Monday, August 21, 2006

Mercenaries and the rule of law

Mercenaries hired by the US in Iraq operate outside the law. They are not governed by US law, US military law and they are immune to Iraqi law (this was granted by the Coalition Provisional Authority). Therefore, when four "security contractors" were killed and hung from a bridge in Fallujah, I had no sympathy for them. Those who operate outside the law are fair game for anyone, in my opinion. After all, these guys can shoot anyone for any reason and get away with it.

Here is more on that utter lack of accountability (Paul Krugman in today's NYT) :

"To whom are such contractors accountable? Last week a judge threw out a jury's $10 million verdict against Custer Battles, a private contract that was hired, among other things, to provide security at Baghdad's airport. Custer Battles has become a symbol of the mix of cronyism, corruption and sheer amateurishness that doomed the Iraq adventure - and the judge didn't challenge the jury's finding that the company engaged in blatant fraud.

But he ruled that the civil fraud suit agains the company lacked a legal basis, because as far as he could tell, the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, wasn't "an instrumentality of the US government". It wasn't created by an act of Congress; it wasn't a branch of the State Department or of any other established agency."

A little knock here, a scratch there, a sledgehammer elsewhere, thus does this Administration demolish the Republic.