Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Contractor Nation -- Iraqi Style

Just one more sign. From Marketplace

U.S. troops quit Iraq, but large U.S. presence remains

”Mark Toner: An overall diplomatic presence in 2012 will be about 15,000 to 16,000.”

”And all but 2,000 of them will be contractors.”

”That miniature army will be operating on a shoestring. The State Department budget request for 2012 includes only around $5 billion for operations in Iraq -- a fraction of the $46 billion Harrison says we spent this year.

Dov Zakheim was an undersecretary of defense in the administration of George W. Bush. He wonders if that's enough for proper oversight.”

”One way State could do it? Hire more contractors to supervise all the other contractors.”

When we start talking about contracting out the Inspector General functions of the United States government?...We’re headed down the road to ruin. And make no mistake about it, all of it is to enrich the contractors -- not the workers. You may think you’re getting a deal -- a cushy job in retirement -- but you’re really just contributing to our demise as a people.

We (business owners) think we can get away with shifting training costs onto others (government/taxpayers). We think we can get away with paying others (citizens) less money and fewer benefits. We think we can get away with letting illegals pick our food for some wealthy land owner disguised as a “small” farmer.

We can’t. We are reaping what we have sowed right now. We cannot contract out our troubles. “Contractor” only changes the name of mercenaries and indentured servants. It does not change the function.

There is no justice without economic justice. And without justice, there is no peace. Beware.

Don Brown
December 20, 2011


elpelso said...

Hi Don,

I'm sure you've seen this article in the latest AVFlash :

Contract Tower Closure Eyed

AOPA is reporting that the FAA is being pressured to close contract control towers at more than 100 GA-only airports. Quoting unnamed sources, AOPA says the Office of Management and Budget has made the suggestion that funding be pulled from contract towers at airports that don't have commercial service or high volumes of military traffic. The funding cuts would affect roughly half of the 248 contract towers, which are independently owned and operated facilities under contract to the FAA.

According to AOPA, the proposal has not been approved by the FAA, which is now discussing it internally. The Contract Tower Association is predictably aghast at the suggestion. "The federal government's budget constraints should not impact such a critical aviation safety initiative like the FAA contract tower program," a representative of the group told AOPA. AOPA is writing the FAA to encourage the continuation of the existing contracts and will be keeping an eye on the developments.

elpelso said...

The post you wrote also begs the quite logical question : why up to 16000 people in Iraq ? Does every US diplomatic presence in any other country number that many ? And if not, why not ?

Don Brown said...


That was answered in the "Marketplace" piece. The U.S. embassy in Iraq will be 10 times larger than any other U.S. Embassy. In short, the U.S. military logistic, security and flight support for the State Department will be replaced with contractors.

Don Brown

elpelso said...

And why is it 10 times larger ? Do they have something valuable, like oil, or so ? All good uses of your taxpayer money, paying for mercenaries (aka contractors)...