Small world it is (Iraqi contractors' kidnapping)

Um, yeah, note that that you have to satisfy all those criteria, not just one, and I’m pretty sure that PSCs aren’t covered under the first few since they’re not hired to “fight” they’re hired to “protect”.

Oh, dude, you are adorably naive at times. How exactly are they supposed to protect things? Aggressively advocating in the public forum? Handing out coupons to the dissatisfied? Processing claims forms and advising against statistically outlying risk packages?

Also a possibility.

“Fight”, to me, implies a certain aggressive stance, but that’s neither here nor there. The fact is that the rest of the critera also aren’t valid, since the PSCs are hired by the fucking host nation. Unless you’re just going to say that anyone hired by a country and given a gun is a merc, which opens up the definition considerably.

I think 150k+$.

From what i understand the Iraq war messed him up pretty bad. The kind that blows all his money on a huge empty house and drinks a bottle a day of the most expensive whiskey money can buy, while staring blankly over a balconey into the night while all his civvy friends try to have fun at the party he’s invited them to attend.

I think for many vets, after being made numb to war and death, and being pretty messed up yourself, and with your most marketable skills being those that kill people, the path to the “civilian contractor” is a pretty clear one, a path which was also not generally open to the Vietnam vet coming from a similar situation.

Yes, but that’s only a superficial analysis and the actual issues are a lot sadder and more grim. The typical Vietnam vet was drafted, and as such had little interest in pursuing military-like work after returning to the states.

Many of the civilian contractors today are ex-SF and/or retired, and in some cases they do it for the extreme money, other times for patriotic duty (i.e. civilian contractors working for OGAs), and very often because they’re addicted to the thrill. But the reality is that of the bulk of ex-military, very few actually fit the mold for a civilian contractor.

Where you see the big transition is when you get the gung-ho bad-ass heavily trained guys that, for whatever reason, exit the military. They figure they can come home and transition to a decent job – but they can’t. Their skills aren’t marketable, so they end up working as either Wells Fargo security guards or cops, neither of which pay for shit or offer the same thrill.

So when a company like Blackwater or TripleCanopy or ArmorGroup comes knocking, it’s a chance to get back into play but, most important, on your own terms. A lot of civilian contractors love the fact that they can still be military type personnel without having to honor military chain of command – the majors and generals that pissed them off can go to hell now. They look at the money, their malaise with their current situation, and they head back to Iraq or Afghanistan.

The part that’s fucked up is how amazingly expensive this is for the American public, because many security contracts are on a “cost plus” basis which means that once everyone has taken their cut, that civvy contractor making $500 day is costing the government $5000 day or more, with the vast chunk of it going to execs at the security companies who are constantly subbing out to each other. KBR subs to Blackwater who might sub some of their stuff to another smaller outfit, etc.

To make matters worse, all this profit is based off the investment that the American military made in someone. 20 years of SF training which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars is then monetized by a company that puts that trained soldier through a 2-week readiness test.

So why do it? For the same reasons that everyone loves contractors, military or otherwise – flexibility, instead ability to staff up, low long term burden (no benefits, pension, etc.), and in the case of the US military, near absolution of responsibility in case one of the PSCs goes nutso and kills a bunch of civilians.

All the news of guys raping and killing civilians sucks when it’s a US military man, it’s a bitch to spin the PR, but if it’s a contractor the government can just point and say “Shit, we had nothing to do with this, go talk to Blackwater, we trusted them to handle this shit”. The ability to dodge culpability is worth an immense amount of money.

All in all, it’s an incredibly fucked up situation for everyone involved.

All the news of guys raping and killing civilians sucks when it’s a US military man, it’s a bitch to spin the PR, but if it’s a contractor the government can just point and say “Shit, we had nothing to do with this, go talk to Blackwater, we trusted them to handle this shit”. The ability to dodge culpability is worth an immense amount of money.

Which reminds me of that sick video that made the rounds on the net several months ago of a “contractor” indiscriminately shooting Iraqi drivers while an Elvis toon plays in the background. Truly sick shit.

Just going by your post, that’s actually the least fucked up thing about all this.

Wow, I hate this government even more now. Didn’t think there was anything left to let that be possible.

An uncle of a friend is doing some bodyguard work in Iraq. Apparently the firm he works for is seriously jacked up, better equipped than the US army and much more clued up. Most of the guys working with him have experience fighting in the guerilla war in Angola. He says he can’t believe some of the tactics the US army uses.

So that’s Rummy’s war on the cheap slimmed down army?
Farm out alot of the mundane duties to private companies who probably charge alot more for their services than it would cost the army to provide (I’m guessing, maybe they are cheaper)…and we’re wondering why the cost of this war has exceeded Nam?

Seems like a hell of a lot of people haven’t watched Shadow Company then.

Go. Watch. It’s very interesting.

Yes. It boosts manpower for mundane tasks without taking soldiers away from search-and-destroy functions. I believe, but I haven’t verified, that things like embassy security are now being outsourced instead of using Marine contingents.

Other advantages include the use of foreign nationals in PSCs – if they get killed, the American body count doesn’t go up – and estimates of required troop strength don’t have to take into account civilian contractors.

PSCs actually make a lot of sense for a lot of things, but because they’re basically completely unaccountable and unregulated, they’re being abused or misused tremendously by the government and by their owners. And keep in mind that PSCs, as an industry, basically sprang up overnight with Afghanistan. As the author of Licensed to Kill says, “the occupation of Iraq did for PSCs what the Web browser did for dot coms”.

A final note: because PSCs can be used by executive order, they’re also a scary way of bypassing Congressional approval for war-like actions.

Again, you are describing mercenaries.

Yes. But “mercenaries” has connotations that don’t necessarily apply to all these companies - so it makes sense to move people away from the name that brings to mind failed coups in Africa, etc.

Tough shit, if a mercenary is what you are, a mercenary is what you are. I’m a lawyer, and there are lots of bad ideas about lawyers in pop culture, I think I will now refer to my profession as; STARCHILDE of the HAWKMISTER.

Private Security Contractors will make money hand over fist as long as the conflict continues. With those incentives, what could possibly go wrong?

Flowers: Has lawyering completely changed focus in the last 5-10 years then?

Has killing people for money?

A Merc can quite easily do his job without killing anyone. As is explained earlier in this thread, they are hired for defensive duties such as convoys etc.