Excerpts from a Los Angeles Times article from the Fourth of July: "Private contractors outnumber U.S. troops in Iraq."
The number of U.S.-paid private contractors in Iraq now exceeds that of American combat troops, newly released figures show, raising fresh questions about the privatization of the war effort and the government's capacity to carry out military and rebuilding campaigns.So don't feel bad. Your hard-earned tax money helps support the economy.
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 buildup, 160,000 soldiers and a few thousand civilian government employees are stationed in Iraq. The total number of private contractors, far higher than previously reported, shows how heavily the Bush administration has relied on corporations to carry out the occupation of Iraq — a mission criticized as being undermanned. . . .
"We don't have control of all the coalition guns in Iraq. That's dangerous for our country," said William Nash, a retired Army general and reconstruction expert. The Pentagon "is hiring guns. You can rationalize it all you want, but that's obscene."
The numbers include at least 21,000 Americans, 43,000 foreign contractors and about 118,000 Iraqis — all employed in Iraq by U.S. tax dollars, according to the most recent government data.
Of Iraq. (Where American managerial skills have been successfully employed for five years! So I'm sure that money's being used efficiently.)
And the economy of Blackwater. (They thank you but are too shy to say so themselves.)
Also see Jeff's excelent posts, The Dogs of War. The Privatization and Outsourcing Mania Goes Over the Top and "Outsourcing Mania Gone Over the Top: The Privatization of Government as a Threat to Democracy."