Articles about private military or security contractors have a depressing tendency to be formulaic. They are predictably mistrustful of business, suspicious of people carrying guns and disdainful of what is, for all practical purposes, a blue-collar profession.
Consider for example the frequently cited belief that private security contractors are unsupervised, out-of-control gunslingers who act with impunity. This was particularly in vogue after the killing of Iraqi civilians and police in Baghdad by Blackwater contractors last September.
If nothing else, that incident provided a great deal of evidence to suggest that the reality is, to say the least, more nuanced. Industry sources were able to show anyone who was interested the numerous rules, regulations, in-house codes of conduct, military rules of engagement, and national and international laws they operate under.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
United Press International Calls Out Journalists
David Isenberg of United Press International, in an article on private security contractors, provides this insightful analysis of most journalistic coverage of the topic: