Blackwater Out of Iraq, but Mercs to Stay?
Here’s an idea so diabolically perfect in its simplicity only Noah Shachtman at Danger Room was able to report it. Sure, Blackwater might be kicked out of Iraq. But does that really mean its mercenaries will leave?
The State Department has a contract for “Worldwide Personal Protective Services” with three firms: Blackwater, DynCorp, and Triple Canopy. If Blackwater is no longer allowed to operate in Iraq, a lawyer steeped in the field tells Danger Room, there’s no legal reason why the other two firms can’t scoop up Blackwater’s employees. “State simply issues a new task order to DynCorp or Triple Canopy, who turn around and hire some or all of Blackwater’s employees,” he says.
And that’s why it’s significant that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton backed away from her campaign pledge to ban private military companies from doing business with the department. The contract is up in September. Why wouldn’t Triple Canopy and DynCorp, who’ll benefit from their suddenly-increased size of the Iraq contract, just hire the people with the most in-country experience? Blackwater’s employees seem unable to quit Iraq. After all, as Noah notes, it was hard enough kicking Blackwater contractors out when they were just, you know, shooting members of the Iraqi vice president’s entourage.