Recently, body guards from the private company Blackwater USA were involved in a gunfight that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. Whether they were at fault for this is not the point I want to make in this blog. However, I would like to discuss how important immunity to these security contractors is in order to get them to do what they need to do when protecting our diplomats.
If I were a security contractor and had the responsibility of protecting a US diplomat, I would really want the ability to make an informed decision in a split second and then be able to act on that without being blamed for accidental deaths in the line of duty. It seems to me that they have two choices: take action (pull the trigger when instinct suggests that it should be done) or watch as our diplomats and possibly the contractors themselves are killed on their way to important meetings by terrorists who don't necessarily care if they live or die (remember that Islamic terrorists get to have 72 virgins when they take the terrorist plunge).
Now I don't support just shooting people without a good cause, please don't take my argument in the wrong way. However, these contractors are usually ex-soldiers and ex-policemen who are well trained when it comes to this kind of thing and should be able to act when they feel it is appropriate.
I would think that it would really quash the demand for good security contractors in areas like Iraq and Afghanistan if we remove their immunity from prosecution when they act in the line of duty.