Ben Buchwalter


US To Appeal Blackwater Ruling. Then What?
February 17, 2010, 8:31 pm
Filed under: Foreign Affairs, Scandals | Tags: , , ,

In 2007, guards employed by the independent security contractor Blackwater Worldwide killed 17 civilians in Iraq’s Nisour Square. Nearly three years later, Blackwater continues to operate in Iraq in a diminished capacity (and under the new name Xe Services). Last month, Iraqis were outraged when a district court judge dismissed charges against the guards because the State Department bungled the case against them. But at the end of January, Vice President Joe Biden said that the White House intends to appeal that decision and hold the guards accountable. This is a great step forward to ensure that security contractors acting under the American flag don’t get away with murder. But we’ve still got a long way to go, as I wrote for MoJo:

Demanding full accountability for security contractors will take more than cracking down on the five guards connected to Nisour Square. It means implementing comprehensive regulations and laws for all contractors working under the American banner. Last July, the DOD adopted interim rules to govern the selection and oversight of security contractors abroad. Whether or not the Justice Department resurrects its case against the Blackwater guards, these rules should be strengthened to include clear guidelines for prosecuting private contractors in order to prevent future Nisour Square incidents.

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