Robert Young Pelton, author of “Licensed to Kill. Hired Guns in the War of Terror” was interviewed on NPR after Blackwater head Erik Prince testified before Congress yesterday. Pelton says what Blackwater and similar security contractors do is in a ‘gray zone’ and probably deliberately so. Primarily hired by the State Department, who appear to be their major enablers, they are permitted to kill if, for example, while escorting a diplomat, a car approaches them, ignores a warning, and keeps coming. Even if the driver is a woman with a baby. That’s their rules of engagement under State Department rules. Murky, aren’t they?
And if dealing with one private military contractor gets too messy, well, State can easily discard them and another contractor will take their place. Plausible deniability. Shifting of responsibility.
Pelton suggests, and rightfully so, that the real problem here exists within the US government and State Department, without whom the security contractors would not exist.