Thursday, December 13, 2007

Contractual Obligations

Well we all know I am no fan of supposedly pro-women site Jezebel. However there are some stories even they and I agree on. One of which is that this is an outrage. Turns out the "defence contractors", i.e. private security firms like Blackwater, and the one in this case, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, out fighting in Iraq, have such dubious legal status that their employees can get away with rape.

There's an issue generally with these contractors. An article in today's (yesterday's since it's past midnight now) Independent - sadly in the pull-out bit so no link - about the way that warfare has changed. Once upon a time we lined up in neat rows and popped off shots at each other. Of course it was still brutal but we knew for the most part what was going on, and who was at risk. Nowadays it's all much more of a big gray area. We can't tell who's an "enemy combatant" and who's a civilian. And that's not just because Al Qaeda (or whoever we're told it is we're fighting in Iraq, I keep forgetting what bullshit I'm supposed to fall for this month) don't wear uniforms and carry name-tags, it's also because we've got all these different groups of people out there involved with military operations but not actually under the direct command of the military. Which makes it a lot harder to tell an aid worker from someone who might kill you. Blackwater recently killed 17 civilians. No-one is quite sure how to deal with it.

And in the midst of all the confusion of course we get rape. To go with the murder.

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