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Rollerball Anyone?

I'm just going to throw a couple questions out there. I really don't think I need to link to anyone else's stuff on the subject. If you haven't read about Kos and the bruhaha he caused over the weekend, you can read more about it at his site or over at InstaPundit or A Small Victory. I'm not getting involved in that argument, I think enough has been written on that already.

But I think we're missing the point...

When I first heard about the attrocities at Fallujah, the first thing that went through MY head was, "What the hell are contractors doing there without military escorts?" One of the contractors in my office heard me because, well, sometimes I think out loud. He replied that they were security contractors. Oh...

At the risk of being accused of speaking ill of the dead, that's not my intent, my next question was, "And the strategy that these security experts were using was borrowed from General Custer?"

I know, I know, bad Timmer. But that's what I thought. We know Fallujah is one of those places in Iraq where Americans are a bit unpopular. It's not a secret. What the HELL were they doing there in such small numbers and who's the a**hole who had them go in there? That's one point.

Then there's the whole contractor...thing. Kos brought this up in his post, but he blew it by dissing the dead and I think a lot of folks missed this point because he was such a wanker about expressing it.

Since when do we hire contractors to provide security in a freaking war zone?

Now I try to pay attention to Secretary Rumsfeld because, well, he's one of my bosses and when he speaks, my life can change in very dramatic ways, sometimes unpleasant. I know he's been trying to restructure the armed forces and contract out or civilianize a lot of the support functions. This isn't new. The privatization word was becoming popular in the mid to late 90s and much of the work I used to do with computers is now controlled by contractors. Since my career field was becoming less relevent with the advent of the personal computer, we were going to pick up some of the day to day computer tasks and we started getting training for that. There was a time when if a Colonel's computer broke, he'd call me, I'd go to his office with my software and toolkit and fix it. Now that kind of work has been contracted out. The Colonel calls the help desk, they write up a work order and add it to their stack, and they get to it when they get to it or right before the contracted time limit is up...whichever comes last.

And honestly, that kind of makes sense. I mean how many times do computers break in the field and why would you need a 24/7 uniformed computer guy with you in the desert to fix the things when you've got excellent contract support back at your home base?

But that's my little pet peeve, I've digressed.

At the risk of getting trashed by the folks I like to read, and being hailed by the folks I don't, I have to ask the question again:

Since when does the United States contract out security experts in the middle of a freaking war zone?

And just for fun, when exactly does privatizing military functions go too far?

What's next, Rollerball at the local colleseum?

Update: More on who these guys are and what they're doing there. Hat tip to Allah. This is probably similar to the first link in comments, but I'm not registered with the WaPo. So what we're saying is that former special forces folks are getting paid a LOT of money to protect the Coalition Provisional Authority and Paul Bremmer because??? There currently aren't enough low paid active duty special forces folks?

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed here are strictly my own, they in no way reflect the official policy of the United States Air Force, the DOD or any other acronym I may or may not belong to.

Comments (1)

Since when do we hire co... (Below threshold)

Since when do we hire contractors to provide security in a freaking war zone?

Well my knowledge of history before about 1066 is not what it should be but I do recall them being used about 350ish B.C. in Crete.

Since when does the United States contract out security experts in the middle of a freaking war zone?

OH so now you change the question on me. OK

Well, in the 16th century there were these guys called privateers... We were not the "United States" yet but if you let me cheat a little, that is your answer. If you want to wait until the revolution proper, we made EXTENSIVE use of them during the revolution. If you must wait until we were actually the "United States," I know we used them in the War of 1812.

Get my point?

This is hardly anything new.

FYI from today's WaPO

Private Guards Repel Attack on U.S. Headquarters

By Dana Priest

An attack by hundreds of Iraqi militia members on the U.S. government's headquarters in Najaf on Sunday was repulsed not by the U.S. military, but by eight commandos from a private security firm, according to sources familiar with the incident.

Before U.S. reinforcements could arrive, the firm, Blackwater Security Consulting, sent in its own helicopters amid an intense firefight to resupply its commandos with ammunition and to ferry out a wounded Marine, the sources said.

The role of Blackwater's commandos in Sunday's fighting in Najaf illuminates the gray zone between their formal role as bodyguards and the realities of operating in an active war zone. Thousands of armed private security contractors are operating in Iraq in a wide variety of missions and exchanging fire with Iraqis every day, according to informal after-action reports from several companies.

Maybe I'm a student of history, I just can't muster any outrage.






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