This was on Foreign Policy Passport yesterday:
Blackwater enters the campaign
Hillary Clinton has co-sponsored new legislation to ban the use of private military contractors in Iraq. This came just a day after the publication of an article by The Nation's Jeremy Scahill in which a senior advisor to Barack Obama said that the candidate "won't rule out" the use of PMCs. Given how integral PMCs have become to U.S. operations at this point, Obama's reservations about a blanket ban make some sense. Still, he can't relish the idea of being on the "pro-Blackwater" side of this issue.
IMHO, this is a profoundly bad idea. I have not served with any of the folks from Blackwater, but while I was in Jerusalem, I served with members both of the other primary PMC's in Iraq, Triple Canopy and Dyncorp. I found them to be professional and dedicated, and as what would be considered a "high value target" (all diplomats are) I was extremely grateful to have them. We simply don't have enough Diplomatic Security agents to make certain our folks are safe overseas, and our military is already stretched thin enough without having to take on the role now filled by these private contractors. When we do our work, we often have to go to predictable places at predictable times, making that kind of protection vital. I wouldn't have wanted to serve in Jerusalem, much less Iraq, without them.
Yes, we need more oversight. But a ban seems like a bad idea.