BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — One consequence of coming here is that I couldn’t see something I’ve desperately wanted to witness for years: the departure of the final U.S. combat brigade from Iraq. Luckily, the creaky internet access I’ve got here lets me read the Post‘s account. And the AP’s. And this briefing with State’s Michael Corbin and the Pentagon’s Colin Kahl about the transition to State Department leadership during and after the next year.
But still. Over at Kings of War, Captain Hyphen gets real: 50,000 troops, even if they’re largely confined to a training mission, are not going to be “just staffing desks ‘mostly in offices.’” Training missions in Iraq, for years, have been learn-by-doing affairs. December 2011 is a long way away.
Are there any publicly traded private security firms? Because above all, the post-August 2010 period is a perfect time to invest. Michael Gordon:
The department’s plans to rely on 6,000 to 7,000 security contractors, who are also expected to form “quick reaction forces” to rescue civilians in trouble, is a sensitive issue, given Iraqi fury about shootings of civilians by American private guards in recent years. Administration officials said that security contractors would have no special immunity and would be required to register with the Iraqi government. In addition, one of the State Department’s regional security officers, agents who oversee security at diplomatic outposts, will be required to approve and accompany every civilian convoy, providing additional oversight.
Because that’s a check against impunity? Somehow?
But now at least we have our next big reporting project: who’s getting those contracts from State? How long do they last and for how much money? What oversight measures will State’s congenitally dysfunctional Bureau of Diplomatic Security provide? Is DS any less congenitally dysfunctional these days?