U.S. Hiring Mercenary Air Force for Iraq Rescues

By Spencer Ackerman

“It’s January 2012. A convoy of SUVs ferrying American diplomats to a meeting with Iraqi politicians runs over a roadside bomb. Several of the passengers inside are seriously injured. They need to be rescued, now.

But the U.S. military left Iraq on Dec. 31. Which means the only call for help has to go to a team of mercenaries employed by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. They’re the only guys left in Iraq who are running medical evacuation operations — or any other complex air op.

Air operations are not as simple has hiring skilled pilots to put well-maintained machines in the skies. The military has long-standing procedures in place for designing and executing aerial missions. An experienced chain of command maintains order, discipline, coordination and success. This is what the military does.

It’s not what the State Department does.”


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