As Derrick Jackson pointed out in the Boston Globe, as the regular military stood down, the shadow military stood up.
A July report from the Congressional Research Service indicates that the number of private security personnel has risen by 26 percent during the drawdown. The report also says there are 11,600 private security forces in Iraq operating under the Department of Defense, a number corroborated by the federal bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting. So the total US security force level in Iraq — both military and private — is around 64,000.Regular U.S. troops and spies have treated Iraqis in ways that poisoned the name of the U.S.: remember Abu Ghraib? What do we think will happen when soldiers-for-hire, including the infamous Blackwater under its new name of Xe, are in charge of U.S. interests in the country?
We in the U.S. may want to "turn the page" on Iraq, but our debt to the Iraqi people is still on the books.