The White House's motives are obvious. Why fight another war, with all the bother of convincing Congress, if you can quietly hire a private military company to fight it for you? Why interrogate suspected insurgents if you can outsource the whole messy business? Why go through the tedious process of training Afghan judges if DynCorp will handle it instead -- as long as you're
not too picky about the results?
As for the corporations so eagerly lapping up the contracting dollars, there's no conspiracy -- it's just the good old profit motive. If the White House wants to sell off U.S. foreign policy, someone's going to buy it. Prince, the former Navy SEAL who founded Blackwater, is straightforward about his company's goal: "We're trying to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did for the Postal Service."
Since FedEx rendered the post office irrelevant for all but the most trivial forms of mail, this means you can kiss our national security apparatus goodbye.
Friday, September 21, 2007
The Empire's Tentacles
This war in Iraq has more twists and turns than Mulholland Drive. We knew that much of the support work for the military was being outsourced to private companies and we heard rumors that the CIA was doing the same, but now we are discovering that more and more of the "security" in Iraq and elsewhere is being handled by murky mercenary groups. These companies, which can hire out foreign nationals at a much lower salary than must be paid to American soldiers -- and without them having to count against our losses -- this is a win-win situation.
You can read more about this in a Rosa Brooks op-ed in the LA Times. But here is an important section:
Yes, and it is also a mark of an empire whose tentacles have reached out too far. Essentially we're fighting a war over which we have ceded control to well paid contractors. The message it seems is this -- there will be peace only at the point of a gun. Not the kind of peace Jesus has in mind.