May 04, 2010
These Guns for Hire

President Nixon figured out that you could sell only sell permanent warfare to the suckers if you stopped drafting their sons and raised military salaries just enough to make a soldier suit look like a better deal than a McDonald’s uniform.

The trouble was, however, that soldiers weren’t like the rest of the military-industrial complex. They didn’t have lobbyists you could get political donations from. The payday lenders were cleaning up, but that was about it. The whole situation was an affront to free market principles.

Time to privatize, offshore, contract out, spin off all but the Pentagon’s core competency — procurement. Remember when mercenaries used to be ethically dubious guns for hire, like the Hessians? Well, we’re not in Valley Forge anymore, Toto.

The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld triumvirate did a lot of the heavy lifting, but now President Obama is showing us how a real privateer does it:

The Obama administration is infinitely worse in Afghanistan in terms of its employment of mercenaries and other private contractors than the Bush administration. Right now in Afghanistan there are 104,000 Department of Defense contractors alongside 68,000 U.S. troops.

There is almost a 2-to-1 ratio of private-sector for-profit forces that are on the U.S. government payroll versus the active-duty or actual military forces in the country. And that is not taking into account the fact that the State Department has 14,000 contractors in Afghanistan.

“Within a matter of months, and certainly within a year, the United States will have upwards of 220,000 to 250,000 U.S. government-funded personnel occupying Afghanistan, a far cry from the 70,000 U.S. soldiers that those Americans who pay attention understand the United States has in Afghanistan,” Scahill said.

“This is a country where the president’s national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, said there are less than 100 al-Qaida operatives who have no ability to strike at the United States. That was the stated rationale and reasoning for being in Afghanistan. It was to hunt down those responsible for 9/11.”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at May 04, 2010 05:52 PM
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This is why we'll never get rid of Blackwater. Being homicidal and christian is a feature, not a bug.

Posted by: Miriam on May 4, 2010 10:08 PM
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