When will the
'Mystery Train' ride end?
Posted December 2, 2005

A video allegedly showing security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting at Iraqi civilians has is under investigation after it was posted on the Internet. Aegis Defense Services has been officially linked to the video which first appeared on their Web site.

Aegis is one of the biggest security companies in Iraq. The company performs a variety of security duties and aided with the collection of ballots in the country’s recent referendum. The United States government has been brought into the madness by having financial relations with the company. Aegis was recently awarded a $220 million security contract in Iraq by our government.

The video has sparked controversy that private security companies could be responsible for hundreds of innocent dead Iraqis. Private companies, like Aegis, are not bound to any form of regulation by Britain or Iraqi standards. However, security companies awarded contracts by the United States administration are subject to the same rules for opening fire as the American military. Warnings saying they are authorized to use lethal force, similar to U.S. military vehicles, appear on Aegis’ vehicles as well.
That is all well and good, but what were these vehicles doing shooting at civilians?

The video contains four separate clips appearing to show security guards open fire with automatic rifles at civilian cars. The clips’ audio reveals that the shooters have Irish or Scottish accents, and, in a grotesque nod to Hollywood spectacle, the video is edited to Elvis Presley’s song “Mystery Train.” All the shooting events happened on the road linking the airport to Baghdad called “route Irish.” This road has been considered one of the most dangerous in the world, because of the high number of suicide attacks and ambushes on coalition troops by insurgents.

It is frightening to think shooters had audacity to capture these killing on videotape, soundtrack included. This tragedy may allow people to wonder what exactly are these companies doing to pass the time?

The investigations have not pointed to the identity of the shooter. Aegis officials have also denied any connection to the shootings. Since there is no incriminating evidence, the Foreign Office, who has been investigating the situation, has placed the issue in the hands of the American officials because Aegis is under contract to the United States.

The issue leads people to wonder why the U.S. chose to give money to this security company. Are the U.S. supporting these unjust companies or involved in an unpredictable mishap? Suspicions and pointed fingers are easy to send toward the government at such catastrophes. Stories such as these can cause anyone to wonder how much honor and truth the war in Iraq holds.

It will be interesting to see how the U.S. handles further investigations of these shootings. The U.S. has a double-sided stance in the situation. On one hand, they gave money to the alleged company and, on the other; they need to keep reason for remaining in Iraq.

The consequences of this war have taken their toll on those in service. Col. Ted Westhusing was believed to have committed suicide last June due to his struggle with the morality of the war in Iraq. Westhusing writes in a letter found next to his deceased body, “I cannot support a mission that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.” It is also believed Westhusing lethally acted after learning of possible corruption by U.S. contractors in Iraq. Westhusing had received a call that a private security company that he oversaw had cheated the U.S. government and violated human rights. His suicide raises questions on how ethical the war has become.

Horrible situations like these give little hope for the progress in Iraq. It isno wonder doubts enclose around the U.S.’s purpose to bring freedom to Iraq, when they are allegedly connected to contracting deadly terror among citizens. Hopefully the government can straighten out the morality issues surrounding this war, and prove their hands clean of innocent Iraqi blood.

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