It is interesting to see that the Grand Jury investigation into the Sep 16 shootings by Blackwater continues. What is equally interesting is that following the rush of knee-jerk reactions in Congress to throw legislation at the problem that ‘closed the loophole’ by including contractors to the State Department to the Military Jurisdiction Expeditionary Act, which apparently meant that all contractors would now be covered and accountable under US law. Unfortunately, having satisfied themselves that all was now right with the world, the politicians and their staffs wrenched their arms out of their sockets patting themselves on the back for a job well done….if only that were so.
Everything done to date on the matter of misuse of force by private military companies has the whiff of politics – of too-little too-late and knee-jerk response. If the government and the Congress are to face up to this problem properly, they need to put in place a regime that creates hurdles for entry, based on a clear set of professional standards, and then enforce those standards through licensing and audits.
The problem here is not simply that Blackwater USA’s personnel killed three guards. Even more troubling is the fact that the State Department, in not addressing such incidents, was tacitly endorsing and therefore facilitating a culture among its security details that placed no premium on life.