Thursday, January 25, 2007

If it looks like a soldier…

After a day of all out war in Baghdad, the story leads with: US-led forces were fighting gunbattles in the heart of Baghdad today in an effort to crush militant hideouts, a day after President George Bush told the US Congress failure in Iraq was not an option.

But further into the story we have more reason to argue that private contractors should be recognised along with military personnel:

Security sources said a small private security helicopter that came down just across the Tigris River during clashes nearby yesterday was forced down after the pilot was shot dead.

Three others aboard the aircraft, which had been guarding a diplomatic convoy on the ground, may have been shot on landing, they said. A fifth person on a second helicopter was also shot dead.

Gunmen opened fire on the motorcade of Iraq's higher education minister on a highway in southern Baghdad today, killing one of his guards and seriously wounding another, the minister said.

Associated Press reported that five Americans were killed in the crash, citing an unnamed U.S. official in Baghdad. The helicopter was operated by private U.S. security company Blackwater. Before Tuesday's crash, at least 22 employees of Blackwater Security Consultants or Blackwater USA had died in Iraq as a result of war-related violence.

However you add it up, these non military personnel are carrying out military type operations in a conflict zone. They are subject to the same dangers as their military counterparts confirming that the real estimate of personnel is closer to 250,000. Those numbers set the framework Congress should be making decisions on; those numbers and the attempt to hide them.


romunov said...

A related post at The impolitic.

I once read (watched?) a coverage from NO, when someone heart a Blackwater security guard talk about his salary. It was enormagantulan, but I don't remember the correct number.

Cartledge said...

Thanks for that link rom.
On the other issue, I'm less concerned about why they are there - the money - than the fact that they are simply not counted into the effective deployment, private or otherwise.