Thursday, June 09, 2005

shoddy journalism re: mercenaries vs. marines

Letter to LA Times

T. Christian Miller's account of US contractors being detained by US Marines (US Marines Detained 19 Contractors in Iraq, A10, June 8) could have used more facts and less "he said, she said." I am still left wondering about the apparent conflict of interest between contractors or "soldiers of fortune" and the US military. It seems that aside from being shot at, the Marines have more reasons to resent the presence of American mercenaries. The article briefly mentions lack of clarity regarding legal accountability but does not investigate further or seek comment from an official. There is a comment from Zapata (the contracting firm) indicating that "they followed the rules that are required when working as a contractor in Iraq" but we aren't given any clue as to what those rules are. Mr. Miller is reporting from Washington, surely it wouldn't be too hard to track down these rules for contractors and clue us in.
Finally, attorney Mark Schopper is claiming that the mercenaries relatives received threatening phone calls from people with American accents. Now I'm not a lawyer but I would strongly doubt that Mr. Schopper will even try to submit that as evidence if he plans on litigation.
It just seems that this article is lacking thoroughness in facts and is filled with emotionally charged accusations and denials. At the very least we deserve a follow-up explaining the reason for tension between contractors and Marines and the rules for contractors.


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