Thursday, July 31, 2008

Contractor: Losing immunity would hurt Iraq mission

(CNN) -- An American contractor said Thursday the U.S. mission in Iraq will be undermined if the Iraqi government succeeds in revoking blanket legal immunity for American security contractors.

Carter Andress reacted to a Wednesday government report that said the removal of legal immunity for American private security contractors could set off an "exodus" from war-ravaged Iraq and "impose significant limitations" on American reconstruction efforts.

The scenario is outlined in the quarterly report issued to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Andress, whose firm builds bases for the Iraqi army and police and supplies those places with water, food, fuel and maintenance services, said about 40 percent of his staff is involved in security.

"We would undermine the U.S. mission here because they are so reliant on contractors," said Andress, co-founder of the American-Iraqi Solutions Group. "For better or for worse, that's reality."

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