Sunday, July 29, 2007

Private Soldiers

A big reason why Bush managed to have the support for the Iraqi war as long and deep as he did in the US was due, in no small part, to the lack of a military draft. The downside of that has been the administration's determination to fight a war without enough troops. So in come the contractors, over 25,000 of them.

Today's WaPo has a large article on one of those private security companies, the Crescent Security Group (which is no longer in operation in Iraq, but which has four employees still in insurgent hands). Dozens of similar companies have operated and are still operating in Iraq. Blackwater became one of the better known when four employees were killed and publically hung in 2004. Millions of our tax dollars are passing through these companies' hands, with little to no watch dog over how they operate. The difference between this and the Iraqi's government inability to maintain operations over projects that millions of US dollars went into is -- IMHO -- minimal. How much for the contracts? Who knows, the Pentagon won't say. Once and a while some information slips out, such as the $293 million awarded to AEGIS Specialist Risk Management, a British company.

For those "on the ground" most are in it for the money - making more in a year than they could in a few months at home. But that money is gained at the risk of their lives, with some reports suggesting that contractors have higher mortality percentage rates than the US troops, but there are no official totals compiled or revealed.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of men and women working as mercenaries in Iraq, paid for by US money, are part of a system that continues to fly under the radar. The WaPo story shines some light on Crescent Security Group - the tales told no doubt similar in may of the other companies. But we won't know, because no one is looking.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Mark said...

After hearing about what some of our troops have done outside the law to citizens of Iraq, I can only imagine what these Soldiers of Fortune are doing to people. Can we ever recover from this black eye the US has given itself?

8:36 AM  
Blogger TomCat said...

If we can, it will take years, if not decades.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous breeze said...

Look even further to see corporate armies...it's already started.

10:08 PM  

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