GUNS-FOR-HIRE TO POLICE IRAQ?

The U.S. may turn to a private security force to guard as many as 2,000 key sites in Iraq, the New York Times reports.The idea, currently being floated "at the highest levels of the Pentagon," is to re-hire former Iraqi soldiers, and to retrain them to guard the National Museum and other locations."Our sense is that the military has too much on their plate right now, and that these are issues that need to be addressed, and the way to do that is through the private sector," Anne Tiedemann, an executive at the security firm Kroll Inc., told the Times.Guns-for-hire are becoming an increasingly attractive option for U.S. policy-makers. They're being used currently to spot drug-growers and rebels in Colombia. And, as discussed a few weeks ago, they're being considered for peace-keeping duties in the Congo.THERE'S MORE: Peter Singer -- author of the recently-published Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry -- calls the privatized police idea "another checker player's move in a game of chess.""Now we have a situation where the new Iraqi army, new Iraqi police force and now new Iraqi paramilitary force will all be assembled by the private market," he tells Defense Tech.That's in addition to all of the other functions contractors are filling in Iraq. By some estimates, the ratio of private employees to U.S. soldiers operating in the Persian Gulf area is one-to-ten.The lurch towards an outsourced police force, Singer notes, is an indicator of "how little planning the administration gave to the post-conflict stage ('don't know what to do, just give it to someone else to do')."He adds, "How can you think that creating a new, private, paramilitary force (hired and fired by outsiders) will not cause problems with the other forces and not undermine the authority of the public Iraqi administration we are supposed to be setting up?"

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