So the Iraq war civilian casualties were worse than reported. I am not surprised. It seems according the reports this past weekend more than 109,000 Iraqi civilians lost their lives from 2003 -2009. More bloody and more violent than our own government led us to believe. But other reports during the Iraq war claimed high numbers like these. Reports like the Red Cross/Crescent and other news agencies like the BBC.
The use of contractors to fight that war–especially the now notorious Blackwater Group changed everything. Blackwater is now called Xe Group. There are many documented cases of their employees opening fire on civilians in the newly released documents. The problem all along with contractors fighting the war has been a lack of accountability. When a soldier crosses the line and violates the rules of engagement he or she must answer to the commanding officer. When employees of a private company kill civilians in a war situation how do you make the company accountable for the employee’s actions?
Despite what some think, an army that has a military code does have some accountability. And in our day and time we are still supposed to have ethical behavior in the context of war. A private company has no guiding ethical incentives other than to make money for its investors. And that is not always such an ethical process. They should have an ethical process but many companies do not.
War is always ugly. And it should always be a last resort when tensions between nations rise. Fighting terrorists makes it harder for our armies to engage because they do not represent nations but usually factions within a country and their interests are not often national in scope but often motivated by other issues like religion. Thus it complicates a war.
But so too our use of private companies to do our national business. The Bush years outsourced even our military. Wikileaks has shed light on a very dark chapter in recent American history. We all ought to be ashamed. And demand more accountability from our government.