The use of contractors in Iraq since 2003 is estimated at $85 billion. This doesn’t include any figures for 2008 so it could have topped $100 billion by now.
The matter is being called into question following complaints of corruption and over-pricing. The involvement of private companies with killing and torture has raised anger in Iraq, and what happens to employees themselves and their families when they are killed or injured is not governed by military procedures.
The use of contractors is unprecedented and not confined to the U.S. We learned recently of the suicide of one of the security guards among the five British personnel kidnapped in Iraq. While one of those taken was a computer expert the other four were acting as his bodyguards.
The world has put together rules of engagement and made plans for dealing with war criminals. At every turn these are flouted or bypassed as war trials end up being selectivive and used as political vehicles themselves.