Public Values

When private contractors go to war

Outsourcing war plays both ends: no accountability, out of control, yet under protection of US State Department.

by Bill Sizemore, The Virginian-Pilot

January 22, 2009 — Whatever else the Iraq War may be remembered for, it has already achieved one unique distinction: It is America's first outsourced war.

On a scale never before seen in the nation's history, the Iraq enterprise has been turned over to private contractors. There are more of them in the battle zone than there are US troops. Many of them — tens of thousands — carry guns and fulfill functions that are indistinguishable from jobs once done by soldiers.

And yet they operate under different rules. Steve Fainaru calls them "Big Boy Rules," which he defines as an unwritten code that the contractors make up as they go along. No rules at all, really — a lawless void in which a motley, anonymous private army does whatever it wants.

Fainaru, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post, has written a valuable addition to the small but growing body of books on the privatization of warfare. . .

To read further. . .

Links and sources
  Review: Examining the privatization of American warfare, by Bill Sizemore, The Virginian-Pilot, January 22 2009

Posted: February 04, 2009

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