Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nation-Building You Can Trust

As a concession to the Iraqi government, the United States is poised to yank US contractor's immunity from Iraqi prosecution. This has some of the country's 180,000 (!) contractors fretting that they'll fall under Iraq's laws:
"Having worked for two years and two months in Iraq, I can tell you without a doubt, I would in no way work if I fell under Iraqi Law," a deputy sheriff who trains Iraqi police said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. "Are you kidding? You wouldn’t be able to get but the most desperate people to work if they fell under their ridiculous laws."

Like almost all contractors working in Iraq, he is not allowed to do media interviews without approval from his company, so he asked that his name not be used.

Other contractors expressed similar concerns about the Iraqi legal system.

"I would immediately have to consider my options concerning leaving this country," another Department of Defense contractor said. "They, the Iraqis, cannot rule themselves and now they want to try and rule contractors."
But The Surge is working, right? Free, democratic society and all that?

At the end of the day, though, the Iraq legal system is what it is. If contractors can't abide by that, they need to come home. It's not politically tenable to have 180,000 foreigners operating in Iraq with immunity from all local laws.