America to Double Civilian Force in Iraq

Security contractors to swell to 7K
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2010 5:42 AM CDT
America to Double Civilian Force in Iraq
Private security contractors in Baghdad.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

(Newser) – The US military may be rolling out of Iraq, but American civilians are not. To protect its outposts, the State Department plans to double the number of private security guards on the ground, finds the New York Times. As many as 7,000 guards will search for roadside bombs, fly reconnaissance drones, and continue training Iraqi police. “We need strategic patience here,” says a former US ambassador to Iraq. “Our timetables are getting out ahead of Iraqi reality."

"I don’t think State has ever operated on its own, independent of the US military, in an environment that is quite as threatening on such a large scale,” said another former ambassador. But, notes Fox News, the contractors won't be entirely on their own—some 50,000 US troops are staying behind through the end of 2011 to train Iraqi forces. (Click here to read about al-Qaeda in Iraq's post-withdrawal plans.)

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