As you know, Blackwater killed a bunch of Iraqi civilians a short time ago. They didn’t apologize – that’s a sign of weakness, as Captain Nathan Brittles tells his young officer corps in John Ford’s classic paean to American arrogance and “manifest destiny” She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, even though the Iraqi “government” tried to revoke their contractor license and expel them from the country. They just kept their own counsel, had Condi Rice apologize for them, and now they’re back doing what they do best – running amok in Iraq while being paid millions and millions and millions of American taxpayers’ dollars.
Oh, come now, you say. Lots of contractors are getting rich in Iraq, you say. Why pick on Blackwater?
Well, as they say on those financial shows, let’s do the numbers. Here’s how much of your money Blackwater has received so far:
Summary for Blackwater Security’s Contracts with the U.S. Government, 2000-2007
Total dollars: $1,059,633,363
Total number of contractors: 1
Total number of transactions: 724
That’s over one billion dollars, taxpayers. That’s 724 contracts, citizens. That’s to this 1 (one) sole, single, solitary
bunch of mercenaries security contractor, my fellow Americans.
Now I bet at this point you’re wondering about how they got all those hundreds and hundreds of contracts adding up to millions and millions and millions of dollars, aren’t you? Well, here’s a breakdown:
Extent of Competition
|Full and open competiton||$47,860,771|
|Full and open competiton, but only one bid||$31,863,181|
|Competition after exclusion of sources||$55,258,431|
|Not available for competition||$255,658|
Now, some $47 million plus dollars of that government contract money was won outright in competition with other firms as the graphic explains. That only leaves some $1 billion plus dollars in contracts that Blackwater received without any competition – or without any competition that we know of – from other firms.
A typical American soldier’s pay while on active duty in Iraq, including allowances for things like housing and uniforms is less than $38,000 per year. A typical Blackwater Security guard is paid about $120,000 per year.
When Blackwater gets into trouble, of course, the troops are sent in to bail them out, often putting our troops into “black hat” situations in the eyes of Iraqi civilians:
…in May, a Blackwater-protected convoy was ambushed in downtown Baghdad, triggering a furious battle, in which the security contractors, US and Iraqi troops, and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters opened fire in a crowded area. – Middle East Times
It’s about time that Blackwater was called to give an accounting. Even more important, it’s time those who hired them were called to do so.
What amazes me is that the government looks at $120,000 per year and thinks that hiring Blackwater mercenaries is actually cheaper than increasing the size of the military.
Political sleight of hand to keep the people from realizing what the real costs of leadership are. Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot – we don’t have any real leaders in the federal government, just politicians….
Well, the U.S. government can’t let them be kicked out since there are more private security operatives than armed forces over there.
It is a very similar situation to that of Halliburton, the administration has enriched its’ favourites at the cost of their military. 30% still approve of Bush and about 30% still approve of the war, I guess they are the sub contractors.
I started off reading these little snippets about Blackwater thinking…not very much at all.
I am much further along now. 😉
Very, very good.
It gets to a point where you wonder why anyone would still enlist with the military. Admittedly, those who enlist tend not to be the best informed folks in the world, but hey … $120k a year? I realize that Blackwater is essentially the military equivalent of a temp staffer and takes a large cut off the top for “administrative fees” (like buying jets and boats), but it’s still got to pay better than Uncle Sam, plus you get the better combat scenarios and the Darth Vader uniforms. Win!
If I honestly thought the country would ever stand down from wars for any large periods of time, I could almost buy into the “temp” staffing concept that Bush seems to have going on here. Of course, there’s still the whole SS/Pretorian Guard aspect that seems a little spooky, but I wasn’t using my freedoms anyway.
Not that it matters, since I don’t have millions of dollars to buy influence with a candidate, but I am just about zero percent likely to vote for anybody who doesn’t vow to rid us of our Hessian problem.