confirm that the private firms sometimes  act as though they have “carte blanche.” Now they must decide whether Maliki’s call for justice trumps the blanket immunity granted the contractors in 2003; the PM has already revoked the firm’s license. No private security officer has yet been prosecuted in the US or Iraq.