Rein in the Private Contractor Army in Iraq
Although the media has rarely covered this, the number of American troops on the ground in Iraq are nearly matched by the number of private security contractors, who number over 100,000. These contractors, from companies such as Blackwater, claim not to be subject to US law when acting oversees. This was seen most clearly in recent weeks when Blackwater employees opened fire on innocent Iraqi civilians with impunity.
Such action does enormous damage to our reputation in Iraq and increases the likelihood of violence against our troops. This week the House passed a bill to change this, and now Senate action is required for it to become law. Email your Senators and ask them to support legislation that makes it clear that US law applies to all armed contractors stationed abroad. This is a small but necessary step to ensure our ideals match our rhetoric.
One of the core elements of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, if this is something we still aim to do, is to demonstrate our commitment to the rule of law both home and abroad. Yet private security contractors like those from Blackwater seem to act without restraint and do enormous damage to our reputation in Iraq. As your constituent, I urge you to immediately seek to pass legislation similar to H.R. 369 that would ensure US law covers all armed contractors abroad. If it is illegal for us at home to act with unprovoked aggression, it must also be illegal in our actions overseas.
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