Blackwater, which needs any scrap of good PR that it can get, has withdrawn from the International Peace Operations Assn., the trade group for the “peace and stability industry.” The move boggles the mind.
The IPOA says its mission is to “promote high operational and ethical standards” of its member firms. One would think that Blackwater, especially since its shooting of Iraqi civilians in Baghdad last month, would wrap itself in the IPOA flag. After all, the IPOA’s “code of conduct represents a constructive effort towards better regulating private sector operations in conflict and post-conflict environments.”
Blackwater says it is taking a “hiatus” from the group and pursuing other methods of industry outreach. The North Carolina-based security company maintains its guards acted properly in the shooting incident. Withdrawing from the IPOA begs the question: Did Blackwater fail to live up to the group’s ethical standards?
IPOA’s members include ArmorGroup, Creative Assocs. International, DynCorp, Evergreen International Aviation, Olive Group, Patriot K-9 Services, Reed Inc., and Unity Resources Group, the Australian firm that expressed “deep regret” for the Oct. 9 killing of two Iraqi women.
IPOA’s annual summit is slated for D.C. Oct. 28-30. It promises to be a lively event in light of Congressional moves to crack down on contractors. To its credit, the group has endorsed the bill by Rep. David Price to increase federal oversight and hike accountability of contractors.