From Ralph Peters in the New York Post


“The lawless actions of mercenaries on steroids undercut the progress made at such great cost by our troops.

Last weekend, a convoy ferrying nervous-Nellie diplomats (do we have any other kind?) panicked. The guards, employed by Blackwater, shot the hell out of civilians going about their business in downtown Baghdad.
Nine dead, two dozen wounded.
Given what we know now, it looks like a war crime.
It’s bewildering that our anti-war crowd, while anxious to discredit our troops with lies, ignores the very real depredations of trigger-happy contractors – who don’t answer to military discipline.
How did we get to this?
Both Democrats and Republicans under-funded our ground forces for so long that, faced with the demands of counterinsurgency warfare and the occupation of a major country, we just didn’t have the numbers or the resources to do the job with soldiers and Marines.
So the Bush administration “outsourced” the work to thugs, vultures and cons. We wasted billions. And virtually every major contract to rebuild Iraq has failed to meet its goals.
And corporations that fail face no penalty. They just get new contracts.
Certainly, some contractors play constructive roles – feeding our troops, driving trucks and even providing passive security (such as checking IDs in the Green Zone). But when we turn loose armed-to-the-teeth psychos who can’t be prosecuted, we get into trouble.

And that’s no exaggeration. Thanks to a rule our diplomats insisted on, contractors who kill can’t be tried in Iraq. And, thanks to legal loopholes, they’re unlikely to face a single day in jail back home.

Iraq’s government responded to last weekend’s bloodshed by ordering Blackwater out of the country. Now our diplomats are bullying Iraqi officials to let the company stay.

We should all be on the Iraqi side on this one. If we want a rule-of-law Iraq, the law must apply to U.S. contractors, too.
This is a big issue because, time and again, contractor shoot-’em-ups have either turned back the clock on local progress or triggered greater problems. Blackwater also gave us the cowboys who got lynched in downtown Fallujah in early 2004 – prompting an ordered-by-the-White-House response that defined the entire year.
Does the U.S. government really want to employ mercenaries? And sorry – if you take money to bear arms for a private corporation, you’re a mercenary. If you want to bear arms, enlist (or stay in). “