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Mercenaries and militants

September 20, 2007

Re "Iraq bans U.S. security firm after deadly incident," Sept. 18

What jumped out in this article was the observation of "expert" Peter W. Singer, who said, "Do we turn over American citizens to an Iraqi judicial system that is inept, corrupt and now politicized?" Didn't it occur to him that this characterization describes our Department of Justice and, indeed, the Bush administration?

Roger Johnson

San Clemente

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Is there a difference between an "enemy combatant" and a privateer Blackwater contract player with state-of-the-art weaponry? One could foresee these buccaneers arrested by Iraqi authorities and held indefinitely without charges. Images of these blindfolded and shackled "militants" would abound as they were led to coercive interrogations with their captors. Of course, the quaint Geneva Convention wouldn't apply, as these are soldiers without uniform. Naturally, their rights to counsel wouldn't apply. These hapless soldiers of fortune could only hope that the Iraqi Civil Liberties Union would step in to accord them the legal basics. Sometimes it's not a bad idea to spend a minute in the other guy's shoes, especially when the other guy is the one whose life you are trying to save.

Forrest Murray

Santa Monica

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With all the information on Blackwater, the public is being made aware of what mercenaries are paid. Those of us paying attention already knew. The administration's excuse for paying Blackwater employees many times what our service members are paid is the lack in numbers of its volunteer military. It doesn't take a genius to realize that if it valued our military members and paid them the salaries Blackwater employees make, there would be no shortage of recruits.

Toni Kukreja

Lakewood

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Re "U.S. restricts movement of its diplomats in Iraq," Sept. 19

The report that the U.S. has placed a restriction on the movement of embassy and civilian employees outside the Green Zone might make one wonder why 160,000 well-armed soldiers and Marines cannot adequately protect them without help from thousands of civilian mercenaries. Is it possible that things in Iraq are not quite as positive as Gen. David H. Petraeus and the president would have us believe?

Al Kubera

Orange

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