I missed the news earlier today that Blackwater’s security contractors have now been banned in Iraq. This will probably serve to make American policy in Iraq even less sustainable if the ban is enforced, but it’s a no-brainer on the merits. As Mark Kleiman explains: “Blackwater’s fighters-for-hire aren’t subject to military discipline, which excludes them from the protections of the Geneva Conventions. They’re exempt from prosecution in Iraq under rules left over from CPA days. And recklessly killing people in Iraq violates no U.S. domestic law.”
Letting people like that wander around the country was a kind of criminal negligence on the part of the Iraqi government and the fact that it took years for this measure to get enacted is fairly shocking. Nevertheless, though Blackwater is the highest-profile contracting firm involved in Iraq, I don’t think they’re the only one and such unaccountable mercenaries haven’t been banned in toto. That that hasn’t happened, and that the CPA-era immunity hasn’t been repealed, tells you a lot about the imperial character of this venture.