There are no shortage of reasons for ending America's use of private security forces in war zones. Indeed, the Iraqi government formally ejected Blackwater, the lightning rod of the industry, from the country after an investigation found that employees were responsible for the 2007 murder of 17 Iraqi civilians. More recently, another firm was accused of serious misconduct in Afghanistan. Yet Blackwater, since renamed Xe, remains on the government's payroll and the U.S. just temporarily extended its contract to provide aerial support in Iraq. Unsurprisingly, the blogosphere has reacted severely, albeit in starkly different ways, to the news.
- History Repeats Itself Well before the contract extension was announced, Scott Horton at Harper’s was deeply concerned about the current administration’s unwillingness to sever its ties with Xe. “The Obama Administration appears to be cruising on autopilot, neither taking the time to reconsider what its predecessor did nor taking corrective measures.”
- Blame the Secretary of State says Jeremy Scahill, author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army," Schahill recalls then-candidate Hilary denouncing and pledging to ban Blackwater on the 2008 campaign trail. Now, holding her to her own words, he asks Secretary of State Clinton directly why she’s changed her tune: "If you thought in February of 2008 that the ‘time to show these contractors the door is long past due,’ what time is it now?"
- The End of the Republic writes Capt. Fogg at The Swash Zone. His theory is predicated on the Project On Government Oversight's recently released report of “lewd and deviant” behavior by AmorGroup, a separate security company operating in Afghanistan. Fearing a not-so-distant future in which private contractors outnumber the military, Fogg calls for a full-withdrawal. "If we cannot raise sufficient troops to maintain our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, we need to get out now, because the presence of heavily armed, privately owned military forces loyal to who knows whom in the United States may be the biggest threat to national survival since the Civil War."
- The Devil You Know According to Michael Hussey at Pushing Rope, it doesn't really matter that the Obama Administration is continuing to employ Xe because the company set to replace it, DynCorp International, isn't any better. "The Defense Department is switching to DynCorp because they are a less offensive name brand to progressives and the media. DynCorp has the same level of corruption and incompetence." To be clear, Hussey would rather not have the government relying on any private military contractors, but reminds readers that Obama the candidate was upfront about his intention to continue this policy.
- It's A Tough Job, But Someone's Gotta Do It Meanwhile, the Confederate Yankee says that Obama is right to keep using Xe because "the simple fact of the matter is that they're the best ogranization for the job," freeing up the military to concentrate on "the mission" instead of guarding government officials. He also wants readers to know that the supposed sinister organization is actually made up of multiple, distinct branches that provide many other services in addition to their much-maligned security detail.