Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007
It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey
the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog,
passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.
To those who have come to trust
The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial
tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped
lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects
and interest categories where others feared to tread.
Please keep Steve's friends and family in your
thoughts and prayers.
Steve meant so much to us.
We will miss him terribly.
photo by lindsay beyerstein
It is time to withdraw...the contractors and mercenaries.
There are hundreds of thousands of them. They have cost the US government, meaning the US taxpayers, tens of billions of dollars. They have exacerbated the cultural and political conflict through improper behavior and improper training. They have participated in massive fraud - losing billions of dollars in government allotted contract money, extorting and cheating on critical deliveries of necessary items and supplies.
They perform (actually they DON'T!) tasks that could and should be performed by the Iraqi people; tasks that could and should be performed by the US military. The Iraqi people have the expertise, know-how, and connections to do construction, rebuilding, maintenance, and security - cheaper, more efficiently, and with a better eye for their own peoples' needs. The US military can (and up until this conflict, always has) provide meals, shelter, water, and logistical support for the troops and forward bases.
Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel, Blackwater and all the other corporate leeches getting fat off of taxpayer dollars and FAILING to deliver on the promised critical supplies and support, need to go. We do not need to keep paying them to do the job: 1) Because the job cannot be done by them, and 2) Because they have patently failed to do that job, even with billions of dollars of cash, the support of the US military, and a free hand to do as they please in Iraq, regardless of the consequences of their actions.
Let's begin the immediate drawdown of the estimated 100,000 to 150,000 private contractors in Iraq. Let congress legislate the removal of the estimated 40,000 mercenaries in Iraq. I dont think Americans should be paying for the Iraqi PM's security and certainly not at the rates Blackwater charges - Iraqis can do that.
We do not think the US taxpayer should pay for overpriced, poor quality construction projects in Iraq - Iraqis can build schools, bridges, and power plants! If we want to pay for it, we should be paying the Iraqi construction companies, not the contractors. Besides, Bechtel is the same company that completely fucked up the Big Dig in Boston - how can we expect that they would be able to complete anything in a war zone, in a foreign nation?? They have not delivered on ANY of their promises...but the profits keep rolling in.
We think calling for the withdrawal of all non-essential personnel from Iraq would be a prudent thing at this stage. Democrats in the House and Senate can point to the billions we are paying these people without oversight. It's time to take these men and women out of harms way.
Using mercenaries and outsourcing war was never a good idea. Nor was
it ever, by any stretch of the imagination, cost effective. There were only 10,000 civilian contractors used in the first gulf war. This is 10- or 20-fold increase, all at the expense of the American taxpayer, with reduced results...and one could argue exceptionally bad, negative results. Remember Fallujah? That area blew up in large part due to the actions of "contractors"...and it has been these same "contractors"
(read mercenaries) who have been at the "forefront" of cultural estrangement, shooting up houses, strong-arming the locals, and even worse, on a regular basis.
We call for the immediate withdrawal of all non essential personnel, which would mean all private contractors and mercenaries in the employ of the Bush administration.
Time to stop pouring money into the (offshore) accounts of the big multinationals; time to stop letting them run roughshod over the locals, over our soldiers, and exacerbating a conflict that they had a big hand in bungling; time to remove that particular bit of salt from the wounds. Bring those "contractors" home, save a bundle of money, remove a serious irritant, and use the savings to fully protect our troops.
HubrisSonic and RedDan
Labels: Contractors, Iraq, Withdrawal