Private Contractors in Iraq & Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by FFTT, May 22, 2007.

  1. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #1
    Just now listening to a very informative interview archive of yesterday's
    Diane Rehm show on WAMU.

    http://wamu.org/audio/dr/07/05/r1070521-13190.ram

    The discussion covers mercenary forces and their actions from corporations such as Dyncor and Blackwater.

    Highly recommended listening.

    In light of Bush's spin campaign on how Congress is holding up funding for
    "OUR TROOPS" it certainly makes you wonder where the money is really going to.

    I hope you will pass this link onto your friends.
     
  2. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #2
    Just a brief background on Blackwater.

    In 1997, Erik Prince founded Blackwater USA, expanding the family's Christian conservative empire into private security and war for hire.

    Erik is a former U.S. Navy SEAL and son of the late billionaire automotive parts supplier, Edgar. (In a Q&A published by the Virginian-Pilot on July 24, Erik noted some of his father's less successful ideas, including a sock drawer light and an automated ham de-boning device.)

    The elder Prince was widely known for his close association with anti-choice crusader Gary Bauer. Bauer was a domestic policy advisor in the Reagan White House before succeeding Jerry Regier (a former Reagan official, as well) for the leadership role of the Family Research Council (FRC) in 1988. With Edgar's help, Bauer put the FRC on the map. (When Edgar died in 1995, the company was sold for $1.4 billion.)

    Erik's sister Elizabeth, commonly referred to as Betsy, was the head of the Michigan Republican Party until early 2005. She is also the former finance chairwoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). She married Dick DeVos, the son of billionaire Amway co-founder (now under the name Alticor), Richard DeVos. Forbes ranked DeVos as the 121st richest person in the world in 2003 with an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion.

    Under DeVos' tutelage, Amway has donated roughly $7.5 million to Republican candidates since 1990. The contribution-tracking website, NewsMeat, lists personal campaign donations from DeVos; since February 1979, he has donated over $650,000 to Republicans, over $2 million to "special interests" and one lone contribution to a Democrat, Joe Torsella, in 2003.

    Richard and his wife Helen operate the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation and are known to have associations or donated to right-wing groups such as Focus on the Family, the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

    Dick and Betsy DeVos donate huge sums of money to Republican candidates and causes. In the 2004 cycle, the couple ranked fifth among the highest political donors with $981,846 to Republicans. In fact, from 1990 through 2006, the couple donated $2,491,270 to Republicans with only $1,000 going to Democrats back in 1992.
     
  3. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    #3
    Sounds downright evil! :rolleyes:
     
  4. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #4
    If you look at the timelines and the connection of Blackwater and Dyncorp
    going back to the Reagan administration and George H.W. Bush and Cheney's ties to Halliburton, we get a disturbing glimps into the world of the Military Industrial Complex and how this war for profit benefits from having the right people in power.

    There are huge problems with accountability, waste, fraud and abuse.
    Our enlisted soldiers make in some cases 1/10th of what these private
    contract soldiers earn.

    These mercenaries are deployed under an agreement with the Department
    of State, so they are not regulated the same way conventional troops are.

    Blackwater is the most powerful private army in the world.

    So the next time you hear George Bush or Dick Cheney mention funding for OUR TROOPS, consider where that money is really going.

    I strongly urge you to write your Congressman and demand answers.
     
  5. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    OBJECTIVE reality
    #5
    Omigod. This reads like some sort of pseudo-Christian Mafia, in terms of its having its tentacles into everything.
     
  6. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #6
    It's civilian contractors who drive the trucks with food, water, fuel and ammo for the troops. They work as bodyguards for various Iraqi officals. They do maintenance work on water lines and other facilities. They do construction work on schools and hospitals.

    The alternative is having enough men in our military such that the Quartermaster Corps, the Military Police and the Engineers would have the manpower for those jobs.

    A guy with mercenary training has a better chance of living through his time in a war zone.

    From a money standpoint, if these guys were active military, there would be all the Stateside infrastructure needed to support them when they're here. The monthly pay would be less, but payroll is just part of the cost picture. These CCs are just like consultants to business: When the job is done, it's, "Thanks, goodbye, see ya around."

    As far as Blackwater itself, if you're a walking-target politico in a violent country, would you rather have an untrained or poorly-trained local guy as your bodyguard, or somebody who's learned from guys who have "seen the elephant"? I'd prefer to learn from the BTDT guys, myself.

    'Rat
     
  7. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #7
    These contractors hire locals in most cases to do the grunt work, but charge
    the government huge profits under a cost plus agreement.

    What is under fire right now is how they are determining " cost ".

    If it were not for direct family business ties to the Bush-Cheney administration, it might be easier to believe these men have our best interests in mind. I think not!
     
  8. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #8
    Hey, local-hire has been part of the US deal since WW II. But I doubt they're doing the skilled work.

    I don't doubt that some of the charges are unwarranted. But GIs must go; civilians gotta be persuaded by $$$. Many of them aren't allowed to carry guns, so it's a crapshoot of $$$ vs. the odds of dying.

    Post-WW II and Korea, GIs did it all. Then, in Vietnam, RMK/Brown&Root came in and built the $1.2 billion Camh Ranh Bay facilities. After the force drawdown of the "Peace Dividend", we didn't have the military manpower for all this ancillary work. So, "civilian contractors" became the order of the day. And, after all, many outside the military had been pointing out that not all jobs within the military structure needed to be filled by militarily-trained personnel. Logical progression.

    Halliburton already had operative contracts going, so these contracts were extended. Made sense; the bidding process would have meant many months of delays and no services to the troops. Or it would have meant pulling a lot of troops from elsewhere. Again, a logical progression in what had been in place pre-Bush II.

    I dunno. I just write it off as "Well, that's what Government is good at: Wasting money." No different from post-Katrina. We bought tens of thousands of mobile homes and travel trailers, and now the government is wrecking the regular market with surplus sales. (But it's amazing how much damage those recipients of good-deeds-money could do in a year and a half; go to the GSA auctions website for photos.)

    Lotsa stuff I don't like, but nothing has changed in governmental style, these last forty or more years. Doubt it ever will.

    'Rat
     
  9. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #9
    I see nothing wrong with additional support, but this goes way beyond
    what most people would agree to if they were able to get a breakdown
    of where this money for OUR TROOPS is going.

    The administration is pandering to the compassion of the American people
    to help our troops, when in reality, this funding is going to support private
    business with extremely close ties to the administration and the Republican
    Neocon agenda.

    When you consider the amount of money involved, it's easy to see why
    Bush and Cheney were so Hell bent on getting into this war.
     
  10. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #10
    Ah but are mercenaries subject to the UCMJ?

    Once again, conservatives are Just Fine with a complete lack of oversight of what is being done in our name...
     
  11. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #11
    If you listened to the radio broadcast, there have been roughly 900 contractor
    deaths along with another 10,000 wounded that are not being included in the official reports.

    So we have already exceeded 4300 deaths and well over 30,000
    injured in this nightmare.

    Now obviously some of those dead and injured are foreign contractors, but they are still part of the so-called coalition of the willing.

    How many lies and deceptions are we to tolerate?

    We are being fleeced to benefit corporate greed and we deserve to
    know what has happened with our tax dollars retroactively.

    I strongly urge you to write your local representatives demanding full retroactive disclosure.
     
  12. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #12
    Wasn't that something Bush was fighting for? No oversight for them? No oversight for how much we pay them, no one making sure they follow the rules... winning combination if you ask me. :rolleyes:
     

Share This Page