Friday, January 18, 2008

Human rights group says contractors are essential and that most obey the law

Private security contractors are essential to the U.S. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the overwhelming majority are fine professionals who risk their lives, a human rights group reports.

In a sharp critique of the Justice Department, Human Rights First, a New York-based group, claims that contractors operate with "impunity." But Scott Horton, a Columbia University law professor who served as a senior consultant to a Human Rights First report, has high praise for the contractors.

"The great majority of the contractors involved, including the security contractors, are conscientious, dedicated professionals who are out there at great personal risk, performing magnificently," Horton tells the Voice of America. "So we should not view this [report] as tarring the entire group of contractors or even the entire group of security contractors, but it is a question of accountability."

Blackwater Worldwide certainly would agree with that assessment. It's been pushing for clearer rules of the road and better accountability all along. But Congress, as the post below reports, hasn't seen fit to update the law to make it happen.

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