Thursday, October 25, 2007

Buh-bye to Order 17

Yesterday the Iraqi government revoked the Coalition Provisional Authority's decree that US contractors be granted immunity from prosecution in Iraq. This decree, also known as Order 17, had been one of Paul Bremer's last acts as he left Baghdad in 2004, and has protected firms, such as Blackwater, from prosecution for criminal actions.

Article 1 of Section 2 of CPA order 17 issued by then US administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, stipulates that the "multinational force, foreign liaison missions, their personnel, property, funds and assets and all international consultants shall be immune from Iraqi legal process."

As a side note, I can't help but think of the irony of US contractors demanding they shouldn't be subjected to Iraqi law while in Iraq, while at the same time, people in the US are screeching about how terrible migrants are for not respecting our sovereign borders.

If our goal is for Iraq to be a sovereign nation, then we MUST follow their laws. Period. Why is there any question? Remember the phrase, "when Iraqi's step up, we'll step down". Well? Maybe it's time to start stepping down. In fact, they probably will once they realize they will be subject to a law other than their own.

One of the problems with depending as heavily on contractors as we have in Iraq is that they're not the military, and can not be controlled in the same way. Contractors can just up and leave whenever they decide it's no longer in their best financial interest to be there. They are different people, with different missions and different priorities, but the US government has put us in a position of dependency upon for-profit private military contractor. That was incredibly stupid, if you ask me, but they think the free market provides the answers for everything. Guess what. It doesn't.

In other Blackwater related news, the NY Times has an article today about Blackwater's bunker mentality after the September shootings in Nisour Square. Coincidentally, or not, I noticed the leader of the convoy at that Baghdad square was someone named Hoss. I'm wishing I had my copy of Jeremy Scahill's book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, but I loaned it to someone. That nickname sounds very familiar.

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