The role of contractors in Iraq
Re “Contractors outnumber troops in Iraq,” July 4
One of the most disturbing aspects of the Bush administration’s reliance on contractors in the war in Iraq is shown in statistics not contained in this story.
American troops are being abused with extended tours of duty, over-reliance on the National Guard and recall to duty after their original tours have been completed. And they’re all being paid nominal military salaries for this abuse.
Meanwhile, how much are U.S. taxpayers shelling out for these American and foreign contractors? What is their average salary compared to that of an American soldier?
And with their numbers now exceeding that of American troops, what is the actual hidden toll in fatalities and injuries, which goes unreported because these contractors are not considered troops?
The American use of mercenaries in Iraq to enrich corporations has long been known, but The Times took the time to document it.
Our soldiers are not being supported by contractors; our troops are protecting the enrichment of the mercenaries.
Despite all of the fiction perpetrated by the Bush administration and reported by the media to make us think otherwise, was there ever any doubt that the real reason for the war was to maximize profits of private American corporations (and multinational oil companies)? The United States of Halliburton!
I worked for the Defense and State departments as a contract employee in Iraq for 19 months. It might seem incredible that contractors perform so many support roles that they actually outnumber the troops in a war zone.
This expansion in recent years in the use of contractors is controversial, but I believe for the most part justified. What I saw in Iraq was private security personnel filling in where our armed forces did not need to be.
Protecting key personnel, guarding convoys and defending supply depots has reduced the number of American troops needing to be deployed.
By hiring contractors, many of whose employees are former military, including Special Forces veterans, the government can bring on experts in their fields, from personal security to linguistics to crop irrigation, without incurring three major long-term costs of permanent government employees: pension, medical coverage and job security.
When the job is done, the contractors are gone.
This story shouldn’t surprise anyone except those who are still in denial about the Bush-Cheney war. Hooray for privatization!