The 21st Century Phenomenon



On Sunday 09/16/2007 security contractors, employed by one of the biggest security firms – ‘Blackwater USA’ Opened 360 degrees fire when protecting a USA diplomatic convoy in Mansur neighborhood, just Northern to the Green Zone in Baghdad.

The convoy happened to be in the scene of a car bomb explosion followed with one or two mortar shell. The lesson from the long experience of Israel in Lebanon and the shorter, but much more intensive, experience of USA in Iraq and Afghanistan, is that it is most likely that terrorists in civilians closes are near by and watching the event. The reaction of the attacked convoy and any confusion or hesitation may result a further direct assault from close range.

The drill of 360 degrees fire was therefore the best response to any kind of massive explosion attack. This, almost automatic, response saved the life of Israelis in Lebanon, of American or senior Iraqi officials and, in this particular case, probably, the life of USA diplomats. The drill also claimed the life of many innocent people who came under fire accidentally. The tradeoff was always very unequivocal – the safety of the soldiers or diplomats for higher risk to innocent civilians.

The ‘Blackwater USA’ security contractors did not acted differently than any other security forces in Iraq is acting few times a week, whether they are US soldiers, Iraqi police or another security firm operating in Iraq. 

Despite the, so called, “normality” of the case it raises questions about the legal status of civilian contractors. They are not soldiers acting in behalf of their government or policemen authorized to use power in order to prevent more bloodshed and restore public order. The contractors even can not argue “self defense” since they chose, knowing the violent meaning of their decision, to be specifically there fore the right some of money.

The second ethical question is that the security firms are making fortune from the situation in Iraq, like so many other industries related to situation of war. As this security firms become bigger, stronger and richer they may have an interest of their own in situation of tensions and violent just like some industries have interest in global arms race, for example.

In Democratic countries the political regime is accountable, eventually, to his voters. To who are the security firms accountable accept their share holders.

An FBI investigation found 14 of the deaths unjustified, according to rules of engagement for private security contractors in Iraq.

* After a long votail judicial saga  Senior U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth, on Monday 04/13/2015, sentenced Blackwater sniper Nicholas Slatten (2) to a term of life in prison, mandatory for his first-degree murder conviction. Blackwater workers Paul Slough (4), Evan Liberty (3) and Dustin Heard (1) were sentenced to 30 year each, plus one day.

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