Regarding a topic previously discussed in Caaflog, the cover story in the Washington Post on Sunday, April 15, 2007, contained a story by Steve Fainaru, “Four Hired Guns in an Armored Truck, Bullets Flying, and a Pickup and a Taxi Brought to a Halt. Who Did the Shooting and Why? A Chaotic Day On Baghdad’s Airport Road,” that included an interesting narrative about the “unresolved” (cf. ambiguous) jurisdiction of the UCMJ over government contractors. To wit:
The U.S. military has brought charges against dozens of soldiers and Marines in Iraq, including 64 servicemen linked to murders. Not a single case has been brought against a security contractor, and confusion is widespread among contractors and the military over what laws, if any, apply to their conduct. The Pentagon estimates that at least 20,000 security contractors work in Iraq, the size of an additional division.
Private contractors were granted immunity from the Iraqi legal process in 2004 by L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S. occupation government. More recently, the military and Congress have moved to establish guidelines for prosecuting contractors under U.S. law or the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but so far the issue remains unresolved.