There are a growing number of private military contractors, PMC's, that until now have gone unnoticed for the most part, hidden in the pork fat of other more visible companies like Halliburton, but not all the people in Iraq and Afghanistan working on contract, are building roads and driving trucks. As confused and disapproving as the American public may be about the reported insurgency, imagine their reaction as they discover an additional layer of secret mercenaries who could very well be either forming death squads or driving their getaway cars after assassinations.
"We know virtually nothing about this. We think about 40 cents of every dollar goes to private military contractors. We think about 800 of them have been killed in Iraq, but we don't know that. They're not even counted. And we think there's about 25,000 to 40,000 engaged in military activities, combat-related activities. And we can't find out."-Jan Schakowsky
According to Jeremy Scahill of The Nation in his new book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army,
"The often overlooked subplot of the wars of the post-9/11 period is their unprecedented scale of outsourcing and privatization. From the moment the US troop buildup began in advance of the invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon made private contractors an integral part of the operations. Even as the government gave the public appearance of attempting diplomacy, Halliburton was prepping for a massive operation. When US tanks rolled into Baghdad in March 2003, they brought with them the largest army of private contractors ever deployed in modern war. By the end of Rumsfeld's tenure in late 2006, there were an estimated 100,000 private contractors on the ground in Iraq--an almost one-to-one ratio with active-duty American soldiers." Scahill continues:
"To the great satisfaction of the war industry, before Rumsfeld resigned he took the extraordinary step of classifying private contractors as an official part of the US war machine. In the Pentagon's 2006 Quadrennial Review, Rumsfeld outlined what he called a 'road map for change' at the DoD, which he said had begun to be implemented in 2001.
[The report] defined the 'Department's Total Force' as its active and reserve military components, civil servants, and contractors--making up its warfighting capability and capacity. Members of the Total Force serve in thousands of locations around the world, performing a vast array of duties to accomplish critical missions.' This formal designation represented a major triumph for war contractors--conferring on them a legitimacy they had never before enjoyed."
Jon Voight as Milo Minderbinder, defending his profiteeringThe above scene from Catch 22 reminds us of a looming possibility of corruption and profiteering. Though they were just playing characters, the actors in this Middle Eastern play are real. Some of these private soldiers are making more in one month than their military counterparts are making in a year, yet they have no accountability to the Uniform Code of Military Justice in most cases. Their deaths and injuries are not reported and their activities are likely illegal according to various treaties the US has signed over the years.
Catch 22, 1970
Catch 22, 1970
"Contractors have provided the Bush Administration with political cover, allowing the government to deploy private forces in a war zone free of public scrutiny, with the deaths, injuries and crimes of those forces shrouded in secrecy. The Administration and the GOP-controlled Congress in turn have shielded the contractors from accountability, oversight and legal constraints. Despite the presence of more than 100,000 private contractors on the ground in Iraq, only one has been indicted for crimes or violations. 'We have over 200,000 troops in Iraq and half of them aren't being counted, and the danger is that there's zero accountability,' says Democrat Dennis Kucinich, one of the leading Congressional critics of war contracting."It seems that one layer of corruption after another acts as distraction from even larger evils, lurking underneath. Of course, one has to wonder who is watching hen house during this minority controlled insurgency?
Iraq For Sale, 1hr15min (Complete)