April 2006 — a question to the President from a student at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies:
Student: "I was hoping your answer might be a little more specific. (Laughter.) Mr. Rumsfeld answered that Iraq has its own domestic laws which he assumed applied to those private military contractors. However, Iraq is clearly not currently capable of enforcing its laws, much less against — over our American military contractors. I would submit to you that in this case, this is one case that privatization is not a solution. And, Mr. President, how do you propose to bring private military contractors under a system of law?"
A good question for which Bush didn’t have an answer. Instread he laughed it off and said it was a good question, and he would look in to it.
Bush: "I appreciate that very much. I wasn’t kidding — (laughter.) I was going to — I pick up the phone and say, Mr. Secretary, I’ve got an interesting question. (Laughter.) This is what delegation — I don’t mean to be dodging the question, although it’s kind of convenient in this case, but never — (laughter.) I really will — I’m going to call the Secretary and say you brought up a very valid question, and what are we doing about it? That’s how I work. I’m — thanks. (Laughter.)"
Here’s the video clip of the exchange:
Flash forward to today, and we see just how private military contractors like Blackwater are held to a system of law. Short answer: they’re not.
State Department investigators offered Blackwater USA security guards immunity during an inquiry into last month’s deadly shooting of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad — a potentially serious investigative misstep that could complicate efforts to prosecute the company’s employees involved in the episode, government officials said Monday.
LATEST: Apparently, the State Department is now saying it wasn’t "blanket immunity", but rather, "limited immunity". Not that that really makes a difference…