top
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Sat Apr 7 2007
Making a Killing: America's Private Army and the Business of War
Sat Apr 7 2007
Making a Killing: America's Private Army and the Business of War
On January 20th the Iraqi resistance shot down a Blackhawk helicopter killing thirteen American soldiers. Three days later, just hours before Bush would give his State of the Union address, a Little Bird helicopter was shot down, killing five more Americans—but this incident didn’t make nearly the amount of news as the former. While the five men died in combat, they were not members of the US military. They were employees of Blackwater USA, the shining star in a new breed of corporation specializing in private soldiers—also known as mercenaries.

These private companies are part of a huge surge in the outsourcing of war, which is extremely evident in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, Colombia, Haiti, and numerous other countries. Private contractors are the second-largest con- tingent of the “Coalition of the Willing” with a ratio of about one armed con- tractor for every two American soldiers. This is up from a ratio of one to sixty during the first Gulf War. The Pentagon estimates the number of contractors at around 100,000—but this is only an estimate because after four years in Iraq the military is only now beginning a survey to find the size of its contractor force.

According to the Government Accountability Office, approximately 48,000 of these contractors are working in Iraq as private soldiers, about six times the number of British troops in the country. Their roles include everything from operators of US military aircraft to security guards to bodyguards for high-level officials to interrogators (such as the CACI employees involved in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal).

For political purposes it is in the interests of the US government to build a large army of private soldiers. Even though 770 contractors have been killed in Iraq and 7,761 have been injured, they are not included in the official US death toll. Perhaps even more have been killed but the Pentagon doesn’t track contractor deaths, citing military regulations as the reason for this lack of oversight. Figures have to be deduced from insurance claims filed through the Depart- ment of Labor. Plus, if contractors are used for missions that are not quite legal or want to be distanced from official policy, their actions are completely deniable as they are not employees of the US government. This is the case along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where American forces are not allowed to venture into Pakistani territory.



Read More
02/24/17 Activists Protest HP Enterprise for Profiteering from Racism in Israel-Palestine and U.S. Anti-War | San Francisco | U.S. | International | Palestine02/24/17 Protest After Fresno Mayor Lee Brand Says City Will Not Provide Sanctuary for Immigrants Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | Central Valley | Government & Elections | Immigrant Rights02/23/17 Shortly After Shutdowns of College Speaking Events, Milo Shunned by His Own People Racial Justice | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Education & Student Activism | Central Valley | East Bay | U.S. | Immigrant Rights02/17/17 Santa Cruz DA Won't File Charges Against Police Officer Who Killed Man Holding Garden Rake Front Page | Police State and Prisons | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Santa Cruz Indymedia02/16/17 Nationwide Ramp-Up of Highly Militarized ICE Raids Includes California's Central Coast Front Page | Police State and Prisons | California | U.S. | Immigrant Rights | Santa Cruz Indymedia02/15/17 Number of Monarchs Overwintering in California Remains Low Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | California | U.S. | International | Americas | Santa Cruz Indymedia02/15/17 Civil Rights Groups Condemn New York City's Fordham University Ban on SJP Front Page | Education & Student Activism | U.S. | Palestine02/14/17 Safe Drinking Water Exemptions Allow Oil Companies to Dump Waste Fluid Into Aquifers Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Central Valley | East Bay | California | Government & Elections | Santa Cruz Indymedia02/13/17 Eight Banks Funding the Dakota Access Pipeline Protested Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Racial Justice | Peninsula | U.S.02/13/17 Dam Maintenance Neglected as Governor Brown Promotes Delta Tunnels Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Central Valley | California | Government & Elections02/09/17 International Women's General Strike on March 8: Walk Out, March and Demonstrate Front Page | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Labor & Workers | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | LGBTI / Queer | Womyn | U.S. | International
Related Categories: International | Anti-War | Fault Lines
Nuclear Shutdown News February 2017 Michael Steinberg Sunday Feb 26th 9:14 PM
This Week in Palestine, February 24, 2017 IMEMC Friday Feb 24th 10:47 PM
This Week in Palestine, February 17, 2017 IMEMC Saturday Feb 18th 7:32 PM
This Week in Palestine, February 10, 2017 IMEMC Friday Feb 10th 9:18 PM
Monarch Butterfly Population Drops by Nearly One-third Center for Biological Diversity Friday Feb 10th 3:26 PM
This Week in Palestine, February 3, 2017 IMEMC Friday Feb 3rd 7:45 PM
México : Gasolinazo, cólera proletaria y reformismo en punto muerto. partido comunista internacional Thursday Feb 2nd 5:31 PM
"We have a dream, may Hueyapan becomes autonomous municipality" Demián Revart Wednesday Feb 1st 1:26 AM
Googlers Are Committed To Direct Action Against The Ban #GooglersUnite (1 comment) Monday Jan 30th 4:44 PM
IG Leaflet: LET THEM IN! Internationalist Group Sunday Jan 29th 4:16 PM
This Week in Palestine, January 28th, 2017 IMEMC Friday Jan 27th 10:14 PM
Oversight Board Meets as Puerto Rico Crisis Deepens Greg Williams Friday Jan 27th 2:01 PM
A Long View of Trumpistan's Prospects DLi Friday Jan 27th 3:22 AM
Congress Could Repeal Bipartisan Anti-Corruption Measure Greg Williams Thursday Jan 26th 1:33 PM
Israel is no Democracy: A letter to Jimmy Panetta Sheila Carrillo (1 comment) Tuesday Jan 24th 9:32 PM
On The Propriety Of Punching Nazis, An FAQ Indiana Jones Sunday Jan 22nd 12:16 AM
This Week in Palestine, January 20th, 2017 IMEMC Friday Jan 20th 10:20 PM
Free Korean Lee Jin-Young of Labor Books Now!!! International Campaign to Free LJY 2017 Saturday Jan 14th 5:27 PM
This Week in Palestine, January 13th, 2017 IMEMC Friday Jan 13th 10:14 PM
More News...