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Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Blackwater: Licence to kill

The New York Times reports that US CIA has terminated its contract with Xe Services formerly Blackwater Worldwide for loading bombs onto drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This comes as Xe Services and CIA have come under fire from US congressmen for the nature and extent of the involvement of a private contractor in the conduct of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. New York Times also reported that Xe Services had already lost another defence contract earlier this year, which was for providing protection to the US embassy staff in Iraq because of its involvement in the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007. Five employees of Xe Services have been indicted for those killings. Many reports of local activities of Xe Services have been printed by this newspaper earlier.
War is an instrument of state policy and therefore should be conducted by the state forces alone. No legal system in the world authorises the outsourcing of war to private entities because of its sensitive nature and the possible fallout from an authorisation to kill given to people over which they have no formal control.
CIA maintains that it hires private contractors to do support duties though the involvement of Xe Services in the Iraqi killings is proof that once they come under fire in a hostile situation who can stop them from shooting, being armed for the same.
The outsourcing of war has a long history starting from mercenaries of old times to the present day. What we are suffering today is also because of one such act of arming and training private armies in the last Cold War conflict, which have now turned on their former masters. Most of the top leadership of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are those who were once trained by us, equipped by CIA and financed by the Saudis to fight a war against the Red Army in Afghanistan when all three desired to stay out of active engagement for the fear of turning a cold war into a hot war.
However, it does not behove us to point a finger at others, as in Pakistan we are still outsourcing our security jobs to private groups. Our police cannot be relied to provide internal security due to widespread corruption, incompetence and a lack of will to fight amongst its members, whose majority signed up not to fight but to make money through corruption. This is proved by the existence of numerous security outfits with licences to bear deadly firearms, private security guards and the issuance of arms permits to people by the thousands every year.

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