Revising History

I envy Ambassador L. Paul Bremer and his ability to revise history. It’s fantastic to read Ambassador L. Paul Bremer revising history again (the first time was in his memoir). When talking about CPA Order 17, he said “The immunity is not absolute. The order requires contractors to respect all Iraqi laws, so it’s not a blanket immunity.” Seriously?

I envy even more the reporters who wrote the New York Times article that I copied the quote above. They are so innocent in their article so as to be irresponsible. 

If a private in the United States military fires on civilians, a clear body of law and a set of procedures exist for the military to use in investigating each incident and deciding if the evidence is sufficient to bring charges.

But when private security contractors do the same, it is exceedingly unlikely that they will be called to account. A patchwork of laws that are largely untested, and practical obstacles to building cases in war zones, have all but insulated contractors from accountability.

No where in the article do the authors ask why in 2007 are they asking this question? No where do they bring up how contractors have the ability to directly and immediately influence U.S. foreign policy, national security, and public diplomacy. Think Fallujah and the decision to "teach them a lesson" for dragging and stringing up contractors, against the recommendations of the commanders on the ground. War today isn’t about personal enmity, which is what came into play in the aftermath of Fallujah as a result of a company going cheap and going stupid in trying to escort kitchen goods. The end result? We lost prestige, high-ground, trust, and possibly the war. Not because the contractors were there, but because we allowed them to remain outside of our mission and we maintained separate civil and military operations.

I didn’t notice any questioning of why or to what effect in the New York Times article, but plenty of opportunity to revise history and ignore the real issues and attack the pinata of the day.  I don’t mean to pick on the NYT article, but too much of what’s being written today doesn’t really scratch the surface of the real problem and is simply noise, mastabatory writing if you will. They want to see their own words, that are really the same words somebody else has used, with rare exception, but in a different order.

See also