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Because Iraq Doesn't Take American Express

We are constantly hearing about the cost of the Iraq war, as President Bush asks for more and more money to get the troops what they need. This has been the most expensive war in history, mostly due to the use of private contractors, hired to do jobs the American military used to.

Above: The Iraq War has been the most privatized
war in our nation's history.

But the American military isn't what it used to be. As the Clintons tried to convince us we were cashing in a 90s "peace dividend," they gutted our armed forces and virtually halved our military resources. This also led to a slew of early retirements, as military men and women refused to serve under the Clinton administration.

The cost of contractor billings has gotten completely out of control, having gone up 50% a year between 2004 and 2006. This is mostly due to lack of oversight, which is almost impossible to achieve in hostile areas. Right now, KBR (an engineering and construction company and former Halliburton subsidiary) is reportedly billing $500 million per month. Most of this money goes to salaries and benefits, which have to be taxed.

The use of private companies is absolutely incompatible with the nature of warfare, and will only escalate the cost of a war that is bankrupting our nation.

Contracted employees can just say no. A soldier can't say no; he follows orders or he goes to jail. Private employees are not bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and can simply go home. The only recourse the military has is claiming a "breach of contract," which can never reverse the damage done by such a breach.

Above: Nisour Square. Eight Iraqis were killed here in a
shooting involving Blackwater private security officers.

Early in the war, a KBR truck driver named Tommy Hamill was kidnapped. After the incident, numerous KBR employees left their jobs to return to the United States. This was partly the reason for over 1,000 trucks being stuck on the Kuwaiti border, forcing the Army to ration food. Why would you want to place control of a vital trucking supply line in the hands of a private contractor?

Or have your laundry done by Halliburton for $99 dollars per load?

These companies have simultaneous obligations to the military and their stockholders, and what's good for Wall Street often isn't good for America. Maximizing profits doesn't do much for our boys. And with KBR, Halliburton, and Blackwater on the scene, why even join the military at all? After all, if you can make 6 figures working for a for-profit security corporation (taxpayer money stolen and given to you), what's so great about the army?

In war, you do anything possible against your own interests to crush your enemy. In business, the real war is to protect those interests (which means profits).


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