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August 22, 2008

About Those SOFA Negotiations
Posted by Michael Cohen

Apparently the one area of agreement in the SOFA negotiations is revoking legal immunity for private security contractors from Iraqi law. It's not a good idea. In today's WSJ I try to explain why:

Nearly a year after the tragic shooting of 17 Iraqis by Blackwater security contractors, the Department of Justice is close to indicting six of the guards involved in the horrific events. This is a long overdue step toward holding contractors legally responsible for their actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But this positive move risks being overshadowed by a more destabilizing development: the apparent agreement, as part of U.S.-Iraqi Status of Forces Agreement negotiations, to revoke the immunity from Iraqi law that private security contractors have enjoyed since 2003. This decision could place diplomats, Iraqi civilians and PSCs at greater risk, and undermine the U.S. mission in Iraq. More must be done to hold security contractors accountable for their actions -- but this is not the way to do it.

Read the whole piece here:

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Comments

Do you mean to say that the Iraqis insist on holding employees of foreign corporations who slaughter Iraqi citizens,on the streets of their own country accountable. What nerve! what gall! Where do they get off pulling that sort of crap!

Of course the Justice Department has been pulled kicking and screaming for almost a year to reach this point and it would not have been allowed to go this far if Blackwater's corporate responsibility had not been taken off the table. I predict if, and it's a big if, indictments come down there will be at best a halfhearted attempt to gain convictions.

As for the SOFA, the U.S. couldn't care less what the Iraqis do to the Peruvian, Chilean or Fijian former commando personnel employed by the Blackwaters, Triple Canopy's and Dyncorps of the world. The money will always assure a steady supply of these cut rate hired guns. The U.S. will of course always spirit out any of the much smaller number of U.S. nationals accused of serious wrong doing keeping them out of the reach of Iraqi justice.

I don't mean this to be a put down of the foreign nationals who work for PSCs, many seem to be generally appalled by the actions of their western counterparts. It's just a comment on their complete expendability and the disposable nature of all TCN's employed by the U.S. in Iraq.

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