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Forum Post: Privatizing the War on Terror: America’s Military Contractors

Posted 5 years ago on Oct. 21, 2012, 2:22 a.m. EST by TrevorMnemonic (5827)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

By John W. Whitehead, the Rutherford Institute, January 16, 2012

The Pentagon’s Central Command counts 225,000 contractors working in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

America’s troops may be returning home from Iraq, but contrary to President Obama’s assertion that “the tide of war is receding,” we’re far from done paying the costs of war. In fact, at the same time that Obama is reducing the number of troops in Iraq, he’s replacing them with military contractors at far greater expense to the taxpayer and redeploying American troops to other parts of the globe, including Africa, Australia and Israel. In this way, the war on terror is privatized, the American economy is bled dry, and the military-security industrial complex makes a killing—literally and figuratively speaking.

The war effort in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan has already cost taxpayers more than $2 trillion and could go as high as $4.4 trillion before it’s all over. At least $31 billion (and as much as $60 billion or more) of that $2 trillion was lost to waste and fraud by military contractors, who do everything from janitorial and food service work to construction, security and intelligence—jobs that used to be handled by the military. That translates to a loss of $12 million a day since the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan. To put it another way, the government is spending more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

with the U.S. spending more than $2 billion a week in Afghanistan, these examples of ineptitude and waste represent only a fraction of what is being funded by American taxpayer dollars. (Investigative reports reveal that large amounts of cash derived from U.S. aid and logistics spending are being flown out of the country on a regular basis by Afghan officials, including $52 million by the Afghan vice president, who was allowed to keep the money.) Yet what most Americans fail to realize is that we’re funding the very individuals we claim to be fighting. The war effort has become so corrupt that U.S. taxpayers are not only being bilked by military contractors but are also being forced to indirectly fund insurgents and warlords in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban, which receives money from military contractors in exchange for protection. This is rationalized away as a “cost of doing business” in those countries. As the Financial Times reports, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan “found that extortion of funds from US construction and transportation projects was the second-biggest funding source for insurgent groups.”

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[-] 4 points by GirlFriday (17435) 5 years ago

Excellent thread. One that we do not discuss enough.

[-] 4 points by Shule (2638) 5 years ago

U.S. driven wars overseas is the single biggest contributor to our failing economy here in the U.S.. Its one big suction taking money right out of our country, aside from creating so much uncertainty in the world which scares investors away. It is worse than China and Wall Street combined, not to mention the immorality of it all.

What I wonder is why OWS is not picking up on this, and focusing their efforts in on stopping this U.S. made terror upon the world.

If one wants to stop the 1%, stop the wars.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 5 years ago

War is one of the tools used to destroy true liberal voices.

From a recent post -

"Since the end of World War 1, the US has devoted staggering resources and money to battling real and imagined enemies. It turned the engines of the state over to a massive war and security apparatus. These battles, which have created an Orwellian state illusion of permanent war, neutered all opposition to corporate power and the tepid reforms of the liberal class. The liberal class, fearful of being branded as soft or unpatriotic in the Cold War, willingly joined the state's campaign to crush popular and radical movements in the name of national security. Permanent war is the most effective mechanism used by the power elite to stifle reform and muzzle dissent. A state of war demands greater secrecy, constant vigilance and suspicion. It generates distrust and fear, especially in culture and art, often reducing it to silence or nationalist cant. It degrades and corrupts education and media. It wrecks the economy. It nullifies public opinion. And it forces liberal institutions to sacrifice their beliefs for a holy crusade, a kind of surrogate religion, whether it is against the Hun, the Bolshevik, the fascist, the communist, or the Islamic terrorist. The liberal class in a state of permanent war is rendered impotent. " -Chris Hedges

We have 4 star generals going on Meet the Press acknowledging we're still in Afghanistan because of the trillions in resources

War is the ultimate tool of the 1%.

[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (5843) 5 years ago

Thank you Trevor for this post. It says so much.

No accountability, for filthy behavior of military contractors.

[-] 4 points by Shule (2638) 5 years ago

And the sick thing of it all is that a key reason why military contractors are being used rather than real U.S. military personal is that contractors have no accountability. They can do all those dirty deeds.

[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (5843) 5 years ago


[-] 0 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 5 years ago

The article is much longer if you didn't click the link. I just noticed I never added a "read more" at the bottom to specify. Just did now.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

That's right, RepubliCons want, plan, and plot to PRIVATIZE everything!! War Profiteering is just their cup of tea.

Just one of many fucked up things they do and strive for, in service of their 1% Bosses.

Yet you Unicorn Chasers keep whining that Cons and Dems are the same. WTFU!

[-] 0 points by bensdad (8977) 5 years ago

Since the powell memo, ronnie, and trickle down - . there has not been a revolution by the Rs
there has been a greed revolution
do ANYTHING for greed
privatize war, schools, prisons

[-] 2 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

That's THE important and true focus.

The Rs reckless and insatiable worship and greed-driven quest for 1% profit, regardless of the collateral death and damage it showers on people, societies, or country. And most often because of it.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

Obama is a better Republican than Bush.

[-] -1 points by yobstreet (-575) 5 years ago

Actually a far better Rep than Bush.

[-] 0 points by Shule (2638) 5 years ago

Depends on wether you call Bush a good Republican.

[-] -3 points by yobstreet (-575) 5 years ago

I like Bush on a personal level; he's down to earth and funny. But in terms of his working-class relationship, there's a lot to be desired. I think people, too, can jump and down about Iraq but the reality is that we were engaged at that time in a national conversation in which many supported retribution; he made the only decision possible. And then in error allowed too many to profit.

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 5 years ago

You're being too nice.

Personally, I'd ship him off to Malaysia. He's wanted for war crimes there.

[-] -1 points by yobstreet (-575) 5 years ago

Ohh... only crimes if one is with the party of opposition as Nasserist. I think Nasserist defines many here to a 'T'. Which would probably be preferable to a politicized Islam. But... as American, it's really none of our f*cking business anyway.

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 5 years ago

I'd still ship Bush off to Malaysia.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

Or Antarctica, or the Siberian front, or Alaska.

[-] -1 points by yobstreet (-575) 5 years ago