America’s own unlawful combatants?

Over Baghdad

Marko Drobnjakovic / AP

OVER BAGHDAD: A Blackwater helicopter in Feburary. The amount of force being used by such firms has raised questions.

Using private guards in Iraq could expose the U.S. to accusations of treaty violations, some experts think.

By Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 15, 2007

WASHINGTON — As the Bush administration deals with the fallout from the recent killings of civilians by private security firms in Iraq, some officials are asking whether the contractors could be considered unlawful combatants under international agreements.

The question is an outgrowth of federal reviews of the shootings, in part because the U.S. officials want to determine whether the administration could be accused of treaty violations that could fuel an international outcry.

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