Defense News

Friday, October 5, 2007

Subcontracting the War

There is, conveniently, no official count. But there are an estimated 160,000 private contractors working in Iraq, and some 50,000 of them are “private security” operatives.

Blackwater’s 850 operatives in Iraq are not the only problem. The fact that American diplomatic activity in Iraq nearly came to a halt when Blackwater was grounded for a few days shows how much American operations have come to depend on mercenaries.

The armed forces have relied on private contractors since the United States opted for an all-volunteer military after the end of the Vietnam War — mostly for noncritical tasks such as building or cooking.

Last November, an amendment was included in the defense authorization bill that put private contractors under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, exposing the contractors to a court martial just like any other American soldiers...MORE.

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