More Private Forces Eyed for Iraq

“The U.S.-led authority in Iraq plans to spend as much as $100 million over 14 months to hire private security forces to protect the Green Zone, the four-square-mile area in Baghdad that houses most U.S. government employees and some of the private contractors working there.

The Green Zone is now guarded primarily by U.S. military forces, but the Coalition Provisional Authority wants to turn much of that work over to contractors to free more U.S. forces to confront a violent insurgency. The companies would employ former military personnel and be responsible for safeguarding the area for the first year after political authority is transferred to an interim Iraqi government on June 30.” —Washington Post

In other words, the US administration is paying the CPA to hire mercenaries to take the place of US troops in guarding our interests in Baghdad. I doubt it has as much to do with freeing up US forces to fight the insurgency elsewhere in Iraq as it does with facilitating the extrication of the US military from the quagmire in advance of the US presidential election. Not only will the administration be able to claim that the country had been pacified enough to allow withdrawals but the deaths of hired guns, some of them non-American, would be more palatable to the American electorate than ongoing troop losses. I also wonder if it also has something to do with the US not being accountable if the foreign fighters do not respect the same rules of engagement by which the US military is supposedly bound. Given plummeting morale and enthusiasm among US occupation forces, the mecenaries might be, shall we say, abit more vociferous against the rebels. [Do merciless and mercenary have the same etymological roots?

Related? I am sure you have seen the reports that the Bush campaign is essentially hiring mercenaries for domestic work as well [via Daily Kos]