In my last blog, I wrote about how the sentences of the four private military contractors of Blackwater served as a smokescreen in order to allow the U.S government to strengthen relations with the Iraqi government. It may seem that in the wake of these publicized sentences, the United States will begin to decrease the amount of contractors it deploys to avoid further controversy. However, the United States has not shown any signs of backing off of contractors since.
A day after the sentences, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said that the agency is “moving quickly to improve investigative policies and strengthening procedures for use of force and less-than-lethal force by security contractors,” but she would not answer any further questions on how the sentences would affect the use of contractors in Iraq moving forward. Most contractors in Iraq work for the State Department, but the department does not release information on the amount of private contractors it uses. It is estimated that the ratio of contractors to soldiers in Iraq is roughly the same as Afghanistan, which has a ratio of 1:1. The government does not want to disclose this information because it shows how big of a failure the invasion of Iraq was.
In an interview with ABC News, U.S Army colonel Andrew Bacevich explained the United States purposefully chose to invade Iraq with a small number of troops. Bacevich said that, “The architects of the Iraq war in 2003 thought that our relatively small but very competent force could win a decisive victory in Iraq.” After many insurgencies, the United States realized that the initial force was not strong enough to fight off attacks so it began to deploy private contractors to support American soldiers. In order to avoid a similar public perception towards war as during the Vietnam War, the number of contractors being deployed to Iraq is increasing because the State Department is not required to disclose their numbers by law.