Sunday, April 04, 2004

Privatizing Our Wars

Who Are Today's Mercenaries?

James Glanz of the New York Times writes an interesting article describing the experience of today's "modern mercenaries" in Iraq. (Thanks to James for the insight). These guys (and gals?) are fighting the war on behalf of you and me, since our taxpayer dollars go toward paying them God-knows-how-much via government contracts. (Blackwater Security Consulting alone won a $35.7 million contract with the Pentagon to train over 10,000 soldiers from several states in the U.S. in the art of 'force protection,' according to Mother Jones magazine.)
The quote, "It's a bloody awful job, with guys having to live a very monastic life", makes you wonder why anyone would want to sign up for the job of "Soldier of Fortune". The money must be awfully appealing. Many of them are ex-U.S.-military. I wonder why they decided not to continue with military service and turn to the private market instead? Maybe there wasn't enough financial reward in it? I don't suppose many active military men and women pull in $250K each year.
I'd love to see more articles about what makes these people "tick". We support our troops. Now, do we support our contractors? Are we supposed to? To what extent? Are we unpatriotic if we forget to say we support the contractors? I mean, I wish them well, but what are they, exactly? They're hired help..right? These are individuals who are not obligated to follow orders or follow the Military Code of Conduct. They pledge allegiance to the employer.

The Independent UK: Coalition of the Mercenaries- Occupiers Spend Millions on Private Army of Security Men
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