June 09, 2005

Marines Detain 16 American Security Contractors in Iraq

Marines in Fallujah are now reporting an odd incident in which 16 American and 3 Iraqi security contractors were detained for firing at US soldiers and Iraqi defense forces last month. Some may jump to the conclusion that this is evidence of a 'shoot first, ask questions later' mentality among these paramilitary forces, but I would caution against that. Friendly fire incidents are very common in combat situations (think back to Pat Tillman), especially in places like Fallujah that have been hotbeds of terrorist activity in the past.

Still, the fact that the Marines detained the men for some time does indicate that they were, at the very least, royally pissed at getting shot at by Americans.

CNN:

U.S. Marines detained 16 American and three Iraqi security contractors in Falluja last month, according to a Marine statement released Wednesday.

The Marines said the contractors fired at them and at civilians, a charge the contractors deny. The security workers said they were mistreated while in custody; the Marines denied the accusations.

"The Americans were segregated from the rest of the detainee population and, like all security detainees, were treated humanely and respectfully," the Marine statement said.

The dispute began May 28 when Marines in the city in Anbar province said they were shot at by men in trucks and SUVs, according to the military statement.

The Marines said the men were also firing "at and near civilian cars."

Three hours later, another Marine post said it took fire from a convoy matching the description from the first incident.

Marines used spike strips to stop the trucks and the 19 men were taken to Camp Falluja, just outside the city.

The Marines said the men were held for three days before being taken to their compound in Baghdad, where they were released without their weapons and vehicles.

The Americans are employees of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Zapata Engineering, which has been hired to destroy weapons caches found in Iraq, said Mary Richards, Zapata's senior vice president for operations.

The group that was detained was part of a security convoy, she said.

Hat tip: Jim

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:08 AM | Comments |