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There's yet more egg on the faces of hired contractors paid to guard US officials in the Middle East -- this time in Afghanistan, where ArmorGroup guards are under scrutiny by the State Department for their allegedly undiplomatic antics at their private quarters near the U Embassy in Kabul.

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The folks at Blackwater and other private security outfits in Iraq encountered a dramatic setback Wednesday after an Iraqi minister announced that private guards will no longer be given immunity from U.S military and Iraqi law, ending more than five years of unregulated mercenary violence in the country.

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Two women were shot and killed on Tuesday when private security contractors guarding a convoy of four cars in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood opened fire on the women's Oldsmobile as it moved toward the convoy. Unfortunately, it was not the day's only violent episode in Iraq. According to The Washington Post, a series of bombings claimed at least 34 lives in and around Baghdad.

Robert Scheer

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How did it come to be that the ostensibly best-educated and most refined representatives of the United States in Iraq are guarded by gun-toting mercenaries who kill innocent civilians? More urgently, why did State Department employees and their bosses in Washington tolerate -- and pay to conceal -- the wanton murder conducted on their watch?

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