The on-going war in Iraq has been a war that has changed the tactics in which war is fought. The war in Iraq has been fought mainly through the use of aerial missiles and by surprise, a large number of women. This current war has demonstrated the change of times and the rise of the information age. But the most surprising aspect of the war in Iraq is the large sum of private security forces patrolling Iraq. These private security forces have amassed to around 20,000 soldiers so far in the Iraqi region and growing. Their role according to a New York Times article, is in addition to guarding innumerable reconstruction projects, private companies are being asked to provide security for the chief of the Coalition Provisional Authority, L. Paul Bremer, and other senior officials; to escort supply convoys through hostile territory; and to defend key locations, including 15 regional authority headquarters and even the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad, the center of American power in Iraq. The private security forces are being thrown into situations in which some were not prepared for and have killed many insurgents. The private companies are not governed by any direct rule, therefore creating mass confusion on top of an already chaotic state. “Sorting out lines of authority and communication can be complex.” (www.globalpolicy.org). Many of the security guards are hired as independent contractors by a subcontracted company, that in turn was hired by the prime contractor, who is paid by the United States. With more than 20,000 private security forces in Iraq currently and no guidelines to direct them, there is confusion among coalition, Iraqi, and insurgent soldiers.
The rules that have been set forth by the United States to the private security forces are much of a blur once you land in Iraq. If you were to land in Iraq today, there is a great chance that you would encounter a private security guard. There is also a great chance you will see these private security guards in combat action against insurgents. Patrick Toohey, the vice president for government relations at Blackwater, one of the private security forces in Iraq, has stated that the role of security guard and soldier is being blurred. The security guards at Blackwater have been shot at many times and have in turn shot and killed many insurgents in Iraq. Most recently, the company has lost four men in an encounter with insurgents on a convoy mission. There needs to be set rules of engagement for these private security forces and rules in which govern responsibility over the security guards. With the private security companies waiting for the American government to dictate the rules of engagement and the responsibilities of their “guards”, most companies are hiring their own philosophers to develop individual doctrines for there employees in Iraq. BLACKWATER INC.
When discussing the ethical responsibility of U.S. military contractors, it is important to identify the private military contractor firms employing them. There are many of these for-profit companies to list; DynCorp, Military Professional Resources Inc., Aviation Development Corp., Halliburton, but the activities of one company in particular, Blackwater USA, are, as of late, the most prominent.
Blackwater USA consists of four companies: Blackwater Training Center, Target Systems Security Consulting, K-9, and Air. These four sections cater to the Department of Defense, State, and Transportation, as well as have clients all over the globe. Self described as the most comprehensive private tactical training facility in the United States, Blackwater USA’s mission is to “keep their clients at the level of readiness required to meet today's law enforcement, homeland security, and defense challenges” (blackwaterusa.com). Founded by ex-Navy Seal Erik D. Prince in 1996 (Yeoman), Blackwater USA has become and increasingly large force in the war in Iraq, making up a hefty portion of the...