Today's news about the gruesome deaths of "civilian security contractors" in Fallujah might lead you to believe that Bob from the local hardware store is the one being burned, beaten and dragged through the streets. The privatization of security in Iraq is a murky issue, and sometimes its hard to tell who exactly these freelance cops are. They're not GIs, and they're not civilians, either.
The lovely and talented bitter shack regular Lee Carpenter Esq. notes that Blackwater, the private firm hired by the Pentagon to supply private security for Bremer and other security odd-jobs (like escorting food shipments to military installations in Iraq and guarding oil wells) is not necessarily using American civilians for the task, but recruiting foreigners, including Chilean mercenaries for as much as $4,000 a month.
Says The Age (emphasis mine):
Last month Blackwater USA flew a first group of about 60 former commandos, many of whom had trained under the military government of Augusto Pinochet, from Santiago to a 970-hectare training camp in North Carolina.
From there they would be taken to Iraq, where they were expected to stay between six months and a year, the president of Blackwater USA, Gary Jackson, said. "We scour the ends of the earth to find professionals - the Chilean commandos are very, very professional and they fit within the Blackwater system."
Good to know we're ridding the world of terrorism by employing terrorists.
(It's not clear to me if any of the contractors killed in Fallujah are in fact these mercenaries, but you wonder.)
UPDATE: Turns out none of the Blackwater "civilians" killed yesterday was Chilean. But I think it's still interesting that none of the news reports has mentioned that some of these "civilians" are paramilitary veterans from spooky regimes.