The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

"a couple guys do some things that were questionable.."

We've all seen the massacres and crimes and atrocities that some US forces have committed in Iraq and Afghanistan--as inevitably as members of every occupying power before them.

But as this article in today's Washington Post makes clear, what's perhaps even more worrying are the actions of the 20,000 or so private security contractors in Iraq, who fall under no legal system whatsoever and a few of whom apparently like to get their kicks by taking target practice on elderly taxi drivers. (It's also worth noting the racist employment policies of the security companies: American nationals get paid $600 a day, "third state" nationals, that is non-American, non-Iraqis, get paid..$70.)

I remember a journalist friend, who had gone to live in Baghdad from pretty much day one of the invasion, telling me years ago about contractors killing Iraqi civilians--and each other!--pretty indiscriminately. I've always wondered why the batallion of contractors in Iraq and their actions wasn't a bigger story.