NYT: Withdraw All Private Armies From Iraq

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • New York Times

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice refers to the lack of legal accountability that allows mercenaries working for the American government to kill Iraqis without fear of prosecution as "a lacuna" in our law.

Ms. Rice is correct, if disingenuous. The gap was created by the very administration she serves -- in a decree issued three years ago by its occupation administrator, Paul Bremer, who granted legal immunity to foreign private contractors. And the Iraqi government is understandably in a hurry to correct the mistake. On Tuesday, the cabinet agreed on draft legislation to revoke the decree.

Washington, however, also needs to address the problem. The administration should withdraw all of these private armies from Iraq, and while it does that, Congress must act swiftly to ensure that American justice applies to all those who remain.

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