Gates: Security contractors conflict with U.S. mission in Iraq

The Defense secretary says guards who protect clients at any cost are working ‘at cross-purposes’ with soldiers trying to gain Iraqis’ trust.

By Peter Spiegel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 19, 2007

WASHINGTON — The behavior of private security contractors in Iraq is in direct conflict with the goals of the U.S. military, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday in an unusually frank critique, adding that the guards’ mistreatment of Iraqis is hindering Pentagon efforts at winning hearts and minds.

Gates said at a Pentagon news conference that he planned to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in coming days to iron out new regulations governing the conduct of the estimated 8,500 armed guards working for the Pentagon and State Department in Iraq.

Last month, the Defense secretary sent a five-man team to Iraq to investigate contractor oversight after the high-profile killing of 17 Iraqis in a Baghdad shooting involving Blackwater USA, the private security contractor hired to protect U.S. diplomats.

Although Blackwater works for the State Department, the Pentagon employs the vast majority of such hired guns in Iraq — about 7,300 — and Gates within days ordered commanders in the country to be more aggressive in using military law to discipline contractors in their areas of responsibility.

Read more

Advertisements

Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s