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(The New York Times)   For the first time since the wars started, more private military contractors than uniformed service members were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or if you're a glass-half-full sort, the military's plan to outsource casualties is working   ( atwar.blogs.nytimes.com) divider line
    More: Asinine, msp, Combat Arms, Congressional Research Service, The Members, military campaign, uniformed services, ProPublica, wire transfers  
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2748 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Sep 2010 at 11:48 AM (7 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2010-09-24 11:24:31 AM  
My dad works for one of those contractors in Afghanistan. :(
 
2010-09-24 11:49:35 AM  
reminds me of that scene with the contractors in Men who stare at goats
 
2010-09-24 11:49:52 AM  
Those sons-of-biatches...

[image from autographsplus.com too old to be available]
 
2010-09-24 11:50:51 AM  
When given a choice between US servicemen/women being killed and mercenaries, I think the preference is obvious.
 
2010-09-24 11:50:59 AM  
"outsource casualties"... nice.
 
2010-09-24 11:51:24 AM  
OH NOES - we might have to start paying them 10x a soldier's salary, rather than a paltry 5x

/this violin, it is tiny
 
2010-09-24 11:51:41 AM  
Wasn't Obama's brilliant plan to fool the rubes that he was drawing down troop levels was just to up the number of contractors in Iraq? This isn't surprising.
 
2010-09-24 11:52:38 AM  

mryoop789: My dad works for one of those contractors in Afghanistan. :(


Way to kill the thread right off the bat.
Now how can anyone complain that those mercenaries & etc., deserve it?
 
2010-09-24 11:54:21 AM  

mryoop789: My dad works for one of those contractors in Afghanistan. :(


I hope your dad is safe. I also hope he gets to be back home with you soon, along with all the people he works with.
 
2010-09-24 11:55:12 AM  
So, we pay taxes to support our patriotic boys in uniform, but the money actually goes to mercenaries who get three times the pay for doing the same job? While those grunts who get shot at are denied danger pay and mental health services because their wounds weren't damaging enough? Someone, remind me why this is a more efficient use of my money or my patriotism. Fiscal conservatives and Real Americans, I'm waiting to hear your views.
 
2010-09-24 11:56:16 AM  
Considering they get paid a whole of a heck lot more then the military serviceman, I'd say it's worth the risk. 100 grand or 15 grand to get shot at and blown up?

My problem with the use of PMO is this....

Think of The Battle of the Bulge or even Black Hawk down. If you needed man power, you could mobilize everyone, cooks, doctors, engineers, etc.

And they had to stay and fight, cause they were in the military. PMO, they don't have to stay and fight to the last man. They could cut and run, why should they die for you, they're only getting paid, no loyalty/honor involved.
 
2010-09-24 11:56:40 AM  
Good, the more merc scum dead, the better. Karma truly is a biatch. These men come into the warzone not for duty, honor, country; but for $ $ $. And they rape and pillage as they go.

The use of mercenaries in a warzone is abhorrent. The use in our own cities (New Orleans after Katrina) is even worse.
 
2010-09-24 11:57:01 AM  
Why is this asinine?
 
2010-09-24 11:57:47 AM  

Iknhaton: "outsource casualties"... nice.


there should be no "military contractors." you're either in the military, follow orders and the chain of command, and swore an oath, or you're not carrying a gun in a war zone under our flag. it's really that simple.

/mercenaries are not a good idea for the US military.
 
2010-09-24 11:58:16 AM  
The sooner we're out, the better.
 
2010-09-24 11:59:43 AM  

AlHarris31: Good, the more merc scum dead, the better. Karma truly is a biatch. These men come into the warzone not for duty, honor, country; but for $ $ $. And they rape and pillage as they go.

The use of mercenaries in a warzone is abhorrent. The use in our own cities (New Orleans after Katrina) is even worse.


I guess I was wrong.
 
2010-09-24 12:00:20 PM  

AlHarris31: Good, the more merc scum dead, the better. Karma truly is a biatch. These men come into the warzone not for duty, honor, country; but for $ $ $. And they rape and pillage as they go.

The use of mercenaries in a warzone is abhorrent. The use in our own cities (New Orleans after Katrina) is even worse.


Did you get raped by a mercinary? I sense butt hurt.
 
2010-09-24 12:00:33 PM  
I have no pity for mercenaries.
 
2010-09-24 12:00:50 PM  
Well, they make a crap ton more money than soldiers do...so, risk/reward, etc.
 
2010-09-24 12:02:04 PM  

AlHarris31: Good, the more merc scum dead, the better. Karma truly is a biatch. These men come into the warzone not for duty, honor, country; but for $ $ $. And they rape and pillage as they go.

The use of mercenaries in a warzone is abhorrent. The use in our own cities (New Orleans after Katrina) is even worse.


hmmm, i said it nicely, but your post seems more direct...

the real problem is the mercs don't act with the "big picture" in mind. if pissing off the natives keeps them and the dudes they are assigned to guard safe, then in their eyes, "so what if they natives are mad/dead? not my concern."
 
2010-09-24 12:03:15 PM  

theorellior: So, we pay taxes to support our patriotic boys in uniform, but the money actually goes to mercenaries who get three times the pay for doing the same job? While those grunts who get shot at are denied danger pay and mental health services because their wounds weren't damaging enough? Someone, remind me why this is a more efficient use of my money or my patriotism. Fiscal conservatives and Real Americans, I'm waiting to hear your views.


Because Obama is a commiemuslinnazijewatheistemptysuitamericadestroyer.

crazyeddie: Why is this asinine?


Again, because Obama is a commiemuslinnazijewatheistemptysuitamericadestroyer.
 
2010-09-24 12:05:07 PM  

AlHarris31: Good, the more merc scum dead, the better. Karma truly is a biatch. These men come into the warzone not for duty, honor, country; but for $ $ $.


Which is why our all volunteer army is almost entirely staffed by highly intelligent idealistic patriots and not by poor folks with few options.

/Im not saying there is no patriotism, but you can't ignore the financial incentive for normal soldiers.
 
2010-09-24 12:06:07 PM  
Well hey what do you know, being a mercenary can get you killed! If only someone could have foreseen these consequences!
 
2010-09-24 12:07:33 PM  
Most of the contractors employed by the DoD are not what we consider "mercenaries." There are a lot of engineers and electricians and the like that aren't there to kill people and break things.
 
2010-09-24 12:07:41 PM  
I'm curious how many contractors are doing combat/security vs. support roles. A lot of these contractors are not on the front lines and sitting relatively safe in bunkers protected by US military personnel.

Then there are probably contractors in dangerous areas doing civilian jobs, i.e. training, construction, repair. Are there these kinds of contractors there and what is their casualty rate? Are these people being properly trained and prepared?

As far as paying contractors to do a military mission...why? This is ridiculous, and I don't know anything about it but my impression is it would be less cost effective. I wonder if some of it has to do with the fact that a few years ago the US Army was having a very hard time recruiting and keeping their enlistment goals.
 
2010-09-24 12:08:27 PM  
The Free Market works it miracles once again.
 
2010-09-24 12:10:53 PM  

Great Justice: AlHarris31: Good, the more merc scum dead, the better. Karma truly is a biatch. These men come into the warzone not for duty, honor, country; but for $ $ $.

Which is why our all volunteer army is almost entirely staffed by highly intelligent idealistic patriots and not by poor folks with few options.

/Im not saying there is no patriotism, but you can't ignore the financial incentive for normal soldiers.


You disobey orders or cut and run like coward in the army, they kill you for that.

PMO, you get fired or a scolding..

So they make you "loyal" and "patriotic" one way or another.
 
2010-09-24 12:11:03 PM  

unalivezombie: I wonder if some of it has to do with the fact that a few years ago the US Army was having a very hard time recruiting and keeping their enlistment goals.


Perhaps recruiting/enlisting would be easier if we weren't in a useless and protracted hobby war, denying gays and lesbians the right to serve honorably, weren't losing people at the ends of their TOS (skilled people, mostly) to the private security forces, and generally showing our soldiers that PMOs are better than they are, they'd have an easier time.

// when the military is paying a private contractor to serve their meals (at 10x the cost, for 5x the pay), and the soldiers know it, something is wrong
// also, maybe it's 'cause the military is socialist
 
2010-09-24 12:12:00 PM  
I knew there was a catch to switching from active duty to contractor. At least I have no plans to go back to Afghanistan or Iraq regardless of how good the money is. Now I just have to be careful when driving though the shady parts of Columbus on the way to work.
 
2010-09-24 12:13:12 PM  
As a contractor working in Afghanistan, I am not getting a kick out of that article at all.

/not a mercenary, just an IT guy
 
2010-09-24 12:14:39 PM  

unalivezombie: As far as paying contractors to do a military mission...why? This is ridiculous, and I don't know anything about it but my impression is it would be less cost effective. I wonder if some of it has to do with the fact that a few years ago the US Army was having a very hard time recruiting and keeping their enlistment goals.


Using private military contractors solves several problems:

1) They aren't subject to the same rules (particularly human rights restrictions) as the military so they can do our dirty work for us and get away with it

2) Their deaths aren't as "important" as military deaths so it is easier to pretend that people aren't dying

3) I'm not so sure that it is more expensive to use private contractors. You don't have to put all the money into them training them and then taking care of them like you do the military.
 
2010-09-24 12:15:06 PM  

pylon23: Did you get raped by a mercinary? I sense butt hurt.


You only said rape once, don't you like it?

/rape
 
2010-09-24 12:16:45 PM  

retarded: As a contractor working in Afghanistan, I am not getting a kick out of that article at all.

/not a mercenary, just an IT guy...profiting off the blood of innocents


/FTFY
 
2010-09-24 12:17:34 PM  
Support contractors?

They would've been employed by the DoD once upon a time.
They would've been in uniform, with rank and serial number, the whole bit.
Working on AH-64 or maintaining the mess, it was all in house.

That began to change. It was easier to contract it out, cut the overhead, write a cheque and watch things happen.

Now, it's gotten to the point that even armed security contractors are part and parcel with US military operations. Trade in the uniform and the rules of war as they've been agreed upon for a 3-5x paycheck.

They have taken no oath, they have no duty or obligation.
They will not be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
They will not be remembered and honored on Veteran's Day.
They are no longer soliders, although they may well have been once before, and may be again.

They are a line in a ledger and nothing more.
 
2010-09-24 12:21:53 PM  
Note there is a difference between being a merc, and being a more civilian contractor.

If your a merc, most people couldn't care less if you get killed/tortured/etc.

If your there to help rebuild/supply services, well then God protect you and come home safe.
 
2010-09-24 12:22:47 PM  

madgonad: When given a choice between US servicemen/women being killed and mercenaries, I think the preference is obvious.


Churchy LaFemme: I have no pity for mercenaries.


ACallForPeace: Well hey what do you know, being a mercenary can get you killed! If only someone could have foreseen these consequences!


samardzic77: retarded: As a contractor working in Afghanistan, I am not getting a kick out of that article at all.

/not a mercenary, just an IT guy...profiting off the blood of innocents

/FTFY


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ALL OF THESE^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
 
2010-09-24 12:23:40 PM  
You guys hate on the PMCs but wait until you need wage war on your neighbor because their dog keeps pooping on your lawn. Where are you going get your army from?
 
2010-09-24 12:25:20 PM  

Dr Dreidel: unalivezombie: I wonder if some of it has to do with the fact that a few years ago the US Army was having a very hard time recruiting and keeping their enlistment goals.

Perhaps recruiting/enlisting would be easier if we weren't in a useless and protracted hobby war, denying gays and lesbians the right to serve honorably, weren't losing people at the ends of their TOS (skilled people, mostly) to the private security forces, and generally showing our soldiers that PMOs are better than they are, they'd have an easier time.



The military will have a hard time pulling enlistment numbers in an extended and bloody conflict. Goes without saying. Many of those contractors are also prior military, just changing hats as it were. Same job, and much better pay. They should just get rid of the civilians and pay the enlisted what they are really worth. (IMO)


// when the military is paying a private contractor to serve their meals (at 10x the cost, for 5x the pay), and the soldiers know it, something is wrong


This is all about middle men and companies pulling in extra $$$ from the war. That, and reducing military personnel in non military roles.


// also, maybe it's 'cause the military is socialist


I guess if it isn't free market it's "evil", that what you're saying?
 
2010-09-24 12:26:06 PM  

Goose4: Most of the contractors employed by the DoD are not what we consider "mercenaries." There are a lot of engineers and electricians and the like that aren't there to kill people and break things.


This argument is fatuous. Those engineers and electricians fix and maintain the things that are used to "kill people and break things." Without their support, would the effort be possible? No.

If you even supplied the box knives used on 9/11, you were a terrorist. You would have been aiding and abetting. Whatever responsibility the soldiers in our adventures have, for good or bad, is shared by the contractors as well.

The pathetic thing about mercenaries is that they give up whatever privilege to honor that soldiers have, but retain the responsibility for their actions, including susceptibilty to scorn and shame.

Try again.
 
2010-09-24 12:27:32 PM  

samardzic77: retarded: As a contractor working in Afghanistan, I am not getting a kick out of that article at all.

/not a mercenary, just an IT guy...profiting off the blood of innocents

/FTFY


Wow. I'm not sure what your politics are, but I go to work every day and quite literally support our troops as they perform their missions, which include routing the Taliban and trying to make Afghanistan a place where terrorists can no longer find safe harbor. I am in no way as brave as the troops that are fighting here, but I like to think I am contributing in the way that I can to what is an effort to keep America safe from terrorists and give the Afghan people a safer place to live where little girls can go to school without getting acid thrown in their faces. Yes, my paycheck here is bigger than it would be back home if I were doing the same job, but that's because it includes danger pay (it is dangerous here) and hardship pay (I am away from my friends and family and the freedom of the US in general, where you live).

Anyway, screw you.
 
2010-09-24 12:29:06 PM  
There's no reason to outsource anything. Our military is fully trained and equipped to be self-sufficient. Paying mercenaries is a waste of money and an insult to our troops.
 
2010-09-24 12:31:43 PM  

unalivezombie: I'm curious how many contractors are doing combat/security vs. support roles. A lot of these contractors are not on the front lines and sitting relatively safe in bunkers protected by US military personnel.

Then there are probably contractors in dangerous areas doing civilian jobs, i.e. training, construction, repair. Are there these kinds of contractors there and what is their casualty rate? Are these people being properly trained and prepared?

As far as paying contractors to do a military mission...why? This is ridiculous, and I don't know anything about it but my impression is it would be less cost effective. I wonder if some of it has to do with the fact that a few years ago the US Army was having a very hard time recruiting and keeping their enlistment goals.


Civilians doing military tasks is hardly a new thing - during the early years of the Napoleonic wars heavy artillery was sometimes transported by civilian teamsters.

It's not just enlistment goals - the drive to outsource "non-essential" tasks is huge. The problem is the list of "non-essential" tasks keep growing to include thinks like base security and not just thinks like food prep, engineers and mechanics, etc. A very bad trend, but it appeared good by the short sighted thinking that it made the armed forces more focused and leaner. Plus contractors are "disposable" in that when you don't need them, you cut the contract and forget about them: No messy VA benefits to provide.

I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown of contracts by agency: How many were DoD vs. State/CIA or agencies like USAID.
 
2010-09-24 12:33:00 PM  

mryoop789: My dad works for one of those contractors in Afghanistan. :(


Do NOT see the movie BURIED.
 
2010-09-24 12:33:28 PM  

bsharitt: I knew there was a catch to switching from active duty to contractor. At least I have no plans to go back to Afghanistan or Iraq regardless of how good the money is. Now I just have to be careful when driving though the shady parts of Columbus on the way to work.


Dude, I lived in Columbus up until a couple of years ago. There are no shady parts. If you want to see shady areas, check out Detroit.
 
2010-09-24 12:33:46 PM  

Goose4: Most of the contractors employed by the DoD are not what we consider "mercenaries." There are a lot of engineers and electricians and the like that aren't there to kill people and break things.


A lot of the "mercenaries" are there to protect those engineers and electricians as well.
 
2010-09-24 12:34:11 PM  
If the free market can supply casualties at less cost to taxpayers than the armed forces can, it's a no-brainer.

Hooray capitalism!
 
2010-09-24 12:34:59 PM  
What do you call a buncha dead mercs in the sandbox?
Anybody?
.....Anybody?
 
2010-09-24 12:36:06 PM  
You all hit on some stuff but you miss the real meat and potatoes of why contractor work is so bad for our military and country.

The military works best as a unit. One force attributed to one set of goals together.

When you start taking bits and pieces of the unit away and replacing them with contractors under different chains of command with different goals, standards and expectations you weaken the original unit.

Case in point, the number ONE issue with contractors: Logistics

When the military tends to all it's logistics itself, it's not just one unit with one goal, it's a self sustaining entity under one chain of command.
Contracting away our logistical duties not only throws the whole operation into disarray, it weakens the military (why does Dick Cheney hate our military?).

It sky rockets costs and in the end is nothing more than a hand out to private corporations. Defense contractors weren't getting rich enough making equipment, they wanted the whole goddamn war contracted to them.

This doesn't even delve into the problems with actual soldiers of fortune.
There is a very VERY valid argument in war/police actions in winning hearts and minds.
If you have people that appear to be US military not adhering to set standards... if you have actions taking place that aren't privy to review by centcom god knows what you (as a nation) are actually doing in your own ****in war zone. What you considered as increased security and more manpower may be unknowingly working against your efforts.

Honor, duty, doesn't have a whole lot to do with it.
Breaking up what was the idea of a self sustaining entity of units in a particular theater is much more of an issue.
Soldiers working for money isn't a problem either... most soldiers are in it for the money. It's the fact you have Separate and unaccountable chains of command that really throws a wrench in the works.

and ALL OF THIS doesn't touch on the issue that we basically throw ungodly amounts of money into TRAINING our soldiers only to have them stick around for a couple years then leave to perform their work for private contractors (where instead of getting a good return on our investment in the soldier, we are forced to continue throwing ungodly amounts of money at them for the remainder of their careers.)

And I do feel for many of the private contractors. As an exArmy guy I have a couple close friends that are contractors.

They are unsung soldiers, many MANY of them with every bit as much honor and duty about them as your uniformed US soldier (99% of them were US soldiers).
They simply went where the money was. There is no fault in that.

The fault is in the fact that we the people have allowed the system to permit this fleecing of the taxpayers and continued weakening of our military forces.
It's not just a huge handout to defense contractors... it is the systematic surrender of our military forces to private corporations.
You can thank Bush/Cheney, but there are many many many others, from both sides of the aisle.

Eisenhower warned us, but we didn't listen.
 
2010-09-24 12:37:13 PM  

Antimatter: Note there is a difference between being a merc, and being a more civilian contractor.



retarded: As a contractor working in Afghanistan, I am not getting a kick out of that article at all.

/not a mercenary, just an IT guy


Yeah isn't the majority of contractors just regular truck drivers and construction workers? I'm sure there are mercenaries working as security for corporations but it can't be that many.
 
2010-09-24 12:39:34 PM  
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
 
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