The problem, though, is oversight. Normally, the military is accountable to the government; the minute a marine screws up, a whole can of procedural hell is opened up.
Not so with private security companies, which was why when Blackwater contractors killed 17 unarmed civilians in September 2007, no one was quite sure what to do about it. And why when a former employee was accused of murder, Blackwater founder Erik Prince said all they could do was fire him. And probably why the same accused murderer was free and available for other private contractors to get him armed and back in the Middle East within months of the incident.
Ahhhh, good times, guys. Good times.
Not only are the repercussions of dirty dealings murky for private contractors, but also for a while there the guys were pretty much immune from Iraqi law. The fact that private security companies have to start playing by some vague rules that aren't exactly spelled out is the good news. The bad news is that once official troops finally start getting out of Iraq, the number of private contractors is expected to triple.
"I've got an idea, guys -- why don't we just pay them by the war crime?"