Friday, September 28, 2007

Bush on Who Regulates Private Military Contractors in Iraq

Jay Leno he isn't. But he continues to work at it.

Just embarrassing.

Staying with the topic of private military contractors for the moment, T.P.M.'s Josh Marshall has had a number of very strong posts on this recently.

He cites a reader's thoughts about the growing prominence of private mercenary forces:

My colleagues and I would often debate the merits of privatization back at that time as well. I worked in military intelligence, and I think this was one of the first areas to go private. It never made sense to us that the U.S. Government would pay a contractor 10 times (or more) what we were making to do the EXACT same thing and with no guarantees that the results would be on par with ours or better.

From my experience and that of my friends, we also came to know certain contracting operators WERE in fact incompetent. This stemmed from the fact that private companies jumping into the bidding process to get a piece of the pie had never before done the work that we were doing.

He also reports on congressional testimony of U.S. Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates:

In testimony yesterday, Sec Defense Bob Gates said that one of the issues he's most concerned about is the way that private contractors in Iraq lure away active duty members of the military with promises of much higher salaries -- often to do more or less the same stuff they're doing in uniform. In fact, that problem is so bad that he's looking into whether or not he can get soldiers to sign non-compete agreements to prevent them from getting headhunted by the private contractors who are allegedly there in Iraq working for us.

This really casts in a sharp, almost comedic relief what's happening in the privatization of our military and what's becoming of what we used to call the basis of state sovereignty -- the monopoly on the legitimate use of force.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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