Well Well Well, looky here, found over at the MoJo blog.
Military Contractors Lose Their "Get Out of Jail" Card
Five years into the war on terror, American military contractors have finally lost some of their immunity from prosecution for dirty deeds done on the federal dime.
They now can be Court Martialed.
This means that if contractors violate the rules of engagement in a warzone or commit crimes during a contingency operation like Iraq, they can now be court-martialed (as in, Corporate Warriors, meet A Few Good Men). On face value, this appears to be a step forward for realistic accountability. Military contractor conduct can now be checked by the military investigation and court system, which unlike civilian courts, is actually ready and able both to understand the peculiarities of life and work in a warzone and kick into action when things go wrong.
The addition of five little words to a massive US legal code that fills entire shelves at law libraries wouldn't normally matter for much. But with this change, contractors' 'get out of jail free' card may have been torn to shreds. Previously, contractors would only fall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, better known as the court martial system, if Congress declared war. This is something that has not happened in over 65 years and out of sorts with the most likely operations in the 21st century. The result is that whenever our military officers came across episodes of suspected contractor crimes in missions like Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, or Afghanistan, they had no tools to resolve them. As long as Congress had not formally declared war, civilians -- even those working for the US armed forces, carrying out military missions in a conflict zone -- fell outside their jurisdiction. The military's relationship with the contractor was, well, merely contractual. At most, the local officer in charge could request to the employing firm that the individual be demoted or fired. If he thought a felony occurred, the officer might be able to report them on to civilian authorities.
Actually this is coming about Real Late in this Debacle! As these clowns have been doing as they please, including torture, killings, whatever, their ctions have put Military Personal in Extreme Danger! That danger comes from the Retaliations that Atrosities bring about as well as the Easier Recruitment of others to join in the Insurgency/Guerilla War trying to disingage the Occupiers from their Country!
It also leads to a Much Less Secure 'National Security', for not only this Country but any Considered Friendly Nations of!
Back when, the Vietnamese just wanted us Out, today it's a Continuation of the already long running Guerilla War, long before 9/11, that has been waged by the fanatical extreme 'Criminal Terrorist' for a veriaty of reasons but more like because of our Policies, on the Foreign Front, and the Support we have given to so called leaders in the Countries that Suppress their fellow Countries Citizens!
And for every story that has been deemed newsworthy, there are dozens that never see the spotlight. One US army officer recently told me of an incident he witnessed, where a contractor shot a young Iraqi who got too close to his vehicle while in line at the Green Zone entrance. The boy was waiting there to apply for a job. Not merely a tragedy, but one more nail in the coffin for any US effort at winning hearts and minds.
It's bad enough, for the troops, when one of their own Royally Screws Up, but to have High Paid Guns doin the Screwin it's Fanatical!!!
So what happens next? In all likelihood, many firms, who have so far thrived in the unregulated marketplace, will now lobby hard to try to strike down the change. We will perhaps even soon enjoy the sight of CEOs of military firms, preening about their loss of rights and how the new definition of warzone will keep them from rescuing kittens caught in trees.
Take a trip over and read the report, it's worth it.