Monday, April 30, 2007

Opinion (Jeremy Scahill): Corporate warriors

The Democratic leadership in the US Congress is once again gearing up for a great sellout on the Iraq war. While the wrangling over the US$124 billion Iraq supplemental spending bill is being headlined in the media as a "showdown" or "war" with the White House, it is hardly that. In plain terms, despite the impassioned sentiments of the anti-war electorate that brought the Democrats to power last November, the congressional leadership has made clear its intention to keep funding the Iraq occupation, even though Senator Harry Reid has declared that "this war is lost"...

While all of this is troubling, there is another disturbing fact that speaks volumes about the Democrats' lack of insight into the nature of this unpopular war - and most Americans will know next to nothing about it. Even if the president didn't intend to veto their legislation, the Democrats' plan does almost nothing to address the second-largest force in Iraq - and it's not the British military. It's the estimated 126,000 private military "contractors" who will stay put there as long as Congress continues funding the war.

The 145,000 active-duty US forces are nearly matched by occupation personnel who currently come from such companies as Blackwater USA and the former Halliburton subsidiary KBR, which enjoy close personal and political ties with the Bush administration. Until Congress reins in these massive corporate forces and the whopping federal funding that goes into their coffers, partially withdrawing US troops may only set the stage for the increased use of private military companies (and their rent-a-guns) which stand to profit from any kind of privatized future "surge" in Iraq.

Read the rest at Asia Times