Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says key security work in Iraq is being handled by unaccountable private contractors. During an appearance today in Iowa City, Obama cited a recent congressional report suggesting contractor Blackwater has disregarded civilian casualties in Iraq.
"The Bush Administration’s approach is inaction at best and collusion to cover-up at worst," Obama said. "Rather than demand accountability, the Bush Administration has ceded responsibility. There is no evidence they have raised any concerns about Blackwater’s behavior or taken any steps to reign in Blackwater or any other contractors."
According to Obama, the Blackwater security teams have shown a "reckless disregard" for Iraqi civilians. Obama is calling for creation of a special unit in the FBI to oversee private contractors hired to provide security for the U.S. military and American diplomats.
Blackwater contractors providing security in Iraq were involved in a September 16th shoot-out that left 11 Iraqis dead and critics charge the contractors act more like gun-slinging "cowboys" who aren’t subject to military rules of engagement or civilian laws. Iraq’s prime minister indicated this week that his government wants Blackwater contractors to leave their country.