Wednesday, April 2, 2008

PSCs Praised for Dangerous Work

The Buffalo News recently ran an editorial explaining the particular dangers encountered by private security contractors. Here are some of the highlights from the piece:

These security guards by no means operate as the men in uniform do. Soldiers work under the protection of tanks, helicopters and their fellow soldiers, and soldiers can aggressively attack someone who is a potential threat to their safety, [Douglas] Brooks, [president of the International Peace Operations Association] said.

“The private security contractors work under regulations that prevent them from being the aggressor. They can only take aggressive action to protect themselves or the people they’re guarding,” Brooks said. “If they come under attack, they can call for help from the military, but that help doesn’t always arrive right away.

According to Michael Skora, an Army veteran who worked closely with [abducted contractor Jonathon] Cote in both the Army and Crescent Security, he and Cote faced sniper attacks and “dozens” of encounters with improvised explosive devices that blew up near convoys that the two former soldiers were escorting, Skora said. “It was as bad or worse than anything we saw in the Army.

In Brooks’ view, the private contractors don’t get nearly enough credit for the jobs they do and the extreme dangers they face while working in Iraq. Peter W. Singer, a national security expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, agreed. Singer has done extensive research on the subject…. “There has been much discussion of how the US recently passed the 4,000 death mark,” Singer told The Buffalo News. “The fact is, we already passed that long ago, if you count contractors…. And yet, they aren’t counted in official tolls, and largely not known by the media and the public.”

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