This article from the IHT is almost frightening. Blackwater Worldwide is still going strong as a contractor in Iraq because State Department officials say they do not believe they have any alternative.
"We cannot operate without private security firms in Iraq," said Patrick Kennedy, under secretary of state for management. "If the contractors were removed, we would have to leave Iraq."
This is worrisome from a couple of viewpoints. If there are no other contractors willing or capable of taking over State Dept security (a force of some 800 guards), then we need to seriously reconsider our total dependence on contractors for such a necessary mission. If this is simple laziness or cronyism by State, then a good, old fashioned purge is in order. I would suspect the latter, as the article says neither DynCorp nor Triple Canopy were ever approached to see if they could pick up the mission.
What I find amazing, is a statement that claims that private security is the only answer. Placing this mission into the for-profit versus government employee sector is a policy decision, not an operational necessity. The resources consumed in just trying to determine whether or not the US government has jurisdiction over these clowns when they ran amok could probably have financed a training program for civil service guards.
To me, the sensible scenario, following the Iraqi concerns raised by the "gunfight at the Baghdad Corral", would have been for the ambassador to call Condi and say, "Look, Boss, as a display of good faith, we need to suck it up and convert the security mission to one conducted by US federal employees. Might cost a few more bucks and sweat at first, but it would show a touch of sensitivity." But then, expecting sensibility or sensitivity from "The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight" is a fool's errand.
Many years ago, I heard a tongue-in cheek saying, "The key to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you are on your way." Could it be that this has become administration policy?