"The hearing revealed a fascinating, but also disturbing, lack of awareness in Congress about the private military industry. Members on both sides repeatedly struggled with the most basic facts and issues that surround the over 160,000-person contractor force in Iraq: Everything from the number and roles of contractors to their status and accountability, or lack thereof. It was quite clear that this was the first time that many had been forced to think much about the issue(even though the industry is over a decade old and the supplemental funds have been paying for the use of contractors in Iraq, year after year).
"What I found especially telling, given the consistently weak grasp of the issues, was that multiple representatives opened their remarks by talking about how Blackwater contractors protected them while on visits to Iraq. They often meant this as a compliment to the firm, and also a way of establishing their credentials on the issue. But it usually backfired, revealing a lack of simple curiosity. It showed that they've known about the massive use of contractors for years - they just didn't bother to ask any questions, even when the issue was in their faces."
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Waxman panel seen as clueless on basic facts
Writing on Wired's "Danger Room," P. W. Singer (or Noah Schachtman; the actual writer is unclear) tells of what he saw at the October 2 congressional hearing on Blackwater. He raised a number of provocative points, including the following which we found most interesting: