Your Tax Dollars At Work: War On Terror Edition

September 1, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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As of October 27, 2007:

The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could total $2.4 trillion through the next decade, or nearly $8,000 per man, woman and child in the country, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate scheduled for release Wednesday.

What are we spending all that money on?

The number of military contractors in Afghanistan rose to almost 74,000 by June 30, [2009] far outnumbering the roughly 58,000 U.S. soldiers on the ground at that point. As the military force in Afghanistan grows further, to a planned 68,000 by the end of the year, the Defense Department expects the ranks of contractors to increase more.

We heard about this situation in Iraq in July 2007:

More than 180,000 civilians — including Americans, foreigners and Iraqis — are working in Iraq under U.S. contracts, according to State and Defense Department figures obtained by the Los Angeles Times. Including the recent troop surge, 160,000 soldiers and a few thousand civilian government employees are stationed in Iraq.

Of course, with the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the numbers are only becoming more skewed.

President Obama has been replacing soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with private contractors—some 250,000 are currently deployed overseas—including Blackwater (operating under another alias.)

These private contractors are paid substantially more than Americans who voluntarily join the military to serve their country because they’re serving in a war zone. “It pays quite well. There’s a lot of contracts that pay anywhere from $350 a day to $1,500 a day,” said Chris Boyd of Kroll-Crucible Security.

Meanwhile, that patriotic American who has volunteered to serve his or her country?

A member assigned to or deployed to a combat zone receives “combat pay” (officially called “immiment [sic] danger pay”) at the rate of $225.00 per month.

This is what $350 a day to $1,500 a day buys:

Guards have come to POGO with allegations and photographic evidence that some supervisors and guards are engaging in near-weekly deviant hazing and humiliation of subordinates. Witnesses report that the highest levels of AGNA management in Kabul are aware of and have personally observed—or even engaged in—these activities, but have done nothing to stop them. Indeed, management has condoned this misconduct, declining to take disciplinary action against those responsible and allowing two of the worst offending supervisors to resign and allegedly move on to work on other U.S. contracts. The lewd and deviant behavior of approximately 30 supervisors and guards has resulted in complete distrust of leadership and a breakdown of the chain of command, compromising security.

Numerous emails, photographs, and videos portray a Lord of the Flies environment. One email from a current guard describes scenes in which guards and supervisors are “peeing on people, eating potato chips out of [buttock] cracks, vodka shots out of [buttock] cracks (there is video of that one), broken doors after drnken [sic] brawls, threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity….” (Attachment 2) Photograph after photograph shows guards—including supervisors—at parties in various stages of nudity, sometimes fondling each other. These parties take place just a few yards from the housing of other supervisors.

Some of “the boys” at play:

Employees of ArmorGroup North America—a unit of contracting giant Wackenhut, private contractors who guard State Department employees in Kabul, Afghanistan,.

Employees of ArmorGroup North America—a unit of contracting giant Wackenhut, private contractors who guard State Department employees in Kabul, Afghanistan,.

This is just so wrong on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start, but when I look at these pictures, I see the private contractors as our for-profit healthcare industry and our volunteer military as “government-run healthcare.”

Explain to me how “private enterprise” provides essential services more economically and of better quality than the government.


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