Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites


Thursday, April 15, 2004


P.W. Singer's look at the growing role of Private Military Firms in Iraq is a must-read.

The size and scope of the private military contingent in Iraq also cut to the heart of the most troubling questions about the Bush administration's handling of the war. They point up the administration's inadequate planning and preparation, its lack of transparency about the war's financial and human cost, and its sense of denial about whether it put enough American troops on the ground to accomplish the task handed to them. The hiring of such a large private force and the ensuing casualties that it has taken outside of public awareness and discussion have served as a novel means for displacing some of the political costs of the war. Even more troubling, the growth of such an ad hoc market arrangement, lying outside the chain of command, makes an already tough mission even more difficult, and risks lives on both the troop and contractor side.(italics added)


The Iraq War is where the history books will note that the industry took full flight. Iraq is not just the biggest U.S. military commitment in a generation but also the biggest marketplace in the short history of the privatized military industry.

So who do you suppose is the biggest client in this burgeoning new marketplace? Why, the U.S. taxpayer, of course.

And where do the profits go? Well, to no one's surprise, Singer also notes that "In 2001, 10 leading private military firms spent more than $32 million on lobbying, while they invested more than $12 million in political campaign donations."

Ain't war grand?


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