Sunday, April 15, 2007

Let's Withdraw From Iraq Down to Real Soldiers

So today someone actually struck up a political conversation with your favorite moonbat. At work. This may be a first. And it was even international politics, even if it was just about Iraq. Now I live in a Democratic state where it's a rare Republican who supports the troop surge with any language stronger than "can we please not talk about politics today?" So it's no big surprise that the Iraq veterans I work with are.. gasp... Democrats and think withdrawal is spot on. One of them felt like venting a bit, at length, about an article which otherwise would have gone unnoticed, about those American mercenaries- oh sorry, private security contractors, in Iraq. There's nothing that annoyed my veteran friend than the subject of someone who got paid about 100% more than himself with his own tax dollars, payable today, April 15th.

And you know, my good veteran has a point. How have we gotten to the point in our love affair with all things privately contracted that Rambo gets paid more than GI Joe when they ride on the same convoy and guard the same checkpoint? How have we gotten to the point when we think all of these mercenaries are free, and accept that so many of our soldiers are on food stamps? For those who snarl that people spit on soldiers, isn't this ... worse? Here you have guys getting paid $600 a day to drive around as guards, even for Bremer himself, and my good veteran doesn't make enough in the reserves to keep his cellphone turned on 6 months out of twelve. Isn't how much you value a soldier measured by how much you value his service on payday? Or just parade day?

Moonbat became highly irked with Petraeus over this particular issue given that he likes mercenaries even when they are 'compromised.'

"Beyond that, tens of thousands of ministry security forces and tens of thousands of civilian (often third country) contracted guard forces protect key sites in Baghdad (including, for example, the US Embassy, MNSTC-I HQs, the Ministry of Oil, etc.) that MNF-I and the Iraqi government would otherwise have to detail soldiers or police to protect. These forces, again, number in the tens of thousands – and although by no means all are of high capability and some are undoubtedly compromised, they do secure hundreds of sites that otherwise would require coalition or Iraqi military or police forces."

Why does that make accountability sound like an accounting hat-trick?

How about we add a string to this supplemental bill to withdraw foreign mercenaries from Iraq- especially if they happen to be American or be employed by America. And oh we have them there and we have almost no control:

"In November of 2005 a disgruntled Aegis ex-employee posted a so-called "trophy video" on the Internet depicting Aegis contractors—Tim Spicer's men—shooting at Iraqis in civilian cars. In one sequence, the Aegis team opens fire with an automatic weapon at an approaching silver Mercedes. The Mercedes rams a taxi, sending the taxi's occupants running. In another sequence, an Aegis employee fires at a white sedan, running it off the road. Elvis Presley's "Mystery Train" provides the soundtrack. Aegis subsequently conducted an investigation and concluded that the actions represented "legitimate operations" undertaken in compliance with the rules of engagement. Aegis argued further that the video was "taken out of context" and noted that there was no evidence that civilians had been killed. The Pentagon looked into the video and declined to take further steps.

According to a February 2006 Government Accountability Office report, there were approximately 48,000 private military contractors in Iraq, employed by 181 different companies. There may now be many more. These are the kinds of people Tim Spicer and Aegis are supposed to coordinate. The bulk of the military contractors are American and British, with a sprinkling of other nationalities. Formal oversight is lax, to put it mildly. Many are retired from elite units such as the British Special Air Service or the U.S. Special Forces. According to a report in The Economist, a former British official who now heads a trade association for private military companies estimates that mercenaries are Britain's largest export to Iraq. Not food, medicine, or construction material—mercenaries."

So it's remarkably idiocy for the spokesman for the United States Central Command to reply to the armed joyrides of our mercenaries, saying "This is not a Centcom issue. It's whoever was running that contract. We're fighting a war here." Did someone spend too much time watching March Madness and miss that we have a new strategy in Iraq?? Time to withdraw the mercenaries from Iraq, and make a lot of soldiers happy on payday. Too bad Bush and his cronies would rather enrich their friends than actually support our troops.

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