A State Dept. Band-Aid for Blackwater Problem
The State Department will implement new measures to guard against a repeat of last month’s Blackwater slaughter of 17 Iraqi civilians, but some of the new rules, including more cultural awareness training, feel like a Band-Aid on a serious head wound. In addressing this issue, the Iraqi government has chosen to make a point of its sovereignty, and so far the U.S. has done little to allay the Iraqi concerns.
By requiring more oversight in the form of video cameras and the presence of State Department security officials, the new policy at least acknowledges that there is a problem. But if you need security to monitor your private security, the system is probably beyond repair.
The steps include tightening the state department’s rules of engagement so they are line with the military’s.
Contractors will also have to undergo improved cultural awareness training.
There will also be better co-ordination with the US military and tighter restrictions on the use of force.
Boards will be set up to investigate any future killings involving private contractors in Iraq, and will have the power to refer cases to the US justice department.