Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Save U.S. Tax Dollars. Kill a Merc.

This would have to be the message for the freedom fighters in Falluja. Remember those four guys who got set-up and killed there a couple weeks ago? They weren't soldiers, they were armed mercenaries from Blackwater Security Consulting. They aren't the only mercs to have been killed in Iraq. Far from it, though official numbers are hard to come by. One reason the U.S. military likes using them is that if they die, they aren't part of the body count. Robert Fisk says at least 80 mercenaries have been killed since fighting began.

Here's my question, though. I thought outsourcing to private companies was supposed to SAVE money. Yet these guys make up to one thousand dollars a day. That's a one with 3 zeroes and no decimal points. Now, I'm not an American GI, but I am pretty sure they don't make quite that much. Even with hazard pay and even after the government stopped charging them for meals while they were in the hospital having their limbs amputated.

So where is the uproar from the rightwing. Where is the FOXNEWS expose? Where are the ClearChannel rallies?

I have an idea. Let's pay regular U.S. soldiers the average, just the AVERAGE, pay of these private security workers. We'll see how long this war lasts then.

Meanwhile, to the "insurgents" (how dare you fight foreigners occupying your country!). You will earn favor with the American taxpayer, and (I suspect) the American soldier, by kindly turning your weapons on these hired thugs.

I am no expert, but I believe armed conflict law is on your side here. These guys are "illegal combatants" as they are not wearing the uniform or answering to the authority of any government. You can shoot at them or, better yet, capture them and hold them indefinitely on a tropical island somewhere as terrorists. I think Cuba may have room for another such facility.

The mercenaries are easy to spot. They do not wear regular uniforms, but they are partial to Oakley sunglasses. They will be even more likely to shoot at unarmed civilians than regular military because, as far as anyone can tell, there is absolutely NO SUPERVISING AUTHORITY over them. That's right, they answer to no one but their company bosses, who I am sure, at right this minute, are not taking human rights lessons from Amnesty International. I heard one of them questioned on NPR. He figured maybe if one of them did something wrong an Iraqi citizen could CALL THE FBI. Or, they could wait till after the "handover of power" and file a complaint with the local authorities. Meanwhile, Joe Merc will be back in the states stuffing 20's down Amber's G-String at his local Deja Vu.


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