IN THE NEWS
Torture is physically and morally nauseating, which is why it has received enormous attention in coverage of Iraq. However, the general misbehavior of civilian "contractors"--including, but by no means limited to, torture--is just as damaging to US interests in Iraq.
We may not be able to do much about any sectarian "dirty war" that the Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi military fights below the radar. Depending on Iraqi security forces as much as we do, we're putting ourselves into the same bind that we had with the ARVN in the Vietnam War: the more dependence on them, the less leverage we have. In contrast, right now, US officials can pull the plug on any of the private "security" companies hired for duties that might otherwise be performed by the US military. We can also use this latest report as further evidence that the Bush Administration's "legionaries, auxiliaries, and mercenaries" force structure is a bad, bad idea.