Saturday, October 23, 2010

Via NYT & WikiLeaks: Outsourcing Wars Isn't Such a Good Idea

One way to make a chaotic situation even worse.

The first shots sailed past Iraqi police officers at a checkpoint. They took off in three squad cars, their lights flashing.

It was early in the Iraq war, Dec. 22, 2004, and it turned out that the shots came not from insurgents or criminals. They were fired by an American private security company named Custer Battles, according to an incident report in an archive of more than 300,000 classified military documents made public by WikiLeaks.

The company’s convoy sped south in Umm Qasr, a grubby port city near the Persian Gulf. It shot out the tire of a civilian car that came close. It fired five shots into a crowded minibus. The shooting stopped only after the Iraqi police, port security and a British military unit finally caught up with the convoy.

Somehow no one had been hurt, and the contractors found a quick way to prevent messy disciplinary action. They handed out cash to Iraqi civilians, and left.

The documents sketch, in vivid detail, a critical change in the way America wages war: the early days of the Iraq war, with all its Wild West chaos, ushered in the era of the private contractor, wearing no uniform but fighting and dying in battle, gathering and disseminating intelligence and killing presumed insurgents.

There are two things to note here.
  1. It shouldn't have taken Wikileaks to bring this story to life. We're supposed to have a US Congress who investigates these types of actions. As much as people want President Obama to investigate how much dirty dealing Bush & Co. may have done, I think that the question of whether or not our military's current MOP needs a drastic overhaul is more important. And again, Congress can do this without the Whitehouse.
  2. The guy behind Wikileaks will (once again) get slammed for this, even though it's not his fault our military was basically replaced with mercenaries who cared more about getting paid than creating a semblance of democracy. And even if you agree with how Bush handle this (and I certainly didn't) you have to admit that although using an Army-For-Hire may cuts costs or allow the government to skim the numbers of casualties, these guys need close and consistent supervision. That didn't happen, and as a result, a difficult task became 10x harder. All Wikileaks is doing is providing evidence to support this.
And before anyone says "There wasn't enough troops! Did you want them to be slaughtered?" Let me say that low numbers where pointed out before this campaign began (and those who brought it up were either ignored, attacked or fired), and even with the contractors we ended up having to do the Bush/McCain "Surge," which just about every Congressional Republican now claims was the catalyst to "winning" the Iraq war.

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Anonymous buch leser said...

The released documents show the daily life of the conflict, as U.S. soldiers have experienced it. In addition, it appears from the thousands threat analysis, attack reports and arrest records but also reconstruct exactly how has unfolded, the Islamic brother struggle between Shiites and Sunnis, how society brutalized, such as abductions, executions and torture of detainees routine was. Even activists from neighboring Syria, Iran and Jordan mingled the documents revealed in this war. It is shown again and again. A war benefits no one. Only the people suffer.

5:15 AM  

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