As Congress takes aim at Blackwater, Edwards offers plan to end military security outsourcing

With anger mounting over the actions of Blackwater USA's mercenary forces in Iraq, political leaders are taking action.

Today, John Edwards -- presidential candidate and former U.S. senator from Blackwater's home state of North Carolina -- put forth a plan to end the current system of outsourcing security missions to private contractors. Unveiled at a media forum in New Hampshire, Edwards' proposal would transfer most security missions currently performed by contractors back to military command, limit the circumstances under which security contractors can be engaged, and bring all security contractors within the Pentagon's chain of command.

Edwards also said he would ask Congress to pass legislation prohibiting campaign contributions by applicants for and recent recipients of security contracts and prohibit former government officials from working as contractors for five years. Blackwater founder and CEO Erik Prince and other company executives are generous contributor to Republican causes and politicians and have close ties to the Bush administration.

"The recent incidents of violence involving Blackwater contractors in Iraq, including the shooting of Iraqi civilians in Baghdad last month, have caused tremendous damage to America's battle for the hearts and minds of Iraqis," said Edwards. "These incidents hurt America's moral standing, both in Iraq and around the world. And they serve as a tragic reminder of how the Bush Administration has outsourced our military responsibilities to corporate contractors and political cronies who operate outside of the rules of engagement and without any meaningful oversight."

For details on Edwards' plan, click here.

Meanwhile, Congress is expected to pass legislation tomorrow (H.R. 2740) introduced by Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) that would ensure all contractors working for the United States in the war zone are accountable to U.S. criminal law. Senate leaders have said they also plan to approve the measure and send it to President Bush.