I’m on a number of global email lists that discuss privatised security post 9/11. This is from an anonymous retired navy captain:
Somebody’s civilian friends or benefactors have always been making money on our wars. The funny twist is how the “military industrial complex” of years gone by has evolved into a “personnel support complex” in addition. When I went to Iraq in 09 I brought all the learning CDs for Arabic in anticipation of that being the language I would need to know. When I came home I spoke more Hindi and Swahili. KBR and others take their contracts …and sub-contract to some Arab company,, like in Dubai. They in turn hire “third” world country employees for peanuts..say $500 a month…charge them a finders fee for the job and front them their airfare to Iraq. Then the worker has to work for 5 or 6 months to repay the debt before they can send dollar one home to their starving family in Nepal, India, Peru, Uganda or the Philippines. Sounding like slave labor yet? Hold your horses…then some of them live in unsafe shanty towns built right inside our bases, like Camp Victory. Add insult to that already abusive relationship and some, like from Sri Lanka, get a small portion of some nondescript “chicken” dish two or three times a day as their sustenance. I gave most of my “care” packages from caring US citizens to them, just so they could have something better.
So where did that huge check for the contract go? …in some fat cat’s (corporation’s) pocket…with the second largest payment to the Dubai company. All the time, the workers keep at it for a small pittance of what any soldier or western worker would make. I befriended the Indians and Ugandans the most. The Indians ran all the mess halls and the Ugandans provided armed security for the ECPs (Entry Control Points – to wit: entrance gates and provided the armed guards at the mess hall entrees). Did you get that one? Our personal safety was placed in the hands of someone from a continent where they could likely have been a child soldier….and they had guns with bullets at the entrance of the mess hall to keep you out if you didn’t have the right ID or uniform.
and as for the why? Have you all forgotten? We were downsizing in Iraq. D.C. had to show the numbers of military going down. You have never seen a report in the media showing the numbers of civilians working for the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan unless you dig pretty deep into Google. You also didn’t see the numbers of those civilians killed in the nightly news reports.
When Blackwater got a all the bad press they passed those same contracts over to foreign companies like Aegis (British) who had an excess of UK infantrymen from the IRA war that were unemployed. So get this, US Army generals have all their security detail from the UK. It’s all numbers. Of course, we are entirely out of Iraq now, right? Maybe not! Who is doing the “on the ground” security for the US State Dept now that we have left? I think you get the picture.
Reinstate the DRAFT! America now has 1% of the population defending our freedom. There is a Warrior Class now that is not understood. When we pull our troops out of Afghanistan how many Americans will thank those in uniform for their service when they travel in the airports?
As the Roman Empire got weaker, the emperors hired Germanic people to work as Roman soldiers. It all went down from there. Do a Google for “Romans hired Germanics. It’s all academic from there.
“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” George Santayana (1863 – 1952), The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905. When Rome ran out of money, the empire collapsed.
I hope the USA can last as long as Rome…but I don’t hold much faith in that proposition.
Let’s start a pool. Which “next” war comes first? Syria, Egypt or Iran? Extra point spread if it is another country.