No US troops but an army of contractors in Iraq
Contractors, who assist soldiers in preparing for drills, with after-action reviews, are at forefront of US efforts to train Iraqi forces.
Middle East Online May 10, 2012
Explosions throw up clouds of smoke near Iraqi soldiers with armoured vehicles, who check for casualties, spot enemy forces in the desert ahead of them and then open fire.
But the blasts are only simulated artillery fire and the “enemy forces” are pop-up silhouette targets, not gunmen and vehicles.
That is just as well for these soldiers on a training exercise, as the puffs of dust kicked up by bullets downrange indicate that their aim is often off the mark.
An Iraqi company commander led his soldiers in the exercise at the massive Besmaya military base southeast of Baghdad, but it was a foreign contractor who controlled the scenario.
It was the contractor who ordered the targets raised and lowered amid the sounds made by .50 calibre machine guns on the armoured vehicles and the chatter of M-16 rifles.
Contractors, who also assist soldiers in preparing for drills and with after-action reviews, are at the forefront of US efforts to train Iraqi forces.
Negotiations on a post-2011 US military training mission broke down last year over Iraqi reluctance to offer the trainers immunity from prosecution, and almost all American soldiers left the country last December.
But they left behind the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I), a group of about 157 military personnel under US embassy authority, and some 600 civilian contractors, mostly retired soldiers.
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The complaint states that Ronco Consulting, acting through it’s agents and/or employee’s, breached it’s professional duty of care to Fantham and did not exercise the reasonable care and skill expected of professional mine clearance companies.
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