From The Guardian
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, apologised to the Iraqi government yesterday in an attempt to prevent the expulsion of all employees of the security firm Blackwater USA.
The apology offers a face-saving exercise for both the Iraqi and the US governments. The US would find it temporarily awkward if Blackwater was expelled. At the same time, it does not want to be seen to be undermining the decisions of the Iraqi government, which the Bush administration repeatedly insists is autonomous.
There are tens of thousands of mercenaries - or private security operators - in Iraq, including British firms as well as American. Jeremy Scahill, author of a book about Blackwater, put the figure at about 180,000 and described them as "unaccountable". Blackwater has 1,000 employees in Iraq.
So today we have a new number to chew on: There are 180,000 contractors (if not more), 25,000 are security operators,(if not more) and 1,000 of those are Blackwater, um yeah.
How can we demand to bring the troops (in line with considering private troops to be 'troops') home if Iraq makes a legal demand for the same and the US won't comply? And when we do bring the troops home, what of the mercenaries? What are the Constitutional ramifications?
Update: Please see News Sophisticate for more on this. They've been covering this story for a long time. Here's the link: http://newssophisticate.blogspot.com/2007/09/whose-guarding-green-zone-contractors.html
which also is listed pretty high up on the boards at Buzzflash today. Way to go, guys.